Self talk and self kindness

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 Permalink

I’ve written before about my habit of negative self talk and self-deprecation. I’ve even named my inner critic in an attempt to silence her. (Bloody Myra!)

I’ve tried to stop. Again and again. But’s it’s hard.

At least nowadays I usually recognise when I’m doing it. However, as you’ll probably know… preventing the thoughts in the first place is far more difficult.

I know it’s related to one’s confidence and self esteem. I’m conscious that I speak to myself in a way that I’d never speak to someone else. For that would be rude. I also know that constantly berating oneself can erode one’s defences, however hardy.

However…  <insert sigh here>

Source: examinedexistence.com

Source: examinedexistence.com

I often listen to Jennifer Polle hypnosis and meditation recordings at night. (And during the day when I need it.) I have one particular favourite but I’ve mixed it up recently and been listening to another. Often. I like the relaxation technique at the beginning of it (imagining ourselves tiny and floating down to the ground atop a feather). The recording is called Keeping Faith With Yourself. The word ‘confidence’ she advises, can be defined as ‘keeping faith with yourself’.

In this particular recording, after we and our feathers have landed on solid ground Jennifer talks about the notion of ‘doing unto others as we would do unto ourselves’. However… she notes – many of us treat ourselves in ways we would NEVER treat another person. Ah yes… I suspect everyone at home is nodding along.

At my kindest I (often) mentally say, “God Deborah, you’re so fucking stupid!” At my worst, I tell myself I should be ashamed of what I’ve become and what I’ve (not) done with my life.

Again I’d never (like NEVER EVER!) say these things to another person. That’s a no-brainer.

Source: figuregirl.world.com

Source: figuregirl.world.com

But Jennifer asks us to think of a younger person or child we know and care about. My niece is older now, so I tend to think of my friend’s son, Pickle (who featured in a recent post and who I ADORE). Not only is he gorgeous and ridiculously loveable, but he’s got this incredibly expressive face. He’s practically an open book.

Jennifer asks us to imagine saying the things we say to ourselves to this younger and more vulnerable person.

When I imagine myself telling Pickle he’s stupid (the nicest of my self-insults) I can picture his face dropping. I can see his beautiful big eyes widening and filling with tears. In fact it makes me cry to think someone could or would hurt him in that way. And it kills me to think how that would affect him – particularly if he heard it again and again.

Jennifer asks us to transfer the protective kindness we have for that person to ourselves. To: imagine caring for ourselves that much; imagine wanting to protect our own feelings that much.

Although the issue of negative self talk is not new to me, I’ve practically become obsessed with this notion. More than just being conscious of insulting someone; but really considering how our words could impact on another, and how they could impact on someone fragile. Someone vulnerable. And someone we care about.

Can you picture how your words would hurt someone else? Someone fragile or vulnerable? 

This isn’t a sponsored / paid post (and I’ve bought 3 of the 4 Jennifer Polle CDs I own – winning the 4th!) but if you’re interested in her stuff, check out her site.

I’m linking up with Jess for IBOT today.

28 Comments
  • Lee-Anne
    June 10, 2014

    Interesting post – intelligent and thought-provoking. Be nice to ‘mini-me Deb’! 🙂

  • Char
    June 10, 2014

    I go one step further and tell myself how stupid I am out loud. But only when I’ve done stupid things. I wonder how much of this negative self-talk has become the vocabulary of my children’s internal dialogue. Hopefully not too much.

    • Debbish
      June 10, 2014

      I talk to myself out loud as well (you’re probably like me – spend a lot of time alone so talk so verbalise stuff a bit). I’ve tried to stop myself saying negative things about myself to others though even that’s hard!

  • Sarah from Creating Contentment
    June 10, 2014

    I like this idea of imagining yourself younger. I shall add it to my meditations and look up the girl you recommend too. My favourite is Diane Winston. I listen to her gentle voice each night.

    • Debbish
      June 10, 2014

      I’ll check out Diane as well, thanks Sarah!

  • Liz
    June 10, 2014

    I’m learning to be kinder to myself I hear my old inner gollum and tell it to take a hike. Takes discipline to ignore those thoughts!

    • Debbish
      June 10, 2014

      Oh indeed… and stopping them completely?! I wonder if that’s ever possible?!

  • Michelle@myslowlivingadventure
    June 10, 2014

    I think the technique to think about how your comments would affect someone more vulnerable are useful, but it’s sad to think that you have become comfortable with being so hard on yourself. I know so many people do it, and even reading other IBOT posts there seems to be a theme of people being really hard on themselves. Guilt tripping, undermining their own self confidence etc etc. Self love…love inner Deb, or Myra !!

