If the voices in your head are saying anything but positive messages to you, then this is the show for you.
Negative inner dialogue can prevent you from almost everything you want to do in life. So many opportunities will be missed, all because you listened to a voice that is likely misleading you to believing you are something less than you are.
It’s time to switch around those inner voices so that they support you, and maybe even make you laugh.
Today I want to go over what you say to and about yourself inside of your head. It’s that inner dialogue that puts you down and makes you feel less than who you really are. Negative self-talk is like having a 24-hour complainer inside your mind, nagging you, telling you you’re wrong or dumb and will never succeed.
It’s that inner voice that doesn’t support you, and only has one thing in mind for you: To remind you that you are going to fail. It doesn’t even matter if you succeed over and over again, that voice comes in and changes your mind.
This self-talk is one of the main obstructions that holds people back in life. It’s one of the major causes for feeling inadequate, insignificant, and inconsequential. Having a voice inside your head that says things like, “I’ll never be able to do this” or, “I’m so stupid!” or any of a number of the awful things we say to ourselves, is damaging. Not only will it stop us from honoring what we want to do in life, it will also take away our power if we actually believe what it says!
And that’s just it, isn’t it? We tend to believe the negative comments and put-downs that we make up in our head. We make them up! Yet, we still believe them. Sure, we could dive into our past and count all the times that we did something stupid or failed miserably at, but how often are the successes in our life overshadowed by the failures?
By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll learn where those voices come from and what you can do to ease up on yourself a bit. After all, even though your self-talk comes from you doesn’t mean it always did.
You aren’t born putting yourself down, but other people like to tell you how limited you are before you even get a chance to push your limits and see how far you can actually go. I mean, human beings are busting through previously considered impossible barriers all the time. Let alone, even the small beliefs that we develop drive our behavior and cause us to think inside a box.
Before I started The Overwhelmed Brain, I had no clue how to make it in the world without working for someone else. Now I’m an author and host this radio show. I don’t work directly for anyone, but I never believed it was possible to survive unless I found a company and worked directly for that company.
Even when I was working 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, I had people approach me talking about starting their own businesses. My main thoughts at the time were, “I could never do that. I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”
I completely shut the door and stayed in my small box of beliefs so that I wouldn’t travel out of my comfort zone. I had this self-talk for all my life. Things like, “Other people can do that, not me.”
It was very convincing, because I believed it up until I felt cornered to changed my life. I knew I was starting to get jaded working with computers, and I felt a calling to do something else, but the limiting thoughts I had definitely held me back.
It wasn’t until I heard that my job wouldn’t be lasting long that I finally had the last straw. At that point, I made the decision to go out on my own and make something happen for myself.
Sometimes we’re backed into a corner, and that’s when the most important decisions in life are made. I made mine, and started this show. This accomplishment caused me to changed my inner dialogue so that I no longer talked myself out of things, but talked myself into taking more chances and walking into my fears.
Your negative self-talk is what limits you from getting what you want out of life because you actually believe what you are saying.
I think it’s time to reconsider that the voices in your head may simply be fabrications that aren’t true or false, they’re just voices. Whatever meaning you give to your inner self-talk is how they come across.
We’ll talk about our inner dialogue today, and how we can go from feeling limited to feeling empowered and taking positive steps toward the future you want.
Bill Knaus, clinical psychologist and author of 20 books wrote an article in Psychology Today called “Divide and Conquer Stress, Anxiety and Procrastination”. He writes about how to break the cycle of worry – anxiety – relief – worry – anxiety – relief and repeat over and over again.
When you start to worry about something that may or may not happen, then get anxious because you start to believe it will happen, then when it doesn’t happen, you feel relief wash over you.
What that does is reward you for feeling anxious! Because when you feel anxious and become relieved almost every time you’re anxious, the mind starts to believe the fastest way to relief is to get anxious.
It’s a vicious cycle. Our brain loves to remember how to do things. It loves patterns. So once it detects a pattern with a reward, it will repeat that pattern every time to get the reward, unless you do something different to break the pattern.
One step towards breaking the pattern is to do what Bill Knaus teaches us in the article, and that’s to counter what he calls the “relief from worry effect”. If the brain is used to being relieved from worry, it will repeat the process of worrying knowing there’s a reward afterward.
