Monday, October 24, 2016

How Do You Turn Off Negative Self-Talk?

Just read a friend’s blog about negative self-talk. It really hit home.

Does that go on in your head?

It certainly does mine. Just last night, I was washing my hands at the sink and I shook the water from them.

Flash to sixth grade, Mrs. Kennedy’s class. I remember the angered expression on her face as she yelled at me once again for touching the sink after I had washed my hands. “Don’t do that, Cindy. You’re just putting germs back on your hands. You can do that at home, but not here.”

Why do I have to remember this every time I wash my hands? Why do I have to feel hurt?

Or there’s every time I cross my legs to tie my shoes and the knot and bow end up closer to one side and not in the middle. I hear my dad say, “He was too fat to bend over and tie his shoes.”

See. It doesn’t even have to be about me to feel the emotions.

Growing up, I had difficulty with my weight. Who the heck am I kidding? I still do. Talk about negative self-talk. Even now that I have lost over 120 pounds, the negative self-talk hasn’t changed. I’m still bigger than I should be. Should be? Who says? Oh, some stupid chart designed years ago. We are not all the same or the same body shape. That chart doesn’t understand how sick I am or how difficult it is for my body to lose weight. In fact, I’m probably one of the few who lost weight while pregnant because being pregnant was too hard on my body. I gained after that, though.

I passed a full-length mirror the other day and was shocked to see myself. The picture of how I look has not changed in my mind. I see myself that 120 pounds heavier. Did I celebrate the loss?  No. I’m still over-weight. When I recently lost another 15 pounds, did my doctor say, “Good job!” Did I? No. In fact, I can’t think of a time I’ve stopped and celebrated an accomplishment or a job well done. Probably because I feel that I have never done anything well.

Talk about your negative self-talk.

My logical self tells me I should stop and celebrate my accomplishments but years of all that negative talk by myself and others just continues to play in my head. 

Did I mention that one day I went out to get the mail and was walking back to the house and a carload of neighborhood boys yelled, “Fat *itch”? It hurt. It scarred internally. Do I think about it every time I go out for the mail? Yes, unfortunately. Why? Their opinion shouldn’t matter to me. They don’t know what it’s like to live in my body or live my life.

The list goes on and on; some too painful to even write about.

Do you have a problem with negative self-talk? I really would like to know how you turn it off. Please comment below.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
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  1. I feel empathy for you. I had a bad habit of calling myself "stupid" every time I did something wrong. With help, I was able to change that script. Now when I hear my brain saying "stupid," I cancel it immediately and say, "Nope. NOT stupid. Human. No big deal." Yes, I still hear "stupid" sometimes, but not as often and not as loud. The key for me has been to repeat the new message every single time the old, bad one pops into my brain.
    Maybe this blog post will help too:

    1. Thanks, Sandra. Very helpful. I appreciate your response and the time you took to respond.

  2. I agree with Sandra. I still deal with issues of being the only kid with glasses in school and enduring teasing due to my looks and my 'let's NOT follow the crowd' mentality, which unfortunately got me even MORE teased. In the 6th grade, however, the following phrase ended up in our curriculum for a week: "I Am Lovable And Capable". We had to wear a small piece of paper with 'IALAC' pinned to our shirts for a week, and every time we had a negative thought or did something wrong, we had to rip off a piece of the sign, the size of it being totally up to us as to how 'bad' we perceived it. If we did something good, or somehow counteracted the bad thought, we could tape it back on. It was interesting to see what everyone's signs looked like at the end of the two days, and it taught me a valuable lesson. I AM a good person, no matter what others think of me, and even though that class was nearly 40 years ago, I still remember it.

    1. That was an awesome lesson, Molly. Things like that impact our lives forever. Thanks so much for taking the time to share. :)

  3. The thing that gets me most is when I get wrongfully accused or get criticized for something simple that had no wrongful intention. It is like being emotionally slapped out of the blue. It happened today for the first time in a long time, and I tried to really think it through-- how it started way back in childhood and what it is trying to teach me-- amid the emotions of course. My first reaction is that I have done something wrong and am inept. Then I get mad and want to cut the person from my life, not hurt them but a cold, clean cut. My strong reaction is much more heated than the trigger. So yes, we are all works in progress and can always use reminders. Thanks so much for the post.

    1. Flossie, I know just what you are saying! That sort of thing really cuts me deep, as well. Sorry that happened to you because you are the most wonderful person I know. Hang in there.


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