The Story of Negative Self-talk
Take a moment and think about the last time you said something nice about you to yourself. Now, think about the last time you said something not-so-nice. Negative self-talk is one of the more destructive aspects of our interior life. The truth is, though, that if you’re like most of us, you’re more likely to scold yourself than to think about yourself in a positive way. Very rarely is this kind of thinking helpful. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite. Not to mention the stories you tell yourself about you are very probably simply not true.
There are a lot of different stories we tell ourselves. For instance, we might believe we are somehow unlovable, or that we’re not good enough. One old standby is feeling like a fake and believing we’re an impostor. They even have a name for that one: impostor syndrome. We might feel like we’re undeserving of the good stuff that should be an everyday part of our lives. On the other hand, we might just feel like no matter what we try, we’re going to fail.
Whatever the story, you’re the one who’s in control of how it ends. If you have a belief, no matter what it is, as long as you hold onto it, you maintain it in your own head. Take, for instance, the idea that you’re unlovable. As long as you believe you’re unlovable, you are not only going to feel unlovable, but you’re going to look for evidence to prove it to yourself.
So, if you get passed over for a promotion at work, it’s quite likely you won’t stop to consider that the other person may have more time on the job or may be more qualified. Instead, it’s more likely you immediately jump to the thought that your boss doesn’t like you. If you feel insecure in your relationship with your partner or spouse, it’s easy to think it’s because you’re too demanding or difficult or a nag, instead of stopping to consider the way you feel has nothing to do with him or her and everything to do with you!
Re-frame and Unravel
Re-framing your thinking, which is one of the keys to changing how you feel about yourself, gives you the opportunity to change your personal story. Now, if we’re talking about feeling unlovable, that doesn’t mean you fix it skipping down the garden path to the place of loving yourself more. It means unraveling the source of the story and uncovering what you’re doing to keep this and all those other stories going.
How do you unravel the source of a story? Well, sometimes it’s simple—if, as a woman, you spent your childhood hearing your mother say, “It’s a good thing you’re pretty”, eventually that’s going to sound a whole lot like “You’re really not very smart.” The same kind of dynamic can just as easily feed a man’s negative thinking—or at least his negative story telling—about himself. On the other hand, it may well be you’re finding you need to some help getting the source of your personal story and how you can re-frame it to be more positive and productive for you.
If you are feeling like your stories are getting in the way of leading a full and fulfilling life, feel free to call 832-421-8714 and make an appointment with one of our expert counselors at Amy Wine Counseling today.