He calls this pattern breaking process a “relief from coping effect”. It’s a four-step change process that is designed to get you out of this cycle of worry – anxiety – relief – worry – anxiety – relief.
Here are the steps. First, name the “Worrisome Situation”. Come up with a very short answer to the question: “What’s the problem?”
You just want a few words that describe the problem. Whether that’s “no money” or “too many people in the room” or “I’m about to make a phone call” or even “I have a headache”. Come up with the facts, not the emotions.
You could say, “The situation is that I’m late for work.” It’s a factual statement, and it’s happening right now. This is when this process works best, when it’s happening right now.
So, if you have something you’re going through now and want to play along, describe in as few words as possible what the situation is.
The next step is to find out what your “Worry Belief” is by asking yourself: “What do I believe to be true about this situation?”
In the case of “I’m late for work”, you could say, “I will get fired.” Or in the case of feeling anxiety about answering the phone, you could say, “I am anxious about that person calling me.”
And though Bill doesn’t mention this in the article, I’d recommend using the word “because” after your Worry Belief answer. Like, “I will get fired because I am late.” Or, “I am anxious about that person calling me because he will yell at me.”
Remember, keep these short so that we can work with them easier. Using a “because” helps you dig down even further why you are feeling the way you are. Plus, knowing this extra information will be helpful in a moment.
Next is the “Coping Question”. This is when you come up with a counter question to your Worry Belief. If your Worry Belief is “I will get fired because I am late for work.”, then your counter question could be, “Have I been late before and not gotten fired?” or “Does the boss regularly fire people who are late?”
If the latter is true, then that’s not really a counter question. But if it isn’t, then asking yourself that question will be empowering. You want to come up with a question that counters your belief, does that make sense?
Here’s another example. If your Worry Belief is “I am anxious about that person calling me because he will yell at me.” then your Coping or counter Question could be “If he yells at me, will that really be a problem?”, or “Does he yell at me every time?”, or even, “Is it really a problem that he yells at me?”
Now, it could really be a problem in the sense that this person yells, then follows it up with abuse of some sort. I mean, there is a point where you need to honor your personal boundaries and get out of a situation. You just need to gauge when it’s needless worry and anxiety, or actual cause to be concerned for your health and well-being.
But if you find that you are in the worry – anxiety – relief cycle, these questions are designed to break that cycle. It’s going to take practice for sure. But, we have one more statement to make, and that’s the Coping Answer. After you ask yourself the Coping or Counter Question, answer it!
So the last question I asked in the example was, “Is it really a problem that he yells at me?” Now come up with an empowering answer like, “No, he usually yells then calms down, and everything is okay afterwards.”
Or, in the case of “Have I been late before and not gotten fired?”, you could have a Coping Answer of “Yes, I’ve been late before and not gotten fired.”
If you couldn’t follow along too well with those questions and answers, I’ll repeat them again in the summary near the end of the show, I promise.
Now what the mind tends to do is wander into more scenarios, like “Yeah, but this time could be different. The boss never fires people, but this time it could happen.”
And if you do get sidetracked like that, and you start hearing yourself talk about things that worry you, I want you to practice something that I learned from Dr. James Gills and that is this: Talk to yourself instead of listen to yourself.
That’s it. Talk to yourself. Tell yourself good, positive things that will empower and benefit you. Don’t listen to your negative self-talk.
Now, if this reminds you of positive thinking and affirmations, I can understand why. But there’s a perceptual shift I want you to make between this type of thinking and positive thinking, and that’s this:
When you choose to listen the negativity inside your head, the kind that puts you down or thinks you’re not good enough or smart enough, you are giving in to other people’s poor judgments themselves.
It’s really important for you to embrace this truth. This is deep and probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense yet, but I’m going to break it down right now. Whenever you think badly about yourself, it’s almost always someone else’s comment toward you from the past.
You were born carefree, loving, and wanting to be loved. You didn’t develop judgments about others or hatred towards anyone or anything until you either witnessed someone else judge or hate, or became a victim to a person that traumatized you. Either way you weren’t born with negative thoughts about yourself until someone planted those inside your head.
