What do you know about your self-talk? It has been said that if we don’t know that we talk to ourselves, we are crazy, but if we do know, it means we’re sane – not the other way around! So let’s see, who’s in charge of my self-talk, what’s it about and what is its tone?
What is your self-talk about? Self-talk tends to be based on what is happening around us. We find ourselves commenting about what is going on and about others. And then when we’re commenting on our self, we’re really revealing the attitudes we have of our self, such as, ‘You’re useless.’ or ‘You did your best.’ So, what is the main tone of your self-talk? Is it critical or understanding? Complaining or encouraging? Fault-finding or appreciative? Worry-filled or reassuring?
And, who is in charge of your self-talk? There must be a basis for the tone of our self-talk. We must have learnt it from somewhere. The tone is usually determined by our childhood conditioning and influences – from our family, peers, culture, education and experiences. Depending on these, we form our internal beliefs and attitudes. They then give a negative or positive spin to how we interpret whatever is happening.
It might be, for example, that we harbour an attitude of self-doubt. As a result, even when others compliment us we would think that they don’t really mean it, or that they have a hidden agenda. If we hold onto an attitude of fear, we might find it difficult to believe that anybody loves us, or we’ll generally perceive rejection, real or imagined, deeply. An attitude of guilt may create beliefs that we can’t do anything right or have any success in life. All of these negative attitudes make us vulnerable, even though originally we probably thought they would keep us safe.
Positive attitudes make all the difference. If we have an attitude of love we will value ourselves deeply. Even if others are critical of us, our belief in our value won’t be shaken. If we have an attitude of acceptance we are able to remain calm in challenging situations, learn and move forward.
How can we transform our self-talk? Probably, we have a mixture of attitudes, and some may be stronger than others. To deeply transform our self-talk we need to go even deeper, and consider who we are talking to and who is listening. Who would we be if we stripped away all our attitudes and identities? The self that existed before we were subject to any influences? Our original self still exists. It is at the core of our being. It is a core of innate goodness or qualities.
This awareness of our original self brings newness in our thinking, and allows us to create a very different attitude about our self. Meditation can nurture our awareness of our original qualities and enable them to grow. Over time our feelings of vulnerability decrease. We find that even though there may be negativity around us, our positive self is strong enough to positively influence the situation. In short, we’re making a difference to our self-talk as it is based on our original qualities rather than any acquired belief, attitude or identity.
Are you ready to make your self-talk work for you?