Our internal dialogue is running constantly. Much of it we keep up with, a lot of it we feel we have no control over.
The big question:
Is your self-talk serving you or sabotaging you?
Most of us are sabotaging ourselves a majority of the time. The voices in our head are judging us with a play-by-play on what we did wrong, the people we offended, and/or the opportunities we missed. The negative self-talk (inner critic) is either focused on painfully rehashing the past or fearfully rehearsing the future. (I will guarantee that it’s never in the here-and-now.)
So what’s the deal? Why does it feel so normal and common to be so hard on ourselves?
Here’s what I think it comes down to:
Deep within we hold a secret fear that we’re terrified of being confirmed. We’re unconsciously desperate to keep it from showing up; much of what we say and do are acts to convince ourselves and others that this fear is not true.
What’s your fear?
Want to know what’s motivating almost all of your negative self-talk? Simply answer yourself this:
What are you most afraid other people are going to FIND OUT or DECIDE about you?
Really give some thought to this and list it out. You might have a couple that pop out right away, things like: imposter, dumb, not good enough, lazy, weird…
Whatever comes up will feel familiar, and whatever stings or hits you in the gut are the ones to really pay attention to.
Now here’s the catch. Because you’ve come pretty far and are quite intelligent, your logic tells you that these fears aren’t true. You’ve probably become good at convincing yourself that these are silly untruths. Or your logic might be SO good, that you’re convinced you don’t even have these fears – that you can’t even answer this question because there is nothing to answer it with.
Chances are you’ve only convinced part of yourself. The conscious logical part of you knows these fears aren’t true and that maybe you don’t even have them, but sadly the conscious logical part of you isn’t running the show most of the time. The habitual running thought patterns in the background get a lot more airtime than you think. And it’s in those habitual running thought patterns where these fears reside.
Want to know how? Answer this:
What do you DO so that people don’t find out or decide you are those things you listed?
How do you show up in the world so that people don’t come to this conclusion about you?
Your answers could vary greatly. Some examples are: I distract myself with work, I accomplish a lot, I get others to like me, I’m a hard-ass, I procrastinate, I argue everything, I keep quiet, I never let myself rest…
These things you DO are called survival mechanisms. They can also be considered your strong suits. These are the things you do in order to survive the fears you’re trying to keep hidden from yourself and others.
The fears you hold and the things you do to compensate for these false beliefs/fears are the origin of your negative self-talk.
The things you falsely decided about yourself a long time ago are propagating exactly the talk that’s frustratingly sabotaging you.
Calming and transforming the negative self-talk is a journey that doesn’t happen overnight. Beginning (or persisting in) this journey requires inquiry into this biggest fear you hide within.
Look and see what you find. See if uncovering these false beliefs can give you some awareness and insight into the sabotaging self-talk that’s keeping you from living the life of you desire. Only when you wake up and own what you’re falsely believing can you begin to make steps to change it. And when that starts to happen your entire world opens up to more possibility and joy!
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Are you in touch with your biggest limiting beliefs? How does your negative self-talk sabotage your greatest efforts in living a life you love? Leave your thoughts and offer your experiences. And please feel free to share with those you know who strive to live purposefully. 🙂
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Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.