You know that voice in your head? The one that incessantly speaks to you every minute of every day. The one that narrates the world attempting to make sense of it. You might ask yourself “what voice in the head?” That one.
We all have messages, or tapes that play in our minds –some are positive, lift us up and make our spirits soar, while others are negative and tear us down. You’re too fat, you’re too short, you’re too tall, you’re not smart enough, you’re too slow, and you are never going to amount to anything are some of these negative messages.
Although many of these messages were recorded during our childhoods, if we are not aware of them, they can affect us well into adult-hood. They can dictate everything from how we respond to criticism and compliments to how we feel about ourselves, to how we interact with our friends, colleagues and partners.
Is it possible to overcome the old, negative messages and replace them with empowering ones? Yes, and here are three good ways to start:
Consistently love yourself
Think about the last love that you had. At the beginning of your relationship, you and your partner probably devoted a lot of time, attention and affection to each other, right? You felt passionate and swept away by the inner and outer beauty of your partner and he/she probably felt the same about you.
One of the best ways to combat negative messages is to enter into a similar process with yourself. This might sound odd because society has taught us to give to others, at the expense of ourselves; however, we also need to give to ourselves in loving and generous ways.
Treat yourself like royalty! Do things that make you feel happy. Hug yourself. Say nice things to yourself. Get yourself nice things and spend quality time with yourself simply because YOU enjoy YOU.
Challenge your existing beliefs
Go on a mini self excursion to discover the beliefs that keep your negative messages playing. Give yourself prompts or questions like: “My earliest memory of feeling stupid was . . .” “My mother always made me feel . . .” “My father always treated me like . . .” and so on. Write your discoveries down in a journal.
The idea here is to think back to an earlier time in your life to discover when and where your limiting beliefs got started, and to challenge them. Ask yourself if they are still true, or how about if they were ever true? Then decide what you WANT to be true, and replace your old beliefs with your new ones.
Focus on what’s right in your life
Focus on all those things in your life that you are grateful for. Praise and encourage yourself when you accomplish something. Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. Say things like, “I’m really proud of myself for doing that”, and “it wasn’t easy, but I pushed through the rough spots and gave it my best shot”.
You can also make a point of giving yourself positive self-talk by repeating affirmations like “I am a valuable person”. “I have a lot to offer the world”, and “I’m talented and successful”.
With practice and discipline, you can stop pressing play on those negative tapes.