Negative self talk sucks
One minute you think you know it all, only to be blindsided somehow. I'm meant for bigger and better things. Life just isn't fair. Plans fall apart, relationships change and some end - it can seem like things never stay the way we want them to. Why even try anymore? I'm screwed. I'll be happier when...
I have felt all of these things at some point or another in my life. Most, frequently.
I'm not special or unique in any way for having any of those thoughts. Those thoughts are simply representative of the fact that I'm a conscious human being in front of a laptop. It's just negative self talk. Negative self talk takes me out of the present moment and handicaps my happiness.
It's easy to get caught up and lost in feeling. An angry response to being cut off in traffic is a real thing. You can feel it, in the literal sense. But much of an angry response to such an event is more often wrapped up in taking the offense personally and usually assuming the worst of the other party.
This is simple, but important: Simply thinking or feeling something doesn't make it true.
Feelings are deeply personal (duh), and it's natural to be defensive when someone tells you that your feelings or your instincts are misleading you. It's natural to feel a sense of attachment to your deepest inner thoughts. I felt this way at first when my therapist pointed out my tendency to villainize people in some of my stories.
I was sabotaging myself. Rather than experiencing the situation I was in as a neutral situation with and endless slew of outcomes possible, I was waiting, expecting to be annoyed with someone the minute I saw them. No wonder that so-and-so customer was always soooooo annoying.
To allow myself to be annoyed with trivial interactions means harboring negative emotions and feeding an unhealthy chemical storm in my brain. If I can take a more empathic approach in the situation and, from a loving place, move past the expectation of annoyance, or personalization of the situation and simply experience a friendly human interaction for what it is, I'll be a happier and healthier person for it.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not impervious to annoyance by any means. But, those annoying situations have had a way of becoming easier to navigate when I remind myself that 99% of the time, the situation is neutral. The situation is triggering a reaction. It's just chemistry.
I no longer need to respond with the heightened stress and defensiveness that I grew accustomed to when I was picked on as a child. I used to think the world was a lot scarier than it needs to be. I used to avoid making eye contact and talking with people out of fear. I am working on lowering the defenses, but that's easier said than done. Call it a work in progress.
A major help has been cutting out the negative self talk. Just because it's in your head, it's not true. Negative self talk is entirely unnecessary and unhelpful, in fact, it does more harm than good. We all fall victim to it. It's just human nature. Some are convinced that in some way, this negative self image provides them drive to succeed. However, science has recently done a good job at proving that there are beneficial effects of positive self talk over negative self talk when it comes to improving performance. I honestly don't a specific reference in mind to share, but it's easy enough to do some light googling on the effects of self talk on athletes in sports psychology to learn more about this theory.
Here are some of the positive / grounding self talk phrases I've found helpful. These tend to come natural to me, yours might be different. They might not all be inherently positive statements, but they have a positive calming effect on me when I need to re-center and get out of my monkey brain.
Let your mind breathe.
Everybody feels fear.
Everybody feels pain.
The outside doesn't always match the inside.
State of mind is everything.
Know your mind.
Momentum builds, for better or for worse.
Love heals. Love strengthens. Let love win.