I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me that I can’t do something.
I’ve been told not to talk, not to think, not to try, not to believe in myself. . .
But, the most consistent, negative voice in my life towards myself is my own. I tell myself that I can’t do. I tell myself that I shouldn’t aspire for certain things. I tell myself that things will never get better.
About five years ago, I’d allowed my self talk to run completely amok. I abused myself all day every day. As a result, I constantly felt lousy. One day, I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “You’re a bitch.” And I think it was the sound that made it real. I think it was hearing myself tell myself something so ugly, out loud. If someone else had said that to me, it would have caused a real problem, but I had allowed myself to talk about myself like this for so long, I didn’t even realize that I was abusing myself. From that moment on, I made it a point to be really aware of my negative self talk.
Thoughts are not real. They are just thoughts. If I conform to the “box of thoughts” that others apply to me and my life I wouldn’t be married, a mother, an attorney, working in my current employment. etc.
One of the things I’m learning from my yoga practice is that there is a difference between ourselves and our brains. Our brains are here to serve us, not the other way around. But so often, we let our brains run amok, and tell us what to do and who we are. You can create your own prison through your thoughts. In the yoga sutras, Patanjali makes a distinction between the seer and the seen, and explains that by focusing on God, rather than material things, we can transform our minds, and become more like God. See Yoga Sutras 2.20.
The same concept is explained in the bible.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
By changing the way you think you become unstoppable. You do this by isolating the voices in your head, stepping back and observing the messages you tell yourself.
Do you tell yourself that you aren’t loveable? That no one likes you? That you are always wrong, or poor, or stupid?
Those thoughts can stop you from reaching your potential. The first step is to recognize the voice. Listen to what you tell yourself, about yourself. Often, the only thing stopping me from reaching my potential, is me. So, how do you change your mind?
I’m going to write more about a gratitude practice, because my gratitude practice is helping to transform my mind. When I hear a negative thought, about myself or about someone else, I now consciously attempt to change it to a positive thought.
So, if I walk pass someone and find myself judging them, I stop, and tell myself, Thank God for that person. I bet they are a mother to someone, a father to someone, a source of joy for someone in their life. Who am I to judge?
For myself, if I find myself frustrated with my lack of progress or overcome with anxiety, I stop and say, “Thank God for my life. Thank God for my family. Thank God for the opportunities I have been given to provide for them and myself. Thank God for the opportunity to study, and a mind and heart that constantly wants to improve.”
So, that’s the practice. That’s how you become unstoppable. Transform your negative thoughts through gratitude. Or at least, that’s what works for me.
Lady in Yellow
P.S. -Do you have negative self-talk? Have you ever been paralyzed by the negativity? How do you overcome it?