When someone else calls you stupid, ugly, fat, or anything that makes you feel bad, they most certainly feel negativity toward themselves. They have also lost touch with the unconditional love they once had when they were children because of the toxicity fed to them from those around them.
When I was growing up, one of my caretakers would point out the “ugly” people on TV and laugh. This planted really judgmental seeds in me causing me to judge others based on their appearance. It took a long time to work through that because I didn’t even know I was doing it until it was pointed out to me.
Whenever you have negative self-talk, it almost always originated outside of you. In other words: from another person. And that person has to have negativity inside of them in order to try to make you feel bad.
People project their own insecurities onto you.
That is why I know this statement to be true: When you believe the negative commentary inside your head, you are giving in to other people’s poor judgments about themselves.
So the next time you hear yourself saying, “God, I’m so stupid!” or “I’ll never be able to do that”, then don’t listen to yourself because it’s not really you that’s talking. Does that make sense?
So along the lines of what Dr. James Gills says, talk to yourself instead. A good example of that is following up what you hear, like, “God, I’m so stupid!” with something like, “Don’t listen to that, listen to me. You are smart. I’ve seen you do very intelligent things in the past. I know you are very smart. You may not know how to do this now, but you’ll learn. I think you’re doing great!”
This is the perceptual shift I want you to make. I want you to perceive yourself as a supporter that helps you through things. And when you hear the negative voice come up, I want you to picture that as someone else outside of you saying those things.
An example of that is when I hear myself say, “Jeez, I’m so forgetful!”, which does happen, I’ll picture someone else saying it and hear them say it in their voice. But I do something a bit clever too, and you may have read about this in my newsletter if you subscribe, when I hear negative self-talk, I picture a donkey with big teeth standing in front of me speaking the words.
So I’ll hear myself say, “Jeez, I’m so forgetful!” then I’ll immediately picture a donkey in front me me, maybe chewing hay or scratching his butt up against a post or something, and saying in the goofiest voice “Uh huh, you’re so forgetful!”
When I make a picture of a donkey, it makes me laugh. If it’s not a donkey for you, make something appear that makes you laugh because what this does is lessen the impact of the statement. After all, why would you believe what a donkey tells you?
Not only does it lessen the impact, but it breaks the pattern of hearing you say something bad about yourself, then actually feeling bad about yourself. When you do this enough, then you’ll start to laugh when you hear yourself say something bad.
Now, not only do you picture the donkey or whatever makes you laugh, but you also counter it with something like, “I can forget sometimes, yes, but that doesn’t make me bad. It just means that I can’t remember everything all the time. And that is okay, because no one can remember everything all the time. Besides, you’re just a donkey so why would I believe you?” Or something like that.
You see where I’m going with this? We have a tendency to create bad sounds and images in our head, then believe them! That’s unhealthy, because the bad stuff we hear ourselves say about ourselves is not true.
You are not bad. You are not stupid. You have many talents and skills, even when you think you don’t. The problem a lot of us run into is that we compare ourselves to others. We compare what we know, who we are, how much we make, what we own, what we look like, and a whole slew of comparisons to other people.
And when we compare, we either feel less of who we are, or more. So let’s go over comparing ourselves to others and see if we can get out of that crazy, self-deprecating loop.
We talked about what to do with the negative self-talk, now I want to talk about one of the roots of negative self-talk, and that’s self-comparison. Comparing yourself to someone else is a futile practice in self-sabotage. It is one of the fastest ways to turn off appreciation and gratitude for what you have in your life, and turn on envy, jealousy, and low self-worth and esteem.
When you compare yourself to someone else, it automatically sets you up for failure almost every time. Unless you are comparing to better yourself and not put yourself down. And that’s the key to comparisons. Make comparisons for the purpose of creating a better you, not to discover what’s better than you.
Quite frankly, no one is better than you. You are best you there is, so there is no way to compare. This is something I learned at the start of The Overwhelmed Brain. I learned quickly that even if I gave the same advice that other people did, there was still no way to compare me to anyone else and people would still gravitate towards this show because of my uniqueness.
