Be More Gentle with Your Self Talk

Posted 07.08.2013

gentle-cycleDo you say things to yourself that you would never say to someone you care about? Most of us do from time to time. Some of us more than others.

We chastise ourselves when we don’t live up to our own expectations. We berate ourselves when we make a mistake. We kick ourselves when we forget something important.

That voice inside your head that’s saying all of that is often called the inner critic.  I prefer to call it the itty bitty sh***y committee. Whatever you call it, it’s important to not let it run amok.

Here’s why.

Our thoughts control our feelings. Our feelings lead to our actions. Our actions determine our results. If your thought monologue about your own performance is consistently negative, you’re going to end up feeling pretty bad about yourself. That’s likely to lead to sub optimal actions in the future and results that no one is happy with.

The pattern then repeats itself. You can break the pattern by talking to yourself as you would someone you love. One way to get started with that is to do what Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson suggested in their classic, The One Minute Manager – “Catch ’em doing something right.”

On this Mindful Monday, why not pay attention to the quality of your self talk?  If you observe that it’s mainly critical, stop and ask yourself, “What’s going right?”  Great, that’s one thing. What else is going right?  I’ll practically guarantee you there is more than one thing.  How can you build on what’s going right?

The big idea is that by being more gentle with your self talk, you’ll get better results. For more ideas on how to mindfully do that check out this post on Three Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic.

What’s your experience? What works for you on keeping your self talk productive instead of destructive?