“Talk to yourself like you would someone you love.”Karolina Kurkova
When I’m in public and people are speaking Spanish I always feel like I’m eavesdropping on their conversation. It has happened on many occasions that I am the topic of the conversation. I wait for just the right moment to respond in Spanish. The look of shock and horror at getting busted is awesome.
I’m a native Spanish speaker and I love that I can toggle between two languages. It certainly comes in handy when I come across someone that does not have command of the English language and I can serve as a
translator. Living in the South many people assume I am a Black woman and not Puerto Rican. In my opinion and history supports my belief that Puerto Ricans are just black folks that happen to speak Spanish.
I am going to risk being vulnerable and share that I’ve eavesdropped on my own conversations. The conversations I have with myself and about myself. My internal dialogue has not always been positive. At times self-defeating and contrary to who I truly am. I am vigilant about correcting that chitter-chatter. Daily renewing my internal love language.
Our inner voice and the words we string together have tremendous power. They have the power to build and the power to destroy. Our inner dialogue needs to be policed, examined, and removed. Words are so tangible and present even though we can’t see them. They take form, take up space, and create an atmosphere. I remember hearing the great Angela Mayou say, “Words stick to walls. This is why you can walk into someone’s home or space and feel the heaviness.” Thoughts and words are indeed pliable which means we can shape them or reshape them to align with our greatness.
Power of Choice
Negative self-talk impacts overall health and feeds anxiety. It creates significant stress. Stress is the foundation and culprit for many medical conditions. The good news is we have the power to reframe that internal conversation. Don’t allow negative thoughts to take up space. Challenge the thought and question its validity. Most negative self-talk is a lie or an exaggeration. You choose whether it stays or goes.
Call it Out
When a negative thought hits we either entertain it or ignore it, “You know you are too old to go back to school.” Call it out and confront it, “I’m not too old. I’m mature and have life experiences that will enable me to be a great adult learner.” During a recent therapy session, I was challenged with a profound what if. What if you collected all the positive ways in which you show up in the world and actually believed it. The truth is many of us are good people, serving our families and communities. Showing up to classrooms around the country and world. Colleagues, family, and friends often sharing how much we are valued and appreciated. When these experiences are not internalized and the opposite whispers, call it out.
Think Like a Friend
Dr. Elizabeth Scott shares this compassionate practice in her Very Well Mind article. When our inner critic is at its worst, it can sound like our worst enemy. Often we’ll say things to ourselves in our heads that we’d never say to a friend. Why not reverse this and—when you catch yourself speaking negatively in your head—make it a point to imagine yourself saying this to a treasured friend. If you know you wouldn’t say it this way, think of how you’d share your thoughts with a good friend or what you’d like a good friend to say to you. This is a great way to shift your self-talk in general.
I find human behavior fascinating to observe and study. Our thoughts are like a giant iceberg. We often focus on the tip of the iceberg but it’s what’s beneath the surface that drives us. Our internal talk is what’s beneath the surface. But dictates everything we do. Imagine if every time you had a negative thought about yourself an automatic post went to all your social media channels or sent a text message to every one of your contacts. I shudder at the mere thought. I hope this visual helps you gauge what to do with your next thought.