I talk to myself – a lot. Must be an age thing. Or could it be a trait
of my astrological sign, Gemini, the twins? Since I’m like two people,
I’m allowed to converse with myself. (Or maybe I simply need therapy.
How about you? Do you have an internal conversation going on all day? If
so, are you always berating or picking on yourself for small mistakes?
Is your emotional wellness suffering because negativity thrives in your
What about at bedtime, when you should be relaxing, but instead,
you’re going over all the terrible mistakes you made during your day?
For many of us, the bad stuff starts to gnaw at us at night, when
we’re not filling up our time with activities. Our body is trying to
unwind, but our mind won’t let us do that.
Yep, we all hate bullies; yet we let our internal bully beat us up
without fighting back.
This type of internal bullying only leads to:
- Excessive worry
So, is your internal self-talk negative or positive? It may sound weird,
but you are what you think. As David James Lees points out: “Be
mindful of your self-talk, it’s a conversation with the Universe.”1
If you’re constantly being self-critical, life will reflect that
pessimistic outlook. On the other hand, clearing out these negative
thoughts can make a big difference in how you view the world and how the
world responds to you.
Could you imagine if we talked to our friends the way we talked to
ourselves? We'd lose friends at a fast pace if we were constantly
criticizing them. Yet we don't hesitate to talk harshly to ourselves
when we make mistakes or fail in some way.
Maybe we think that acting this way toward ourselves will keep us from
making the same mistakes. But in truth, chronic self-criticism just
leads to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.2
Why not choose to be kind to ourselves, instead? Kristen Neff, an
associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Texas
is a noted researcher in the area of self-compassion. In a 2014 study,
she defined the concept and how it can improve our emotional health.3
It’s about letting go of critical self-judgment and the desire to be
perfect. When we’re self-compassionate, we choose to support and
encourage ourselves. The first step? Changing our self-talk.
It took me a long time to fight back against that bully. I started
thinking about it several years ago, as I read Rhonda Byrne’s book,
The Secret.4 Thanks to that book, I learned how to pay attention to my
internal dialogue. My words weren’t pretty. I realized that I needed
to make some changes.
After I took that first step, I stuck to it. I worked really hard to
change those words. I chose self-compassion, rather than self-criticism.
Though it took a while to become someone who respected and loved myself,
it was worth the journey.
To age sanely, think about how you speak to yourself. The words you use
can change your life.
Excerpted from "The Art of Sane Aging for Women: Embrace the Journey" by Camille Goscicki. Copyright © 2018 by Camille Goscicki. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.