Coaching Call #021 is out today! The topic of this call is: Finding Her Passion And Moving Towards It. In this call, I helped a client figure out what her real passion is, as well as clearing a whole host of beliefs that were in her way, such as that you can’t make money doing something spiritual, that she’s not good enough, that there’s too much competition, etc. I also helped her make sense of her depression and gave her a ton of techniques to keep her on track after the call. View the call summary and listen in!
Imagine the following scenario: Every day, when you get up, your partner tells you how fat you are. And ugly. “Look at your round belly and flabby thighs.” They show up again at lunchtime, to berate you for the food you’re eating. “Sure, why not have a slice of cake? It’s not like you don’t want to look like a hippo!” If you make even the slightest mistake, like spilling your drink, they pop up out of nowhere and remind you how clumsy you are. Just before your big presentation to your boss, you get a text message, assuring you that you’ll probably fail, because you’re too stupid to handle that much responsibility and you know it. Most of you, at this point, are thinking “I’d put up with that crap for about thirty seconds and then there would be bloodshed.” You wouldn’t allow yourself to be abused like that by anyone, knowing that if you did , your self esteem would be destroyed.
Well, guess what? A lot of us are putting up with that kind of abuse, but not from a spouse or a parent. Often, the most abusive person in our lives is the one staring back at us in the mirror. The voice we use to talk to ourselves is often shockingly nasty, mean, cruel and downright damaging. And make no mistake about it; subjecting ourselves to that kind of abuse on a daily basis takes its toll, just like the abuse from another person would. In fact, it makes little difference where the abuse comes from, as long as we believe it. And when we bombard ourselves with the same messages every day, we will come to believe them. In short, self-abuse is still abuse, and it does just as much damage as being mistreated by someone else.
Self abuse is the worst kind of abuse
In fact, self-abuse has the chance to do more damage, for several reasons:
- You have a lot more access to yourself. You may get a respite from an abusive partner or parent (they have to sleep sometime and you can usually get away from them for a few hours a day), but we have to live with ourselves 24/7. There’s no getting away from it.
- There’s no buffer. When someone else says something mean to us, we have the chance to disagree with them. We can see how others react and get a sense that these types of words aren’t acceptable (we don’t always, but we can). But no one can hear what we’re saying to ourselves. It’s like having an invisible abuser yelling obscenities at you, and no one else can see them. We have no other perspective but our current one to view the abuse through, making it that much harder to choose a different point of view.
- How we see ourselves determines our perception of how others see us. That means, that those who disagree with our twisted view of ourselves can’t make it anywhere near us. We can’t hear a word they say. Self-abuse is the most effective way to shut out all contradictory and positive messages, ensuring that the abuse continues. Abusive partners will often isolate their victims, limiting the amount of contradictory feedback they get exposed to. This is the exact same thing.
Awareness is the first key
In my coaching practice, I often help clients overcome their negative self talk. When they first become aware of how they’ve been addressing themselves, they’re often totally shocked by just how nasty they’re being. They would NEVER talk to anyone like that, and yet, they’ve been lobbing some of the worst insults one can imagine at themselves for years. Particularly strong, ambitious women will be hypercritical of themselves, allowing no room for any kind of error or weakness. The slightest “mistake” will unleash a barrage of insults and criticisms that would make Gordon Ramsey go “Oh hold on, now. That’s going a bit too far…”
So, how can you become more aware of how you’re talking to yourself? Well, first of all, decide to pay attention to your self-talk. That intention goes a long way, and may be enough to make you conscious of how you’re addressing yourself.
Second, you can use the technique I described in the Video on How to Love Yourself: Imagine that you’re talking to a small, adorable child. Suddenly, you’ll be hearing every word that comes out of your mouth (or mind) through the filter of saying it to someone defenseless and innocent. Whereas before, you may have dismissed some of your self-criticism as “not that bad”, you’ll definitely become aware of the destructive nature of your words. What would you think if you heard an adult tell a small child “You’re so stupid! I hate you! You’ll never be good enough!” You’d probably have the urge to step in and protect that poor child (and possibly smack the adult). And yet, many people talk to themselves in exactly that manner.
You can’t be strong enough to withstand the abuse
At this point, some people like to point out that even though they wouldn’t speak to a child in such a horrific way, they are not children anymore, and can “handle it”. They feel that they can process the abuse, that their minds know that they don’t really mean it. This is when I have to call Bullshit.
Your mind, and especially your subconscious, knows nothing of the sort. The words you are using are a reflection of the beliefs you hold about yourself, which means that your mind is accepting all those nasty insults as truth. This, my denial filled dearies, is how you truly feel about yourselves.
How you talk to yourself reveals how you truly feel about yourself.
And thinking that you’re tough enough to withstand the torrents of abuse, that you’re strong enough to weather the constant onslaught of nastiness, is dangerous at best. Sure, maybe you can keep yourself from having a total breakdown, but you cannot subject yourself continuously to an environment of abuse and not pay a hefty price. And, let me ask you this: Why would you even want to try?