Since I prefer not to repackage information, I come at subjects from a different angle as much as possible so you won’t find too much on this show that others have said. It’s not to say it won’t happen, but not only do I like that I’m unique and therefore impossible to compare to anyone else, I also like to forge my own path in the world by not always following what others do.
Unique is what you are too, there is no comparison and can never be. The problem a lot of us run into is that we believe generalizations.
Generalizations are what we believe to be true because they are proven true over and over again. A simple example of a generalization is the perception that all doors open with a knob or handle of some sort. Whenever you see a door, you typically expect to see a handle with which to open that door. Of course, let’s pretend that automatic sliding doors don’t exist for a moment.
Or, let’s go one further and imagine you are approaching a car you’ve never ridden in. Your friend gets in the driver’s side, and you start to open the door on the passenger’s side, reaching for the handle, but notice there is none. In fact, it’s completely smooth. You look around the window because some vehicles have handles that are higher, and you still find none.
You stand there baffled because there is no handle to open the door. Generally there is a handle, but this time there is none that you can see. So you knock on the window, and your friend presses a button on his or her remote which then opens the door a couple inches, enough for you to pull it open and get in the car.
Generalizations exists all around us. We generalize that every bathroom has a toilet and that every elevator will have buttons to press. They are what continue to prove to be true or exist over and over again.
Another generalization is that being wealthy makes you happy. Another is that being beautiful makes you popular, or more likely to succeed. A majority of people will believe these generalizations to be true and therefore will compare themselves to others in hopes that they meet the generalizations of the world.
The problem is that generalizations are not true, they are just generalizations. If I said that all chocolate is delicious, you’ll eventually find a chocolate you don’t like.
So the first thing to remember if you’re really good at comparing yourself to others is to that you are comparing yourself to a concept, not truth. In other words, the concept of wealth might be thinking that you need a lot of money to be fulfilled. But comparing your bank account with that of a wealthy person and feeling bad because you have less money than them is like comparing Earth to Jupiter and saying that Earth is 1000 times less important than the massive planet of Jupiter.
They simply cannot be compared because they are unique. A person with no money cannot be compared to someone with money. However, a person with no money can be compared to another person with no money and become inspired to earn money in some way.
Though, if you have no money and you compare yourself to someone with lots of money and that inspires you, then you are playing the comparison game the right way.
Here’s a real-world example. When I started podcasting, there was a podcaster that was making a lot of money with his show. Month after month, he made thousands of dollars, and I was only spending money, not making it.
I was starting to feel like a loser. I created what I felt was a better show, yet I wasn’t making any money at all. I compared what my show made to what his made and felt bad. It was like comparing Earth to Jupiter. There’s no way my show would ever compare with his because he is a unique person that brings a unique flavor to the world. So comparing myself to him was pointless, let alone the fact that it was depressing me not seeing any income from my show.
So a day came where I stopped comparing myself to him because I realized the bigger picture. I realized I created this show to help as many people as I could improve their lives in some way. And if I really wanted to compare how I was doing to others, I needed to find other shows that were similar to mine, maybe not making any money and at least in the same category of personal growth.
When I did that, I suddenly had a whole new perspective. Not only was this show ranking higher than all of the other personal growth shows out there, but there were other aspects I found superior in many ways, including the content and the quality. That’s not to pat myself on the back, but it did make me feel better when I started comparing apples to apples.
I found out that some shows did things differently than I did and were making progress, and others did things that weren’t as beneficial, causing them to slip in the ranks and be lost in the sea of thousands that never get heard.
I suddenly realized that if the hosts of those shows were to compare their shows to mine, they might feel like they needed to improve. Or worse, they might feel bad that my show was better than theirs.
But what they need to do is find out how they compare to other shows that are in line with them, not miles above or below them. I found shows that I could compare to and discovered many I could learn from, even the ones that weren’t as popular.
This is one thing I practice if I ever find myself comparing myself to other people. I imagine other people that may not be as well off as I am comparing themselves to me! This is where my perspective shifts, and I suddenly feel like, “Hey, I’m no better than you.” I put myself as the one others might look up to and say, “Wow, he’s got it all and I have nothing.”
