Press Pause on Negative Self-Talk

I looked in the mirror on Monday morning and said to myself, “Wow! You look awful!” I could see the puffy bags under my eyes, the fine lines around my eyes had turned into angry crow’s feet. My hair was frizzy and in need of a color treatment. I then went to my closet trying to find a suitable outfit for the day and heard, “Nothing fits you! You just can’t seem to control yourself, maybe today you will finally start your diet…again, loser.” I flipped through outfit after outfit judging them and being disgusted by my choices…”You have NO clothes in this closet.”

Later that morning while I was looking at my social media feed it looked like everyone I knew was either on some amazing trip, had just returned from a far-away land or was planning on going to have the vacation of a lifetime. The voice inside my head said, “How come everyone else is doing fun things and you are stuck at home? When is the last time you went on a vacation? You are never going to be able to do what everyone else does.”

As I walked out to the mailbox I noticed two of my neighbors talking a few doors down and heard my inner voice say, “Are they talking about you? I bet they are. No one in this neighborhood likes you, probably because you can’t seem to keep the weeds out of your landscaping. It’s embarrassing.”

By the time the afternoon rolled around, I was exhausted. The inner dialogue in my head had beaten me up so many times. I was discouraged, sad and felt like I just needed a nap.

A self-talk audit?

Have you ever done a self-talk audit? We can be so mean to ourselves. Speaking to ourselves in ways that we would never talk to others. And we do it so habitually and consistently we are often our own worst enemies. Tearing ourselves down until we see no worth in ourselves at all.

How do you stop?

Author Stephen Covey in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, encourages us to press the pause button on negative self-talk. This takes a lot of practice! You need to be intentional about protecting yourself and listening closely to what happens in your mind. When you do recognize that you are beating yourself up with your thoughts, lift your finger and place it on the middle of your forehead and press. Literally pressing pause on the thoughts happening in your mind.     

This sort of silly exercise will help you stop and pay attention to what you are thinking. It allows you to take a moment and evaluate the truth of what you are saying to yourself. Take a second to ask yourself, “Is what I am saying about myself kind? Would I say this to anyone else?”

Next time press pause

Here is a challenge for you. For the next 24 hours, listen to how you talk to yourself. Press pause and be kind to yourself. YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Written by: Christine B., Masters Level Intern

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