Why would you ever need to prove that you can withstand constant abuse, unless you secretly fear that you’re weak and are trying to prove yourself wrong? How is your suffering proving anything, and who, exactly, are you trying to prove it to? Just because you’re strong enough to “take it”, doesn’t mean that you have to!
Telling yourself that you’re stupid and lazy and fat and ugly will take its toll. It will absolutely affect you, how you feel, how you interact with others and your world, how successful and happy you are, how much love and money you let into your life, your relationships with your spouse, children and friends – in short, every aspect of your reality.
You can’t exactly leave yourself
When someone’s in a truly abusive relationship, I generally advise them to get out. In most cases, the environment that they’re in will make it damn near impossible for them to shift their vibration to a better feeling one. The sheer force of the abuser and the fact that they’ll try and exert even more control over their victim once that victim becomes stronger and begins to pull away can be too compelling. Abusive partners have also been known to beg and plead and do anything to manipulate the victim back into their clutches, where, after a very short respite, the abuse starts all over again. It’s often much easier to leave the environment altogether and then start the healing process.
But what happens when you’re the one abusing yourself? You can’t very well leave your own head or ship off your subconscious to be healed, while you take a nice vacay and sip Mai Tais on the beach. What happens when you take the abuser with you everywhere you go?
The good news is that, unlike with an external abuser where you can’t control them or create in their reality, you have no such limitations here. You CAN create in your own reality and you can definitely change your own vibration and elicit very different behavior from yourself. And as you do, you’ll see massive changes not only in the way you feel, but in your reality as well.
Learning to love yourself
The technique that I described in the Loving Yourself Video is the best one I’ve found to date to help us dramatically change our self-talk. When you run everything through the filter of talking to a small, innocent, adorable child (or anyone you really love and have no negative feelings towards), you instantly become softer. Your tone is much kinder, you don’t berate, you encourage more, you let things go (a.k.a, everyone makes mistakes), you choose nicer words, and you may even find yourself apologizing to yourself for all the past nastiness (which, incidentally, is not a bad idea).
For example, let’s say that you’re late for a meeting. Your default response may be to tell yourself how stupid and incompetent you are. Why can’t you EVER be on time (suddenly it becomes an absolute. You’re ALWAYS late…)? Why can’t you be more disciplined? You’re going to lose your job, if you carry on like this!
Now, imagine that a small, adorable child (or love object of your choice) is a few minutes late. How do you respond? The same way you used to? Unless you’re a total douchebag, you wouldn’t dream of talking that way to someone you loved. You’d be much more likely to say “That’s ok. You’re only a few minutes late (diminishing the situation instead of exaggerating it). They’ll understand. Everyone struggles with traffic. Maybe they won’t even notice.” You’d soothe the little child, tell them it was no big deal. You wouldn’t go off the deep end, spiraling into the worst case scenario (like getting fired). You’d be much more likely to treat it as an isolated incident than part of an inherent character flaw. And even if the lateness was part of a pattern, you’d be more willing to look for a valid underlying cause than condemn the offending party as “broken” or lazy or incompetent.
So, noticing how you address yourself and shifting your tone and language and intention is the first big step to recovery.
The road to recovery
Any kind of abuse can lead to depression and self-abuse is no exception. The impact that our thoughts about ourselves and how we address ourselves has on us, how we feel about ourselves and our entire reality is significant. It really is like being in an abusive relationship.
The good news is that as we learn to be kinder to ourselves, as we let go of the need to be perfect, as we cut ourselves some slack and actually act as though we give a crap about ourselves, our energy begins to rapidly shift into higher vibrations. When the abuse stops, we move rapidly and often dramatically into better feelings. It’s like finally being able to breathe again after being held under water.
I’ve personally witnessed miraculous shifts in how people felt and the manifestations they allowed simply by making a change in how they talked to themselves. Clients who came to me hopeless and desperate to feel better will describe all the wonderful changes in their lives with the enthusiasm of happy, excited children after just a few sessions. Getting them to address their negative self-talk is almost always part of this process, and invariably, the very next appointment after being given this exercise, the client will report feeling so much lighter, more positive, less stressed, calmer and all around happier.
There is no other technique that I know of which will improve your vibration so drastically.
Think about it: Going back to the first paragraph in this post – if you were used to this constant barrage of abuse, with very little positive feedback to balance it out, you’d be feeling quite horrible. But let’s imagine that this abusive person was suddenly replaced by your fairy godmother, or a hot guy or girl, who constantly told you how amazing you are, how gorgeous you are, how smart and beautiful and competent and sexy you are? What if you were consistently reminded of what a bright, shining, powerful light you are and how you, yes you, have the power to influence the entire Universe for the better? Sure, it would feel weird for a bit, but after a short amount of time, that constant flow of support and love would start to sink in, and it would change you.
Well, you don’t need a fairy godmother. You can do this for yourself. It takes a bit of dedication, and yes, it feels weird as hell at first, but if you keep it up, you can expect things to get better, fast. I challenge you to try monitoring and shifting your self-talk for 30 days. Hell, even a week will bring noticeable changes (but you’ll just be out of the weird stage…) Then, come back and tell me how it went. I can’t wait to hear about all the “miracles” from my happier, shinier puppies!