2024 February 20 Stop negative self-talk!

Feb 20, 2024

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about reimagining your life. Thanks for joining me tonight. Tonight we're going to talk about negative self talk and how to put a stop to it. So let's get started. 


First, a quick reminder, since we're talking about things like negative self talk - if you really start thinking bad thoughts about yourself, you can always dial (911) or (988), which is the short code for the National Suicide Hotline. If you really get down on yourself, talk to somebody. Get some help. 


Tonight we're revisiting an old topic - negative self talk. Why? It seems to be more and more prominent in many different circles as people are guided by social media and other influences. The only thing stopping you from following your dreams is you. It's not easy necessarily, and it certainly has risk, but if you have some huge, audacious goal that you want to follow no matter what - think how wonderful it would be if you attained even half of that great, huge goal. You'd feel amazing. 


There are many steps along that path that we often talk about. The most important step is defining your vision - which is actually not easy. We always think it is, but it actually takes some real searching inside yourself to find your vision. Then is setting your goals, and that's somewhat easy because they're very tangible.


We've talked about SMART goals, and they're measurable. That's the tangible part of it. So you can set your goals, then finally start to work towards your goals, step by step. So those first and last steps of defining your vision and then actually starting towards it - that's where many people   go off the rails which leads to negative self talk.


But that's not the only place negative self talk comes from. It often comes from common knowledge. Girls can't do math. Guys are never good about managing their time. There's a million other ones around. They just become this false common knowledge.


But far worse, in my opinion, is all the negative self image talk that we see where AI is used to make you look truly beautiful or truly handsome. If there's any one AI app that I would completely restrict and ban from people using until they're about 80 years old, it would be that.


I work with many people who have updated their profile picture to look prettier. (Note to everyone, they don't look prettier.)  They look like they already were, had a wonderful picture, then ran it through an AI engine. Now they look like a Twilight Zone episode from the 1960s where young girls at their coming out party would pick how they wanted to look. I think there were like five or six options, maybe even fewer, and what their personality was going to be. Then, voila! They were then transformed into that. It's a totally creepy thought.


Yet, that's what we see exactly on AI. There's also this social media drivel that's always in the background. There's constant stereotypical talk going on about - insert the group of interest here. Baby Boomers, people of color, Ukrainians, people of Jewish descent, people of Latin descent, people who vote differently than I do. There are plenty of things where, if you're in one of those groups,  you're bombarded non stop if you allow it, and seeing it slowly chips away at your own self confidence. 


You have control over this. You can make these things, not always entirely, but to a large degree, go away. So now we have some ideas from where negative self talk starts.  But our own worst enemy is ourselves, because you try something once and it doesn't work and you immediately tell yourself you can't do something. 


Now you have set your path for your entire future because you failed at something once.  Especially if you failed in public, your brain will really double down and make sure you don't try that again because it doesn't want to be embarrassed. What's interesting is that we have hundreds, thousands of examples of people who publicly talk about trying and failing for years, sometimes decades, before succeeding.


They're held up as these great examples. Yet, when it comes to ourselves, we completely ignore all of that and treat ourselves with this one and done attitude towards success. I tried it once, it didn't work. I really didn't want to do it anyway. This is a tough one to overcome, but it can be done.


First is to remember how you did that last time, or when you started, and ask yourself if you're doing any better now. If you are, great! Write it down, along with the reasons why you're doing better. And if you aren't, again - write it down along with the reasons why you're not doing better. It's the same action you're taking at both, whether you improve or not.


What you're doing is you're training your brain to look at yourself more gently, and instead of judging every single attempt, you're looking for improvements and progress over time. The real point is that most negative self talk originates within ourselves, and it's due to selective recall and a desire to keep ourselves safe and comfortable.


But we're in control of that, and when we focus on our vision, and our step-by-step movement along towards our goals, we're now focusing on real attainable steps that we're able to get closer, and through that, truly enjoy our lives. It's important to note that this applies at any age. I first heard a fiddler acquaintance of mine at a Borders bookstore with my nephew, and we were downstairs getting a coffee. I heard a fiddle, and I said to him, There's a fiddler in the building somewhere. So he went up to the music department, and sure enough, there he was. 


He was there trying to promote his latest album. I think at the time it was his only album. He started playing when he was getting ready to retire, and decided he wanted to learn to play the fiddle.. He was entirely self taught and could have come up with dozens of reasons why not to try. Fortunately, he followed his personal and persistent vision, and gave us decades of wonderful music.


You can do most anything that's truly aligned with your vision. You've got this. You really do have faith in yourself. That's it for the evening. Remember to keep out that negative voice that hides inside your head and pops out at the most inopportune moments. Just tell it to hush up, be quiet, because it's not relevant.


What we say to ourselves is what we believe in ourselves and believe of ourselves. That is how our future will actually evolve. That's what we think we're going to be, and so we're going to live our life thinking what we're going to be. So take charge. Keep the negative self talk to a minimum, and call yourself out on it when it happens.


It's going to happen, but there's nothing like scolding yourself to fix that, especially if it's in public. Then you can just mumble to yourself. Because when you do that, it really burns it into your memory, and, and now your brain gets a different message. It takes a while for that to happen, but if you don't start, you'll never attain that point. So every time it happens, start now. You say something like, Ugh, you're so stupid.  Reply back with No, wait, wait, wait, wait. No, you're not stupid. You forgot something. You had 33 things going on, you forgot something. Wow, let's reframe that. Okay, you have a lot of stuff going on, maybe we should look for a better way to manage all the things going on. You have the power to reframe it however you want. 


Your homework (always optional) is to keep a little notebook or sheet of paper, and anytime you catch yourself spouting negative self talk, no matter how justified it may seem, write it down in your little notepad. Real paper is better than an app, but if an app is the only thing you want to use, that'll do. When you actually take the time to write it down, it involves more of your memory, more of your brain, and it will really burn into your self perception. Extra points if you also write down a rebuttal, and a gold star if you not only think of the rebuttal, but actually say that to yourself right away to reverse some of that negative self talk. 


That's it for the evening. Remember, as always, UKR7.com has links to support the people of Ukraine. Also the World Central Kitchen at WCK.org. Both are great places to support.


There's also local charities that you may be able to support. If you're at a point right now where you don't have any money, you can support people just by walking down the street, catching their eye and saying, Hey, have a good day. Morning. How you doing? Just a smile can change somebody's day around. Remember that one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. So if you can and you're able, please help to make the world a better place.


As always, thanks for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along. If not, please send me a notice of what you'd like to hear. Hit that like button. It makes a difference. Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dream of because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you. 

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