Publisher - November 2023
“A negative mind will never give you a positive life.”
— Ziad K. Abdelnour
Recently, with a room full of executive women, one of the topics I touched on was negative self-talk. This was a powerful group—women who have climbed the corporate ladder and broken glass ceilings—and yet almost all of them raised their hands when I asked if they had thought something negative about themselves that morning prior to arriving at the conference.
What does this tell us? If the cream of the crop is still beating themselves up, aren’t we all? As the keynote speaker that day, which meant I had something to say they wanted to hear, I also had negative thoughts about myself prior to taking the stage.
Ladies, what are we doing to ourselves? Putting ourselves down is toxic; the negative mind chatter has got to stop.
Negative self-talk is your hateful inner critic running it’s ugly mouth and telling you lies. And just who is your inner critic? Well, it’s a group of losers who love to bully you. The gang consists of fear, doubt, self-consciousness, and indecision. However, as the master of deceit and trickery, fear is their cowardly leader—it’s afraid of everything.
The good news is if anyone can outsmart these emotional thugs and put them in their place, it’s you. After all, you are technically in charge of these ne’er-do-wells, even if it doesn’t feel like it. In order to begin to get them under control, first you have to get real with yourself. What is the dialogue running through your brain? Is there a pattern or a constant repeat? Can you think of the basis of where these thoughts may stem from?
Here’s an example: Say every time you look in the mirror, all you see is your double chin, and negative thoughts run through your mind while looking at yourself. Thoughts like “I’m so fat.” and “I look terrible.” Or “My fat chin is hideous.” These things are hard to even type because they’re so cruel. Think about how cruel you are being to yourself when thoughts like this press into your psyche—they leave an indelible mark. You would never say this stuff to a friend or to your daughter. It would leave them in tears, broken, and believing they are hideously ugly—forever.
Unfortunately, we allow thoughts like this to penetrate our own minds over and over again, and eventually, we come to accept it as truth. But it’s not true! Granted, the double chin may be real, but the hideous monster your emotional thugs have made it is not. It’s amazing how people usually don’t even see what you dwell on because they are enthralled with the numerous wonderful things they see shining through you.
We have to stand up for ourselves against the bullies in our heads. Even fleeting thoughts are dangerous because when they are played on repeat, they can become an imprisoned reality.
No worries. You can beat the bullies. You just have to get out your toolbox and be determined and intentional.
At the conference, I asked everyone to take three seconds and think one good thought about themselves. Perhaps you can do the same right now. See, that wasn’t hard at all. There is that one good thing about you and many more. You just have to decide to lose touch with your inner critic and get in touch with your inner goddess. Here are a few tips for the journey:
Never engage in conversation with your inner critic: Trying to reason with fear or doubt is useless. You will never win. The only way to beat these bullies is cold turkey. Just tell them, “No!” They’re not welcome here anymore!
Beat them to the punch:
Wake up ready. Have positive mantras ready as soon as you open your eyes—even if it’s only one thing. Write your mantras down if you need to and intentionally start running these positive thoughts through your mind. Guess what? There will be no room for the negatives. Light always overcomes the darkness. Remember, it takes the same amount of energy and time to be positive, as it does to be negative, except one pulls you down and the other lifts you up. It's up to you.
Be gentle with yourself:
If you’re having a day where the bullies are having their way with you, take a few breaths and state out loud: “Today, I will be gentle with myself.” Then make sure you actually are! What does being gentle look like? It’s different for everyone, but for me it is slowing down, asking for help, taking a few things off the day’s to-do list. It may also include taking time for a devotional and prayer, savoring my morning coffee longer than usual, walking in the yard and cutting a few flower blossoms for the kitchen, or perhaps taking an extra-long shower. These things remind you that you are special, and you, as much as anyone, deserve your own love and affection.
Be thankful for your good qualities and allow them to shine:
Lastly, make a list. Earlier, it took you three seconds to come up with something good about yourself. So, now take 15 minutes to reconnect with your awesomeness, and write down lots of good things about yourself on an index card. Take this card with you everywhere you go. It is your ammunition against negativity until you have culled all your negative thoughts out.
During the month of November, we all zero in on gratefulness. This year I want you to be grateful for who you are more than anything else. You are so much more than a double chin, or a dead-end job, or a burnt turkey, or a bad hair day, or whatever it is that you tell yourself to make sure you forget you are fabulous.
How cool is it that the same God who created mountains and oceans and galaxies looked at you and thought the world needed one of you, too? Have you ever thought of that?
Now that’s something to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!