It’s an exaggeration of course, but that’s what we do to ourselves: We exaggerate as if we’re trying to feel even worse. Have you ever looked at someone and said something that sounded exaggerated? Looking at a rich person, you might say, “Wow, they can buy anything they want!” But the bigger picture might be that they owe money on everything they buy. It’s possible they can get more stuff, but it doesn’t mean they own it.
But even if they did, it’s still a comparison that’s impossible to use in your situation, unless you’re wealthy. And I’m not only talking about money here, I’m referring to any situation where you feel the need to compare and feel bad after you do.
Remember, you can compare yourself to others and feel inspired, or compare yourself to others and feel bad for what you have and where you are in life. If you feel bad after comparing yourself to someone, take your comparisons down a notch. Compare yourself with someone along the same level as you, and notice how that makes you feel.
Comparing with someone who is in a situation that resembles yours gives you an opportunity to feel like, “Hey, I can do that!” or even, “I can do even better than that.”
When you compare to someone who’s closer to where you are, you lessen the gap for the leap. You know what that means? It means when you decide to take the leap and improve yourself or your situation somehow, the shorter the gap, the shorter the leap.
If you drive a Ford Focus but compare yourself to someone driving a Rolls Royce, the gap might just be too wide to cross and you will feel bad. You’ll get these thoughts like, “Oh, I’ll never be able to afford a Rolls Royce. Why bother!”
When you run a mile a day, you can’t compare yourself to the person who runs 10 miles a day. You might be able to compare to the 2 mile a day person, and that could inspire you to up your game. But leaping to 10 miles might just be too much and cause an immediate feeling of failure in you.
Is this making sense? The farther the gap in your comparisons, the more likely you will feel bad. So if you’re into comparing yourself to others, remember to compare only to those that inspire you to improve because if you’re wasting time comparing yourself to those far from your perception of what’s possible, you’ll only feel like a failure every time.
Comparing yourself to others isn’t bad, when it inspires you. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have large aspirations that propel you forward to achieve your goals quickly. After all, the bigger the vision and the more it inspires and motivates you, the bigger your results will be.
But if you find yourself in the comparison game, it’s time to shorten the gap to shorten the leap to success. If you want to make a million dollars, prove to me that you can make one dollar. If you can, prove to me that you can make ten, then a hundred, then a thousand, and so on. Those small leaps to attainable goals will keep you motivated and inspired. But as soon as the gap is so wide you lose traction and feel defeated, you might give up!
You just need to be aware that the mini goals are so much more important than just going for the gold on the first leap. Sure, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward sometimes. But you need to be the kind of person that can rise up from defeat fast and get back on track. If you are, then you probably have no problem comparing yourself to others. In fact, it’s probably always motivational to imagine what is possible!
So when playing the comparison game, make sure to play it in a way that you always win. Feeling inspired to improve is so much more productive than feeling like a failure.
Let’s move to what I consider the real solution to reducing or eliminating negative self-talk, and that is to boost your self-worth and self-esteem. After all, why would you have any negative inner dialogue if you felt worthy and thought highly of yourself?
That doesn’t mean you become holier than thou, but it does mean that negative self-talk will be almost non-existence with the presence of high self-worth and esteem. Or at least boosted self-worth and self-esteem.
I talk in depth about boosting self-worth and self-esteem in the episode titled: “Building Self-Esteem and Self-Worth, While Avoiding the Ego Trap” so I don’t want to get into too much detail about it here. But I do want to close this segment with a little boost in your self-worth.
Self-worth is what happens when you believe what other people say about you. It started in childhood and compounded over the years as you grew older.
It is the result of all those years of believing what other people said about you. So if you think about it, if you didn’t feel worthy growing up, you likely feel low worth and low esteem now.
But the question arises, “How do you boost either?” Well, in the article I just mentioned, I talked about having accomplishments and as you create mini goals and accomplish them, you will certainly boost your self-esteem. I also talked about allowing the ego to come out and play every now and then so that you get a big boost of self-esteem.
The story I told is purchasing a car that I felt good driving around in. It was an ego boost to have a muscle car when I was a self-conscious teenager, so it boosted my confidence which made me feel good. And when I got rid of the car, I chose to keep the feeling and let go of some of the extra ego I got from it.
