We all have “voices” we hear that tell us many different things about our lives. That pulls you away from your true soul. These voices range from who we supposedly are to how we should feel and what we should believe about ourselves and the world.
The voices or negative self talk have done a lot of damage to a lot of people, both consciously and subconsciously.
Fallout from negative self talk is typically manifested in toxic behaviors. Those are often self-sabotaging. I don’t think I need to define self sabotage. All of us probably know what that looks like for us.
We choose those behaviors to match the voices that we believe are true and our own. That is how negative self-talk is created.
Think about the voices you hear on a daily basis within your own mind.
What are they telling you? Do you listen? If so, how does that affect your life? Do you base your life decisions on what those voices are telling you?
If so, has that ever gone well for you? What have the results been when you’ve listened the negative self talk?
Complacency sets in when we listen to those voices of our negative self talk. They get stronger and stronger.
Finding Your True Soul
Confusion takes place within our minds, which diverts us from our true soul identity.
In order to move towards our true soul identity and away from those voices, we have to explore from where those voices came. Exploring the root of negative self talk is the hard part!
The voices of our negative self talk are an incredibly difficult obstacle many people face. I’m sure you can relate to the loudest “voice” of your negative self talk.
Almost every client I work with has needed guidance in navigating this. Sadly, it can be life-long work, but, at the same time, it gets so much better as we continue to do our healing work.
Now, if you are completely and utterly confused at what I am talking about, then try the steps below to navigate your negative self talk.
This exercise can help you decrease and possibly eliminate some of your negative self talk.
10 Steps to Eliminate Negative Self Talk
- Write a list of all of the messages you hear from these voices on small scraps of paper. Each message gets its own piece of paper. Some common messages are that you shouldn’t boast about your accomplishments, you should never show weakness, you should always dress your best any time you’re in public, you should just be thankful for what you have and think about all those less fortunate, what “role” a man or woman should portray, etc. It is normal and ok to have both positive and negative messages here.
2. Identify the different people or “places” in which your voices came from. Examples of these are often family, society, religion, media, etc.
3. Take the number of people or “places” you came up with in the step above. Write each category on the top of separate pages.
4. Now, take all of the papers with the messages from Step 1 and place them under the category where they belong based on where you heard that message. For example, “you should just be thankful for what you have and think about all those less fortunate.” Determine what category it belongs in. That particular message might fall under family, religion and society. There are often multiple categories for one message you heard. Just write that same message as many times as needed to make sure it goes under each applicable category.
5. This step is really important. Take a break from looking at the categories and messages. Go practice some loving self-care for a bit before returning to this exercise.
6. After your self-care time, look at all of your messages and the categories in which they fall. Allow yourself to contemplate each message to determine if that message truly fits for you and is in alignment to your heart and soul. If so, make a new category called My True Soul Identity. Place that message under your new category. Please know that it is ABSOLUTELY fine you if believe or like some of the messages. Just because that voice came from elsewhere, does not mean that it can’t benefit you.
7. Once you have assigned all of your messages to their appropriate categories, take a picture of them. This is helpful to have when you hear one of those voices and you need to see what category or categories it might fall under.
8. Take your “My True Soul Identity” category and all of the messages that fall into it. Allow yourself to contemplate those as you are welcoming what you can now recognize as Your Own Voice without the negative chatter of those voices you’ve heard for years!
9. Journal on your new voice and add to that list as often as you choose.
10. Say hello to your new voice as you begin returning to the beautiful, loving soul that life muddled.
Now, this doesn’t “cure” the voices forever. What it can do is allow you to gain a better understanding of your negative self talk.
With that, you can continue to learn more about your true soul identity.
Negative Self Talk Examples and Healing from Those
As I mentioned earlier, this can be life-long work. Why is that?
Well, think about how old you are. Whatever that number is equals the number of years during which your mind was wrongly trained to hear and believe those voices of negative self talk.
I tell everybody with whom I work on this, it will not take the same number of years you heard the voices of negative self talk to heal.
