In the book “Atomic Habits” the writer James Clear discusses habits, their formation and their impact on our lives. In doing so, he talks about how our identity is such a strong piece of what shapes our behavior. Our identity and self-talk are something that we may not often take note, or inventory of. I bring this up because 1. obviously there’s a focus on improving myself, and 2. I notice such a prevalence of negative self-talk from people I interact with.
Who am I?
Example: I am a fit and healthy individual who takes care of their body, mind and spirit.
Then ask yourself:
What habits and routines do I take part in that are in support/alignment of that ^ person (or not)?
In support: Making sure to have 30 minutes of activity per day, eating more vegetables, focusing on staying hydrated at work, reading materials that feed my mind and help me learn, etc
In conflict: Smoking intermittently, drinking alcohol, not monitoring my activity vs. food intake, etc
Repeat this for every nuance of your “who am I?” answer, and you may start to notice that your behaviors are in deep contrast to who you say you are (or hope to be).
Now – about that negative self talk.
In MY personal life, we could take this blog as an example. I could say “I am not a writer, it’s just a blog” – but that would really be diminishing what I am doing. I AM writing. I AM producing content regularly, in a written form and putting it out there for the world. I may not be a published author or someone who makes a living off of writing, but that doesn’t mean I should discredit what I am working on.
I hear SO many people putting down what they do out LOUD – so I can only imagine what the voice in their head is saying, even more negatively and even more frequently. Our self talk is such a part of us that we often don’t even “hear” it, we just believe in it and call it our “truth”. The truth is – we can retrain our brain and help strengthen our belief in ourselves, we just have to be willing to listen, change the dialogue and practice that over and over again. For another perspective – check out this post, on Tiny Buddha
Even if it’s just a small “win” toward the goal – it’s still a win. Celebrate that one day, or even moment, when your strength shone through and you did something positive. Clap for yourself just as hard as you would clap for someone you love or admire.
I saw this little cartoon below and it made me remember the importance of how we talk to ourselves: