It’s crazy how a single voice can influence us.
I consider myself to be a strong-willed person. Even so, I have a tough time tuning others out. I’ve wised up over the years and make a point to surround myself with encouraging, positive people; but avoiding insults or backhanded comments is next to impossible. I mean come on, we live on Earth.
There have been times—way too many times to count—where I allowed my perception of myself to be swayed by the words of another person.
Even if I knew those words were completely untrue. At a previous job, a managing director constantly criticized the way I spoke. No, I’m not referring to the F bombs I drop left and right (I actually can have a filter if the situation calls for it), I’m talking about my actual speech. He described my speech as, “confusing and not persuasive,” a line he bothered to type into my quarterly review, forced me to sign, then filed for all eternity.
At first, I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. I was a persuasive, loud, and assertive person—never, in twenty-seven years, did anyone tell me otherwise.
But here’s the thing about certain comments, particularly those about you: If you hear them enough, you run the risk of believing them. This applies even when you know deep down they are false. I became so, so, SO self-conscious of how I spoke at that job, I actually developed a stutter. I listened to a false comment enough, I physically made it true.
This is just one small example of how an irrelevant person said something about me, and I chose to listen to him instead of myself. This particular person wasn’t a parent, sibling, or even a close friend—in the 90+ years I hope to live, he will go down as a rather meaningless person in my life.
So just imagine if he was someone who MATTERED.
Imagine if he was the person who mattered—the person who I spoke to, and therefore listened to, more than anyone. Imagine that, instead of having to listen to that voice for eight hours a day, I was forced to listen to that voice for twenty-four.
There is one voice on planet Earth who you listen to more than anyone—and that voice is your own.
There is no difference between the dialogue we have with ourselves, and the conversations we have with other people. And because we hear ourselves more than any other person on planet Earth, we better sit up and pay close attention to what’s being said.
Self-deprecating thoughts are just like insults said by others—we have the freedom to choose what we do, and do not, believe. If a voice inside your head says you are fat, lazy, unintelligent, a failure—you don’t have to believe it.
Cancel that. You don’t have to even listen to those thoughts in the first place.
No matter what you believe, you ARE in control of the voice inside your head. When those self-deprecating thoughts slip in, you are the one with the power to say, “No, I’m actually gorgeous, smart, intuitive, determined—and all those other thoughts are bullshit.”
Every time we have a negative thought about ourselves, we condition ourselves to believe it.
There is no difference between listening to the voice inside your head, and the voice of another person.
Meaning, if you listen to that voice enough, you will start believing whatever it says. So when you hear that voice say you can’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t do something, you need to 1) recognize it 2) label it as untrue, and 3) push it out of your mind. Replace those thoughts with positive ones—these are the thoughts you should believe. Tell yourself you have what it takes to get the job you deserve. Tell yourself your body is awesome and it’s only going to get leaner and stronger. Tell yourself you’re compassionate and are loved by friends who matter. Tell yourself you’re creative, entertaining, beautiful—whatever traits you love about yourself and know to be true.
Continuously tell yourself that you are an awesome, determined, brilliant human being. That’s the voice you need to believe.
My girl Meg did an AWESOME post on self-talk, which I encourage all of you to read. You can read her full post, and how to erase those nasty thoughts here.