Also in the other episode I mentioned, I went over a deeper technique of visiting your past in your mind so that you can heal some stuff from childhood. Again, just refer to that episode for the details as it may help you tremendously.
Today I want to go over what it’s like to develop a “bring it on” attitude and how you can use it to develop both your self-esteem and self-worth. I’ve talked about the “bring it on” attitude before, but it’s worth including in this article because when you develop this attitude in the face of hardship, you get beyond your initial fears and become accepting of what could be worse.
The first thing I like to do in the face of adversity is ask, “Is that all you got?” The more I do this, the more empowering it feels. It’s not like an affirmation where you say to yourself, “I know I can do this and I will be a better person because of it.”
It’s more like acting. Whenever there’s something that just seems too overwhelming or even impossible, I say “bring it on!” After all, when it appears there’s no way out, then I might as well go in guns blazing. You ever heard that term? It’s like walking into a situation with no fears.
The path to a fearless life is to find things more terrifying than what you are afraid of, and face those instead. So if you’re afraid of public speaking in front of 10 people, do it in front of a thousand. Suddenly speaking in front 10 people isn’t so bad after all. And you don’t even have to face your fears for real, you can just imagine them.
That’s why I like to do the Worst Case Scenario process with people. I ask, “What’s the worse thing that could possibly happen?” And when they come up with an answer, I ask, “What’s worse than that?” and then they have to really dig into their fears.
I might dig even further and further until they come up with something so bad that everything they feared before has somehow lost its energy.
Try this yourself: Think of something you’re afraid of. Think of something that you know you are afraid of. It could be something you don’t want to do, someone you don’t want to talk to or tell something to. Anything. Pick one thing.
Now, what’s worse than that? For example, if you thought, “Well, I’m afraid to tell my partner that I broke the dishwasher because he or she might yell at me.” Then something worse than that could be that maybe they won’t yell, but they’ll leave instead.
Then I’d ask, “What’s worse than that?” And you’d go through another level of fears.
Well, if he or she leaves, I’d be alone. I’d have to pay the bills by myself.
“What’s worse than that?”
I’d be lonely, and homeless, and have to stand in line at the soup kitchen.
“What’s worse than that?”
Huh? There’s nothing worse!
Well, I suppose I could go hungry and end up dead!
So when you think about being yelled at by your partner about the broken dishwasher, it doesn’t seem so bad now, does it? I mean, after all, you just imagined so many things much worse. And if you imagined what it would be like, you also felt the fears as if they were really happening.
In a sense, you went through the worst case scenario already. So anything less than the worst case scenario is going to be less intense, and more manageable.
I think you get the idea. We tend to get worried about what’s bad about one thing, and get focused on that one thing, forgetting that so much more could be a lot worse.
This is where a lot of people develop anxieties, because they get stuck on how bad that one thing is instead of realizing things could be a lot worse. When you go through in your mind all the things that could be worse, you end up having a new perspective of what’s right in front of you.
I realize we should all be optimistic and see what’s good about a situation, but if that doesn’t work for you, see what’s worse about a situation. If I told you, “Just think about what’s good about this situation. You know, think positively!” Would that really help?
If so, then do it! I don’t want to change what works. But if it doesn’t work, it’s time to do something a little different.
Play the Worse Case Scenario and see how it unfolds for you. Develop a “bring it on” attitude, letting the world know that you can take much worse than this and you’ll be fine. By doing this, you start to get a bigger picture of things. The more you do it, the broader your perspective gets. The more broad your perspective, the more likely you’ll be less fearful.
Less fear in your life equals less negative self-talk. All negative self-talk comes from some sort of fear anyway, so it’d be nice to stop being so fearful so that you can live the life you want.
Remember that negative self-talk has its origins in childhood and what you believed other people said about you. Those people knew as much about you as a fish knows about riding a bicycle. There’s no reason you have to hold on to the erroneous beliefs of others. As long as you start talking to yourself instead of listening to yourself, you’ll start reprogramming your mind and get it off of autopilot.
