Coping 101: Self-Talk
Oh the things that we say to ourselves! I often ask my clients to reflect on whether they can imagine talking to a loved one the way they talk to themselves. Usually the answer is no, most of them would never dream of being so harsh and unforgiving. So why do people think it is okay to talk to themselves this way? Sometimes it is because of the home they grew up in and how they were talked to or treated there. Sometimes it is because of the messages they get from society about themselves that are negative, this especially true for LGBTQIA+ and people of color.
So how do we combat this? Part of the answer comes down to monitoring and changing the way that we speak to ourselves in our heads. First, become your own life coach and cheer leader, all rolled into one. Give yourself encouragement.
Next, notice the way you speak to yourself in your head and then try to change the negative, judgmental messages to something more neutral or positive. For example, instead of saying ‘you’re such an idiot, why did you do that?’ instead say, ‘you made a mistake, it’s okay.’
Remember, it takes time and practice to change these habits. So, this is not a license to beat yourself up for beating yourself up. Be kind to yourself, know that you will fall back into old habits and patterns and that is all part of progressing. So instead of saying, ‘ugh, why do I keep doing that?’ say ‘it’s okay, this is a habit I’m trying to break and this is just another chance to make a change.’ Go forth and practice. You got this!