Every one of us have words we use to describe ourselves floating around inside our heads. What we tell ourselves every day will either lift us up or tear us down. Why is it so much easier to tell ourselves the following?
“I am so stupid”
“I look awful today”
“I have been trying to lose weight, but it’s hopeless and I am a failure”
“I am such a loser”
“I am worthless”
“I am ugly and fat. No one will ever love me”
There are probably many reasons why it is easier to believe negative things about ourselves, but I can think of four. Some people grow up being told over and over again that they will never amount to anything, that they can’t do anything right, and that they are unloveable. They have been told these things so often that they have come to believe every negative word. Some people are what we call “perfectionists”. I am a perfectionist. For me this was not because of anything others expected of me. It was something I expected of myself. Other people started the habit of negative self-talk because of some event that happened in their life: a relationship that ended, the loss of a job, being passed over for a promotion, or any other negative life event. Once the habit of negative self-talk takes over our thoughts it is a hard habit to break. Probably one of the biggest contributing factors in negative self-talk is believing what society tells us. We are bombarded with images of what being beautiful looks like. We are told that what size we are, how much we weigh, what clothes we wear, and what we look like on the outside is what makes us beautiful. We read countless articles on what success is. Society equates success with wealth, material possessions, and “toys”. We hear these things so often that eventually we start to believe them.
So how do we get rid of the negative words in our heads. Here are some practical ideas that have worked for me.
1. Write a list of positive “I am” statements and post them in several places around your house and keep a list in your wallet or purse. Read it aloud to yourself several times a day. Some of my “I am” statements are: “I am loved”, “I am thoughtful”, I am becoming healthy”, “I am making a difference”, “I am kind”, “I am loyal”, “I am smart”…..One day, describing yourself with positive words will become your new habit.
2. I keep 2 jars and glass pebbles in my living room. I bought about 300 pebbles. When I speak or think negative words/thoughts about myself I take 2 pebbles and put them in one jar and when I speak or think positive words/thoughts about myself I put 3 pebbles in the other jar. My goal is to end up with more pebbles in the “positive” jar.
3. I asked a friend to keep me accountable and when I say something negative about myself she lets me know and reminds me to change those words into positive words.
What words are inside your head? Do they build you up or tear you down? Did you know that it takes 5 positive words to erase 1 negative word? What 5 positive words will you speak to yourself today?