We are all so mean to ourselves!

Have you noticed? Some of you don’t even realize how mean you are to yourselves and think you are reporting the truth. Our judgment about our appearance, productivity, and credit card bills, you name it,  can take up so much of our psyche. The negative narrative is stuck in our subconscious and feels natural, and we think this narrative will motivate us to change. Interestingly, most negative self-talk does not come from within us but gets dripped into our subconscious from society. We absorb it from our critical parents, who thought they were helpful by pointing out all your flaws. Unfortunately, those voices we hear in our early years get internalized; whether you listen to them from other kids, teachers, or coaches, our brains soak that stuff up.   Marketers use techniques that feed on our insecurities to sell face cream, diet fads, fancy cars, and lite beer. Social media has created a mental health crisis through the “compare and despair” phenomena. Magazines, movies and TV are filled with Venus and Adonis actors, setting an impossible standard. So yeah, looking in the mirror can be rough.     

Being kind to yourself is a skill you can learn.  But it takes a brain reset to unlearn all that nonsense.  Rapid Transformational Therapy/Hypnotherapy helps, as it creates safety in your mind and body and heals much of that childhood trauma.  Beyond hypnotherapy, I will share some thought exercises you can do that help reset your brain that I learned from my mentors, Kara Lowentheil, Bonnie Koo, and Brooke Castillo.  

Before I teach you how to unlearn self-critical talk, I want to discuss the “Drill Sergeant Fallacy.”

The fallacy is the belief that you must be mean and shout at yourself to do anything hard. Fear and being yelled at can be a motivator, but it does not tend to lead to lasting results, even in the military.  It may work for the first weeks of basic training to establish a hierarchy. Still, the soldiers that perform and remain loyal do so out of dedication to serving a higher purpose, not in response to the fear of humiliation and ten more push-ups. Think about the last time you yelled at yourself for being a “weakling.”  I suspect instead of feeling motivated to try harder. You sought refuge under your bed covers.  

We think that hating ourselves will lead to the positive changes we want to make in our lives, but this is not true. You are a beautiful, worthy human being by the mere fact that you are alive.  

Your eating, drinking, and smoking habits have nothing to do with your negative internal voice. That internal brain commentary is not helpful, that tape may be running, but you do not have to listen.  Instead of listening to the negative background static, we can be kind to ourselves by creating kind thoughts. That is it. We do not need to change one iota to like ourselves a little more. This is good news. You don’t have to wait until you lose 20 pounds, stop smoking, or whatever it is to be a little nicer to yourself. You can start doing it right now! If you want to quit drinking, lose weitght or stop smoking, find a reason that involves self-care, not as a mechanism to eliminate self-hate. 

Here are four things ways you can train your brain to be nicer. 

  1. Recognize that you are being mean or hard on yourself. Self-cruelty can show up in so many ways. Any time you hear yourself saying, “I SHOULD have____,” you are likely being mean to yourself. Other times it may not be subtle, but you are so used to it that you don’t even hear it.  It may sound innocent, like “I am a mess.” or “I am ridiculous.”  or even future thinking, such as, “tomorrow, I am going to get my act together.”   If you do see negative ideas rise to the surface, you can also forgive yourself. Remember, most of those negatives are habitual and implanted in you by society. I permit you to start disowning them.  
  2. Write down all of your negative self-talk. Then, read it out loud to yourself. Reading it aloud sounds scary, but when I did this for myself, I found it funny, as it all was ridiculous and unimportant. It seemed so ominous and severe when it just sat in my head. On paper, it became silly.  
  3. If you are mean to yourself about your appearance, retrain your brain to normalize your looks. Spend time glancing at more pictures of yourself and images of people who look like you. Find photos of similar body types, ages, heights, etc. Feeding your brain different images will help normalize your appearance to your brain and deprogram your brain from the size 0, 21-year-old women, and the “jacked” 20-year-old men. When I took a break from looking at the professional models when I was exposed to them again, they looked bizarre rather than attractive.  
  4. When a mean thought comes up in your head, imagine saying this same thing to your son or daughter or a young child. You would never tell a young child the things you say to yourself. Then flip it, and what would you say to that child inside who is listening to you. Yes, you are a beautiful, intelligent, worthy, valuable human being.  

 

I should say that Rapid Transformational Therapy ( the hypnotherapy technique used) is a lovely way to melt away much of the negative self-talk. It undoes the negative messages that our parents and teachers implant in us and settles our nervous system so that we can self-care for the injured child within us. If you have not tried a session with me, now is an excellent time to set up a consultation call.  

 

 

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