Why Are You Hitting Yourself?
by Robin Sacks
You are your biggest bully.
You really need to stop that.
Before you blame yourself, know that you're in good company. Most people bully themselves with punishing self-talk constantly! So constantly, they don't even realize that it has simply become a habit - and is totally on autopilot.
The key word there is habit.
Habits are well-ingrained. However, the only way something got to be a habit in the first place is that you did it over and over and over again without doing it differently.
In order to change an existing habit, you need to do two things; one, become aware of what you do that does not serve you and two, decide what you are going to replace it with that does serve you (that you will begin to do over and over and over again until IT becomes your new habit).
You may be aware that there are also people who don't beat themselves up constantly in their heads. They are not "lucky" or "better than you" or "wired differently." No. The people who don't bully themselves simply choose to DO some things differently than you.
The good news? Those things can be learned and applied by anyone!
Let's get straight to the problem area - that six inches of real estate between your ears.
Most people's self-talk needs a complete overhaul. It is critical and mean and, well, bully-like.
If you are like most people, you would never let anyone talk to you the way you talk to yourself. If they did, there would probably be a fight. You would also never talk to a friend or co-worker or anyone else the way you talk to yourself. Why? Because that would be really mean and you would sound like an asshole.
Typically, we are much more critical when we talk to ourselves and much more supportive when we talk to someone else.
If you were going to give a presentation today, you would most likely say things to yourself such as, "Don't blow this - I am so not prepared - I hate getting up in front of everybody because I sound so bad...." However, if your friend or co-worker was giving that same presentation today, and shared with you that they were nervous and were probably going to blow it, you would say things to them like, "You're going to do great! You got this - you know your stuff and you are so good at helping others understand it, too."
Give yourself a flipping break!
You already know exactly how to be supportive and use more positive self-talk for better outcomes - you just choose not to do it with yourself. ("A-ha!" as we say with a coaching breakthrough.)
Here are two things you can start doing right now to go from being your own bully to being your own biggest supporter.
First, name that voice in your head and then, make her a person in your life. Don't just believe everything she says and don't fight with her. Simply acknowledge that she is there. "Oh, there's Judy speaking her mind. Hi, Judy."
By doing this, you are doing two things that will instantly improve your mental well-being; one, you are separating yourself from those negative thoughts (now they belong to someone else) and, two, you are standing up for yourself (possibly for the first time) because you can always tell Judy that she needs to go sit in the corner and stuff it. :)
Second, talk to yourself as if you were talking to a friend. Since you already know how to do that (better than you know how to talk to yourself), just begin applying it to your self-talk.
By doing this, you can instantly manage the conversation in your head better and talk to yourself with more of a caring and coaching voice than with a critical and demeaning voice.
Give it a try. No, wait...don't give it "a try" - just go do it! You may be amazed at how good you already are at motivating and inspiring yourself (when you get out of your own way).