That’s all that’s really going on anyway: autopilot. Once you put a system in place, the autopilot takes over and does the rest. It’s our unconscious mind simply repeating information inside of our head, even when that information is wrong.
That’s why it’s so important for you be very selective in what you expose yourself to on a daily basis. If you’re watching shows that don’t empower you in some way, you’re probably feeling unempowered most of the time. If you are around people that have a negative influence on you, you are developing negative self-talk because of the consistent exposure.
I remember I used to listen to shock jocks on the way to work in the 90s. Every morning on my way to work, I would tune into a radio station that had some radio host talking bad about people. I did this for a couple years until I realized that my inner dialogue was mimicking their opinions.
I would hear things in my mind like, “I hate that person.” and “That’s stupid, who would ever do that!” But one time I caught myself saying it out loud about someone I didn’t even know, and figured out that I was simply repeating what someone else said.
They weren’t my own thoughts at all. I was on autopilot, and was simply thinking and saying negative things much of the time. No wonder so many people said I was so judgmental back then.
Unless you become conscious of what you’re thinking and saying, sometimes you just repeat what other people have said. This says a lot about your free will. How much free will do you practice when you’re not conscious of your thinking? Free will sounds like a great topic for another day, but keep it in mind.
When you practice presence, and stay in the moment, you are likely to catch thoughts that flash into your head. When you’re always consumed with the past or the future, you tend to go on autopilot and let whatever happens, happen.
If you’re not always able to be present, remember the lessons from today’s show which are:
Number 1: remember the “Relief From Worry Effect. When you reward your worrying with relief every time, you unconsciously seek things to worry about. It’s a vicious cycle. So use the four step process to get out of it. First, name the “Worrisome Situation” Come up with a very short answer to the question: “What’s the problem?”
Let the answer be only factual, not emotional. Like, “I’m late for work”
The next step is to find out what your “Worry Belief” is by asking yourself: “What do I believe to be true about this situation?” In the case of “I’m late for work”, you could say, “I will get fired because I am late.”
Next is the “Coping Question”. This is when you come up with a counter question to your Worry Belief. If your Worry Belief is “I will get fired because I am late for work.”, then your counter question might be, “Have I been late before and not gotten fired?” Asking yourself a coping question will be empowering. You want to come up with a question that counters your belief
Now you need the “Coping Answer”. Don’t worry too much about the labels I’m giving these, in case you’re wondering what they mean. Just follow the process and you’ll make progress.
Now you want to come up with the answer to the Coping Question. If the Coping Question is “Have I been late before and not gotten fired?” then come up with an empowering answer like, “No, he usually yells then calms down, and everything is okay afterwards.”
Now if your mind wanders into different scenarios and you start feeling worried or anxious again, practice lesson #2 which is talking to yourself instead of listening to yourself.
Remember, you weren’t born listening to yourself say bad or unempowering things in your head, you were born hungry to love and learn about the world. So programming took place that caused you to say things to yourself later in life that simply weren’t true. If what you hear in your head doesn’t empower you in some way, then talk to yourself and motivate yourself.
Sometimes you have to be your own inspiration!
Lesson #3 is to decrease the gap in the comparison game. If you compare yourself to others and feel bad, then find someone else to compare to that is closer to your place in life.
Comparing yourself to someone who took 20 years doing what he or she did to get where they are is probably not a good idea if you haven’t also done the same thing for 20 years.
Remember, you can compare yourself to others and feel inspired, or compare yourself to others and feel bad for what you have and where you are in life. If you feel bad after comparing yourself to someone, take your comparisons down a notch and compare yourself with someone along the same level as you.
Comparing with someone who is in a situation that resembles yours gives you an opportunity to be inspired, because when you compare to someone who’s closer to where you are, you shorten the distance of the next step you have to take to improve yourself in some way. .
And finally, remember to use the Worst Case Scenario process if you simply can’t get out of that negative self-talk cycle. It’s just a thought process that reminds you that much of the worrying or difficult thoughts you have aren’t as bad as they seem most of the time.
These aren’t too hard to practice. So dig into your mind, and let some of that old, unnecessary self-talk out. Besides, whenever you feel like putting yourself down, just remember that donkeys don’t usually have all the answers.