A couple of weeks ago I posted about low self esteem and how we can challenge that. One area which I see repeatedly and which many of us are guilty of is negative self talk. That inner critic which tells us, we aren’t good enough, it’s a negative, nagging voice and will cause us to blame ourselves for everything.
Most of us will have experienced some negative self talk, however when you’re also battling anxiety or depression, that nagging voice can become louder and louder, really chipping away at your confidence. A voice the ladies in our group have lovingly named “The Inner Bitch”.
I am susceptible to this, I use to be great at ignoring it, I was confident in myself and my decisions. Then I became a mum and PND hit me. I lost all my confidence, I doubted everything I did. I have over the past few years, built up my confidence back up and I now know that yes, I am a great mum, I’m confident because everything I do is always with positive intention, and to help those around me.
Sometimes that nagging voice will creep back in, I’ll worry if people will judge me. Or I will be very critical and talk negatively to myself. Things like;
“No one really likes you”
“You’re fat, you’re ugly”
“You’re not good enough”
“You’re not smart enough”
I’m usually pretty good at challenging this, but sometimes it will get the better of me and I will be pretty mean to myself. I wouldn’t let other people talk to me like that, yet I allow my thoughts to talk to me in that way.
So how do we start to challenge this negative thought pattern?
THINK – this is one of those little exercises that you can try each time you notice a self critical thought.
Is it TRUE? Is it fact or opinion?
Is it HELPFUL? What would be helpful to think instead?
Is it IMPORTANT? Is it INSPIRING?
Is it NECESSARY? Do you need to believe this thought?
Is it KIND? Is this thought kind to me?
This is something I was shown from the website getselfhelp.co.uk and you can read more about the exercise here.
You may also be interested in reading The Poisonous Parrot – this is an example given to me by the therapy team when I was unwell. It was an example of the way I spoke to and about myself and the negative impact it can have. You can read more about it here.
Selfcare = Self Love
Looking after ourselves, doing nice things and taking time for us is a good way to promote self love. Be kinder to yourself, because you do deserve it. Now that inner bitch will be nagging at you saying you’re selfish, you’re not. Selfcare is vital. Remember you cannot pour from an empty cup, so looking after your family means looking after yourself too.
I like positive affirmations, not everyone does, but I think they’re good for empowering ourselves and reminding ourselves that yes we are amazing, and we are good enough! Have a search online for your favourites and repeat them to yourself. Write them down in a note book and keep them by your bed. Each night or morning (or both!) have a read of some.
Another great tip is having a notepad and each night write something positive about yourself, maybe someone said something nice to you or you accomplished something. Write it down and start noticing your good qualities!
Would you say it to a friend?
When you say something critical, stop and think would I say this to a friend? The answer is probably no, so don’t say it to yourself.
Each time you start to say something horrible to yourself; STOP. Think about the thought and replace it with something positive. The more you do it, the easier it will become. Over time you will start to notice your confidence increase and you will begin to grow in your self belief.
Remember, You are good enough, you are loved and you are important.