I don’t know about you, but I have an inner dialogue that pretty much chatters 24/7/365.
My mind is rarely quiet. In fact, there are diatribes, novels, essays, theses and editorials swimming around along with my creative ideas and grand dreams.
I had to learn to change my inner dialogue. The conversations I listened to and heeded at the time were not always from a state of consciousness; instead, they came from indwelling fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, and depression.
Often, we learn these stories and thoughts in childhood. Alternatively, we can learn these while in abusive relationships and in times of duress and anxiety. We fail to remember our true nature.
“I’m not good enough.”
“I’m not worthy.”
“He/she is right, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“I am a failure.”
“I am weak.”
“I’m not pretty/handsome enough.”
And here is the kicker – the constant litany of negative self-talk creates a vicious cycle. Our less-than-positive conversations cause us to feel anxiety or depression. The anxiety or depression or anger causes us to re-feed our mind with the negative narrative. It’s a downward spiral.
To put it simply, your inner conversation is your ego having a conversation with yourself. (Click to Tweet) And when you are in survival mode, that is when your ego is in full swing.
Let’s face it – our egos love a good drama or two! It’s all about fight or flight. Oh yeah, mental fisticuffs! Now, that’s all good and well when one is truly in a dangerous situation. But when someone is stuck in fight or flight mode for weeks, months, even decades, not only does the physical health suffer, but so does the mental/emotional health.
How can we work to change our inner dialogue?
1. It takes awareness. We must be in the present. We have to pay attention to our thoughts on a consistent basis. Truly, I was surprised when I started this practice of being present and actually HEARD myself! The first day I practiced conscious attention, I was SHOCKED at my language. No wonder I felt unworthy, less-than, and downright terrified of being seen. It felt like a non-stop 24-hour reel that looped with the same tired, old, negative, self-abusive phrases.
Conscious presence does take some practice, and it will take some time…especially for someone who hasn’t exercised the “presence” muscle before.
2. Once you have noticed your thoughts, change them! I have often caught myself thinking something negative and would have to immediately tell myself, “Stop, rewind, cancel.” Then I replace the negative talk with something positive.
For example, a common phrase that I’d say to myself was “that was SO stupid!.” Now, I know I’m not stupid, but the was something that was ingrained in me for decades, either verbally or emotionally. But, as soon as I NOTICED that I said it, I’d replace it with, “Wow, that was a great learning experience!” or “Gee, that was an interesting idea/action.”
Once concept that has helped me is to remain curious. For example, “I wonder what the outcome of this will be if I think/feel that?” Or, “How can I turn this negative sentence into a positive one?”
3. Affirmations. If you are a fan of affirmations, you’ll love this step! This is simply a practice of using positive affirmations on a daily basis. They will increase your positive feelings and lift your energy. They don’t need to be lengthy or philosophical in nature. Just get into the habit of creating a positive inner language.
If you wish, you can write down affirmations that feel right to you. If you want to take it a step further, you can record yourself reciting positive affirmations and replay several times throughout the day.
Sometimes, I’ll go to YouTube and turn on affirmations and meditations to fall asleep to. One of my favorites is “I AM Affirmations by Hakim.” (Please show him some love by clicking on the link!)
4. Remember who you truly are. This is paramount, especially when it comes to healing. YOU are a Divine Being. YOU are the one who, through your language, thoughts, and feelings, can create or re-create the life you dream of. It all starts from within.
It’s not difficult to re-write our internal dialogue, but it does take practice, perseverance, and patience. Most of all, we get to practice being wholly present with ourselves.
Watch what happens when you start speaking a new language…you will be pleasantly surprised!