I saw this post on social media recently and it’s wonderful advice. What struck me the most out of these twelve steps, all valuable was number 5 – this has been the cornerstone of my work for so many years.
5. NEVER speak bad about yourself
Sadly I hear so many people, women, men, children, make off-hand comments that may seem unimportant and self-berating, even for comic value…’oh I’m stupid’….’you idiot why did you do that’…’ now I’m just fat and greedy’…..blah, blah…but this self talk has a HUGE impact on your life. It’s not just what the voice says that directs us so much, it’s how we respond to it – or not!
We can ignore anything it says, and many of us say this self negative stuff so often that it becomes ‘normal’ and insignificant. It also leads to an undercurrent of self loathing which leads to unhealthy practices, creating a cycle of habits that are keeping us trapped in a unhealthy body and mind.
If someone told you to go into a shop and grab the most expensive item you can carry and run out with it shouting “I am not paying for this”, you would simply ignore the voice! You know that’s not a wise thing to do. Yet you created it. It’s the same voice that tells you any number of negative things. So how can you make it say things that make no sense? The reality is that it can say anything you want it to.
I have mentioned our ‘internal voice’ many times throughout my work. Your internal dialogue, above all else, influences what you do. Over the years I have researched the best teachers so that I always bring you the very best of the best information available and for me when it comes to the concept of internal voice, the person who best explains it is Michael A. Singer whose beautiful book, The Untethered Soul (which works even better when listened to as an audio book), elegantly takes you through the process of what it is and how to change it.
So, you KNOW that your thoughts are incredibly powerful things. You have been walking around with this loaded gun full of negative rubber bullets – probably firing at yourself more than anyone else.
Negative self-talk doesn’t just stay in your mind, it often leads to actions you might sometimes regret, particularly when it comes to eating things that you know have a negative impact on you, treating your body badly, overeating, drinking etc.
I have news – you do not have to do what your internal voice tells you to do! You do not have to believe what it says. It’s just a voice; it is not you. When you hear it say ‘oh you’ll never have any willpower so have the cake’ you can take a second (slow thinking) and use the new awareness you have made to present you with a different option so that you understand how the voice is coming from past repetition and creating the illusion that some other entity (will power!) has control of the situation and that you have no control and are somehow weak and bad…..If I teach you to change the internal voice to, ‘ Oh here we are again, I see you negativity, I recognise you….eat the cake and I am going to feel fat and feel uncomfortable!’ that is when things change…
As adults, we have the ability to label things ourselves. However, we are hugely influenced by how we were ‘trained’ or programmed by parents, teachers and peers. Sadly, in many households, one of the first words a child learns is ‘biscuit’ and the child associates that sound and subsequently taste, with instant reward.
If you want to change that as an adult, you have to change the association. One of the key ways to do that is by changing your language. If you say to yourself “that looks delicious but I am being really good and not having it” it doesn’t take away the desire for the food; in fact it increases it. That kind of approach will be very short lived. Anyone can do that when the going is good and life is running along smoothly, but when the going is tough or stressful and the brain wants instant gratification or reward, that goes out of the window and the strong association between the food and the sensation of reward wins out.
One of the key factors when re-scripting your internal dialogue is to be totally honest with everything you say but also be KIND. This is by no means as easy as it sounds! Some of the things you have been saying to yourself were established years ago and these programmes have been running along quite happily creating deep neurological maps and are not ready to give up their neurological real estate position without a fight. These maps literally fight for their space in your brain. When you try and stop a behaviour, they send signals out (via internal dialogue) literally telling you to do the thing you are trying to stop doing.
That’s when we literally hear the incongruence in our own heads.
“Go on have it – you know you want to”
“No, No, I am being good!”
“Oh, don’t worry about that – you always fail anyhow, so you may as well give in”
As soon as you hear your narrator tell you it is hopeless (YOU are hopeless) and it will make you feel good, then chances are it’s game over.
Imagine if you heard instead…
“Go on have it – you know you want to”
“No – this contains poison and if I have it I will die a slow painful death” and you accompanied this with a visualisation of it being infected, then your unconscious mind would take over as its key job is to keep you alive, and would not allow you to eat it.
Thee are two steps to this process. The negative self-talk is the instigator. All negative self-talk does is steal. It steals your attention away from the present moment meaning you cannot focus on the good things when your mind is clouded by the negativity. The comes the power of association.
Once you have started with a negative statement – having a negative association is going to be multiple times stronger! Negative talk, even said casually or in jest, can also have a physical impact on your body, causing stress levels to rise, causing hormone changes that have an impact on physiology.
I never like to miss an opportunity to remind you:
Be careful what you say – you are listening
How you have been programmed in the past may not have been down to you, but now it is 100% your responsibility to change how you speak to yourself and speak the truth. Be aware and recognise the thoughts that do not serve you.
If you hear yourself say “go on – you know you want to, it will make you feel better” just remember the worst most painful thing about being overweight or having poor health. That’s what this biscuit is promising you. Is that what you deserve – is that really a treat? Feeling like crap when you look in the mirror and poor health? Doesn’t sound much like a treat when you say it like that does it? I’m pretty sure what you deserve is to look and feel totally happy in a healthy body full of vitality. We all deserve that. So, remember when you hear ‘the voice’ telling you to have a biscuit/cake/pizza/cigarette and that you are a failure/weak/always destined to be fat etc. BE HONEST, will it deliver on the promise of making you feel better 30 seconds after you’ve eaten it when it’s already too late? Will it change the negative internal dialogue or just REINFORCE it and give you justification of all that negativity???
Do you see the pattern? This is how it works.
We all have habits or behaviours that if we changed the dialogue, would change the habit. If you could change one habit, what would you change?
Habit to change______________________________________________________________
What would you need to hear your voice say that would change how you think feel – and ultimately behave?
Remember, you MUST attach emotion to the dialogue for it to change your neurology so make sure the new behaviour moves you away from pain and towards pleasure. Away from negativity and towards positivity.
Watch my quick video on how to change your inner dialogue to support your goals:
If you want to learn all of this and much more – my new programme Placebo Diet at Home Retreat’ is the ultimate mind &body programme with personal coaching from me, all in the comfort of your home. You will get RESULTS on many different levels that can change your life – for good.