Ever notice when working alone you talk to yourself out loud? Sometimes my husband asks, are you talking to me (when I'm not.) I encourage you to pay attend to what you say to yourself, both out loud and in your mind. This requires some focus and attention. We often allow thoughts to go through our mind constantly without paying any attention to them. Once you start recognizing what messages you are sending yourself, ask if this is something you would say to someone you love. For example, when getting ready for work and looking in the mirror, if you think, "I look ugly today," would you tell your daughter she looks ugly?
No you would not! So, why would it be acceptable to tell yourself you look ugly?
You see, the power of what we tell our self transfers over into so many areas of our lives: how we feel, act, engage with others, carry our-self. If you want to maximize happiness, confidence and self-love, try the following tips.
1. Make a journal of the messages you send yourself. This can be done for any period of time. I prefer a couple of weeks which allows you to notice patterns.
2. Start to explore, without judgement, where self-defeating thoughts may be stemming from. Have others told you this in the past? Do those you surround yourself with others who have low confidence and beat them-self up? What did you learn when you were growing up? Sometimes it helps to remove the emotion from the thought to get a better understanding of how such thoughts developed.
3.Review your journal to see if there are certain patterns. For example, if you are highly-self critical and your mood consistently worsens while you are at work, why do you think that is?
4. Flip the thought. I always encourage people to flip negative thoughts. It is helpful to do this in a written version. For example, if your self-defeating thought is,
my financial forecasting was 5% off this month, I am no good at my job, I should quit.
Flip that thought to:
the prior three months my financial forecast was 98% accurate, which allowed our company to (state success). I will learn from x to return to 4% or less error next month.
Being conscious of the messages you send yourself allows you to over ride negative, destructive commentary, which in turn helps you feel happier and improve your self-esteem.
By practicing flipping negative thoughts to positive ones regularly, you will eventually see a reduction of the harmful thoughts you send yourself.
5. Surround yourself with positivity, encouragement, and those who are uplifting as much as possible!
*These concepts are derived from Cognitive Behavior Therapy (Dr. Aaron Beck)