The instant I saw this picture on Facebook, I KNEW I owed myself an apology. In that moment, I realized I am often kinder to strangers than I am to myself. I would never in a million years say to someone else the things I say to myself and I don’t believe I’m alone.
I believe you also struggle with saying things to yourself that you would never tolerate being said to your best friend. In fact, I know you would willingly fight anyone who dared insult your friend the way you berate yourself.
I am convinced the biggest hurdle to your success lies in the space between your ears. Your growth as a leader will be directly proportional to your ability to manage that awful voice in your head.
The more you allow negative self-talk to rule, the more likely you are to self-sabotage without realizing it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can change your habit of bullying yourself and start supporting your success instead.
Name the Voice
Naming the voice in your head separates the real you from the part of you that is trying to sabotage you. It feels like that voice is you but it is really a compilation of voices originating from outside of you.
Past teachers who said you didn’t measure up, parents who criticized you, and let’s not forget the onslaught of messages from the media telling you how not enough you are.
The voice that is attempting to bully you is not the real you. So let’s give that part of you a name so we can start dealing with him/her. For most of my clients, it’s a feminine voice but I have had a couple with masculine names. Whatever name comes up first for you, go with it and don’t worry about the gender.
Note: My voice’s name is Holly and for simplicity, I will be using her name in the rest of this post.
Now that your voice has a name, the next step is to start paying attention to how frequently she starts talking.
This woman counted the number of times she thought something negative and was surprised to discover how often the voice showed up for her.
You will have to be intentional about this but try to catch the number of times you think or say something negative about yourself.
The frequency will likely surprise you but awareness is the first step towards change.
Start Talking Back
When Holly shows up, I want you to start talking back to her. Realize that on some level Holly thinks she is being helpful.
Maybe something bad happened in the past and she’s trying to keep you from experiencing it again. Or maybe, she’s trying to protect you from the judgment of other people.
Either way, there are times when her motives are not bad; she’s just trying to keep you safe. Other times, however, she’s just plain mean.
This means some days talking back may look like you thanking Holly for trying to keep you safe and letting her know that you’re okay.
Some days, you need to let her know that you’re not interested in what she has to say. Then there are days when you will have to flat out tell her to shut up.
Change the Conversation
It won’t be enough for you to tell her to shut up. You have to start replacing the negative things you are saying about yourself with something positive.
Practice Makes Progress
As with most things in life, this will take practice and you will likely never be absolutely perfect at it.
I had gone a long stretch without Holly’s voice being so loud in my head but since I’ve taken this entrepreneurial leap, she has come back with a vengeance.
Whenever you set out to do something outside your comfort zone, you can expect your voice to show back up. And you may find yourself saying some of the same things to her again that you’ve said in the past. That’s okay. The goal is not perfection; the goal is progress.
A good way to think of it is noticing how much more supportive the voice in your head is to you. When you make a mistake, are you able to forgive yourself more easily? Is the voice of judgment for “not measuring up” replaced with kindness and grace?
It will take some practice but if you work at it, you will make progress.
Here’s to you no longer bullying yourself so you can rise into your greatness.
From my heart to yours,
If you need some support and accountability so you can stop bullying yourself, let’s talk. Click here to schedule a complimentary session with me.