However, it will not happen overnight by any means. I encourage you to continually refer back to what you created in this exercise. Listen to your negative self talk in a new way. You will begin training your mind to identify where the voices of your negative self talk came from and whether or not they are just voices or your true soul identity. The more you do this work, the more quickly you will begin to recognize and identify those voices. It can become like second nature the more you do it.
Unfortunately, there will be new and more voices that pop up throughout your life. Hopefully, you can continue using this exercise to move through those voices to return to the true soul identity that life tends to steer us away from, often on a daily basis. If it seems daunting, think about the value of decreasing your negative self-talk you hear daily. Is the work worth that?
Mary Beth Fox’s Examples of Negative Self Talk
Now, you might be wondering how this can actually play out after you complete this exercise. For me, it was a struggle with a lot of cultural and family voices. The culture in which I was raised is white people in the Deep South. Some of the biggest voices I heard were about how I was supposed to behave as a lady.
If you know me, you know I am rolling my eyes just typing the end of that sentence. I was a huge “tomboy” when I was little. That was definitely frowned upon in my culture. What I was “supposed” to be was a proper young lady. Everything that went with that label was the exact opposite of my personality. I was the first girl in third grade to wear tennis shoes when we were supposed to wear white Keds or “girlie” shoes.
During recess, I played sports with the boys while the girls sat to the side playing “Beauty Shop.” The assistant teacher informed me that my eyelashes were too long to be such a tomboy and playing with the boys. So, what did I do in response to this?
I went home and cut my eyelashes as short as I could. The next day, I went up to that assistant teacher, blinked my eyes at her, and told her, “now, I can play with the boys because my eyelashes aren’t long anymore.” Yes, I sure did. I cut my eyelashes to reflect the voice I heard. I sure am thankful that my eyelashes grew back!
As I mentioned, I heard these messages from many different people and places throughout my childhood. I tried really hard to be the proper little girl whom I was “supposed” to be. That often didn’t work well.
I remember my mom talking to the mother of a boy in my class when I was little. They were introducing themselves. His mother informed my mom that John just loved little Mary Beth. The reason that he loved Mary Beth was that she was the best burper in the whole grade!
Needless to say, my mom was not impressed. My reaction, however, was pride that John thought I was better at burping than anybody else!
Long-Term Effects of Negative Self Talk
So, how did this grow to affect me more and more as I got older, both consciously and subconsciously? Oh, how I could go on and on with this topic! I’ll try to keep it brief to illustrate what the healing side of these voices looks like.
The older I got, the more I thought the real me was wrong in every way. I was spunky and liked to do things my own way. The voices grew louder and louder as my depression grew deeper and deeper. Somehow, I created the exercise above for myself to re-discover my true soul identity.
After years of exhausting work on myself, I can almost immediately recognize, categorize and release those voices that do not serve me. I’m a visual and kinesthetic learner. Fred Flintstone is who helped me out with this. Yes, I mean the yaba-daba-do Fred Flintstone.
If you were alive during the Flintsones days, you may remember Fred having an angel and a devil on his shoulders. That is exactly what I used and still use to this day when those negative voices pop up. I tap my shoulder on one side and tell that little asshole to shut the hell up because that is NOT my voice. Then, I tap my other shoulder until the voice of my true soul identity returns. Obviously, this might not work for you, but I really encourage you to find your own way to create something like this.
The most important thing to remember when doing this kind of work is to be kind and compassionate with yourself. You WILL screw up. You WILL listen to those voices and confuse them as your own. It’s so hard to re-program your brain with things that have been so ingrained, but don’t give up. As I said, I still work on this myself. The good news is that, as you work on healing negative self-talk more, it becomes much easier to ignore those voices and return to the voice of your true soul identity!
Are you curious as to where your negative self talk came from? Click here to learn more about The Creation of Negative Self-Talk.
“Reach deep within, and reconnect with the essence of your being.” Bryant McGill
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