So what is the story you tell yourself?
We have between 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day. And research shows that 80% of these thoughts are negative.
I’ve learned that each negative thought I have has the potential to turn into a repeating script…a story I tell myself.
With each negative story we tell ourselves, we are essentially saying ‘no’ to ourselves.
And saying no to ourselves means we limit who we are. It also means we end up disappointed in ourselves and in our most important relationships. Because the inner critic…the one who narrates your story…loves to undermine your value and misrepresent your true worth.
There are two helpful ways that can help you tell your inner critic to take a hike.
Strategy 1: Know you have a story playing in your head
Being aware that you have active thoughts constantly going on in your mind is a huge first step.
According to the research it is clear that many of our stories tend to be negative. But by increasing our level of awareness of each negative story allows us to be able to recognize what that story is saying, and be able to disprove and dispel those unhelpful thoughts.
Strategy 2: Watch what words your inner critic uses
Once we listen in and acknowledge what our inner critic is telling us, we can begin to dispel and disprove those inner thought messages.
There are certain words that most inner critics LOVE to use. They are called ‘minimizers’ and ‘maximizers.’
Minimizers are words that tend to diminish achievements and undermine personal value. Words like ‘but’, as in, “I’d love to be able to do that but I can’t because I’m not smart enough.” Or ‘just’, as in, “I’m just a homemaker, accountant, administrator…” (fill in the blank).
Maximizers are words that overstate reality. Words like ‘always’, as in “I’ll always struggle with this problem.” Or ‘nobody’, as in, “Nobody else struggles with this issue as I do.”
Minimizers and maximizers are words that exaggerate current reality. They may feel true and real to us, and that is what gives these kinds of words traction. Because they FEEL true. But feeling true and objectively being true are two different things.
Increasing awareness of the negative stories playing in your head, and recognizing common words your inner critic uses are two huge strategies on your self-development journey.
Questioning how we talk to ourselves and telling ourselves kinder, more compassionate stories is a great place to start!