    • Debbish
      June 10, 2014

      Sadly I think the negative self-talk thing is way too common. Like I said I think I’m better at picking myself up on it now but I shocked (even) myself recently – with something that popped into my mind which was a really horrible. (Which is probably what got me pondering on this more than usual!)

  • Bec @ The Plumbette
    June 10, 2014

    I read a good book about The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer and I remember nodding my head throughout the book. We can control the voices in our head but it takes practice. Imagine how better you feel and how much more you can accomplish if you have a positive voice speaking in your head. It’s easy said than done though. I think we can be our own worst critics too. I think you have so much to be proud about Deb.. your overseas travels and your sea change are inspiring.

    • Debbish
      June 10, 2014

      Oh Bec, how lovely, thank you. In the recording I listen to Jennifer suggests we ‘flip’ whatever we say around to make it a positive.

      I’m doing some life coaching with Michaela from Five Frogs Coaching as well and we’ve been talking about separating ‘fact’ from (ummmm) in-my-head fiction! 🙂

  • Aroha @ Colours of Sunset
    June 10, 2014

    Really good advice. I am going to try and be conscious of that this week and see how I go. I often berate myself for things I’d never get cross at someone else for. Why are we our own worst critics, I wonder? -Aroha (for #teamIBOT)

    • Debbish
      June 10, 2014

      Not sure Aroha, but I’m fairly sure almost all of us are!

      Deb

  • Kathy
    June 10, 2014

    Thanks for a very honest post. I have got some good observation going on my negative self-talk, but as you say, stopping it altogether is so much harder. I will go and check Jennifer’s meditations out. I’ve been experimenting for a while with making kid’s meditation videos but I tend to be less routine with my own meditation in terms of who I listen to and how long I practice.

    • Debbish
      June 10, 2014

      Oh, the idea of meditation videos for kids sounds fabulous!

  • Satu
    June 10, 2014

    The worst thing is I think there are families where people do this to their children all the time. I’m happy I didn’t grow up in that kind of family.

    The problem with negative self talk is when I believe what my voices tell me. I recently had a 6 week period during which all my negative voices seemed to be activated at the same time and I bought it all. I’m glad I finally got out of it!

    • Debbish
      June 10, 2014

      I’m glad you got out of it too Satu!

      Like you the idea of some kids living with terrible emotional abuse distresses me (and I used to work in child protection!).

  • Helena
    June 10, 2014

    Deb, you have done and experienced so much more than so many of us, myself included. You inspire me with your travels, writing and courage. I look in the mirror in the morning and think to myself, you are nice, you look good today, you have lovely brown eyes, you will do a good job today… Things like that…. And as RuPaul says ‘if u can’t love yourself then how the h@ll u expect anyone else to!’ 🙂

    • Debbish
      June 10, 2014

      Hmmm…. Perhaps that’s why I’ve remained single?! 😉

      Love your approach Helena!

  • Jess
    June 11, 2014

    Such a great post! We are so hard on ourselves and ironically it doesn’t make life easier or things better!

    • Debbish
      June 11, 2014

      Very true Jess. It erodes our confidence and we experience self-doubt and perhaps even depression!

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    June 11, 2014

    It’s so easy to put ourselves down because no one else can tell us off for doing it!!! I must try a little harder to say nice things to me x

    • Debbish
      June 11, 2014

      True… I hadn’t thought about the fact that ‘we’ don’t have a protector (though of course we should!). #ourselves

  • Lisa@RandomActsOfZen
    June 11, 2014

    I really take notice of this now, because I try to impress on Bell how important it is to love yourself. This means I’m trying to do as I say.
    Deb, I think you’ve achieved much, and should be proud of yourself. Amongst other things, I’m pretty sure you’re a lovely friend, and that makes a difference in peoples’ lives, for sure.

    • Debbish
      June 11, 2014

      Oh thank you so much for your lovely words. x

  • Sheridan @Me and My Ready Made Family
    June 11, 2014

    Wow! This is such a great idea. I think I need to use this technique whilst suffering my incessant inner monologue.

    • Debbish
      June 11, 2014

      Yes, for some reason – imagining this younger person – made it all the more real. (I’ve long realised I wouldn’t speak to another the way I do myself – but for some reason it’s made no difference. Perhaps it’s the notion of vulnerability or the stronger visual of how much I’d be hurting them?!)

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