Stop Bullying Yourself and be your best cheerleader so you can better align with your goals.
We can be so tough on ourselves, can’t we? We do something well, and others praise us, but we end up saying to ourselves “ I could have done better” “it’s not good enough.” We feel sad, frustrated and beat ourselves up, not enjoying and feeling proud of our accomplishment. And that’s when things are going well! What about when things are not going your way in life? I shudder to think about that inner dialogue!
So what’s going on? You inner commentator is seemingly no cheerleader and is super negative. It’s a wet blanket on anything you do or try to accomplish. Why is this? As with pretty much anything you do, it’s actually all there to help you survive. I’m sure that seems strange but let me explain how this works. As we are pleasure-seeking animals, we will always create our world to go for what we want. We will always make the best choice we can.
You can witness this with children, who are very obvious and clear with their wants. If it suits them, then they comply or are even enthusiastic with what you want. If it doesn’t suit them, or it scares them, then one needs to offer great powers of persuasion (treats and cajoling for positive reinforcement or yelling and removing toys for negative reinforcement) to get them to do what you ask. No matter what, they are always operating on getting what they want: to be happy, safe and to survive their surroundings in the best way possible.
Multiple times a day, we make decisions for our best possible survival, starting from the very first moment we wake up. And if our decisions worked, then we keep that program installed until a better option comes along. As an example: If I ask nicely, I get a cookie. If I don’t and I stomp off, then I don’t get the cookie and I’m bummed because I really want that cookie. How would you act if you wanted the cookie? Or approval from your parents, or that A in class, or that job, or raise, or not get hurt or harmed in some way. We think and behave accordingly to get what we want.
But we don’t ever consciously go over all our choices and behaviors and beliefs and update them to our older wiser selves. So what happens? The old stuff remains in place and we keep using them for current situations (yes, even many many years later).
So, how does this relate to our inner bullying? When we are tough on ourselves, what good thing comes to us when we do it? We never do something where there is no payoff. Look for the payoff, the golden ticket that makes you light up. Actually, look back in time to the first payoff, because that is where it all started. Think back onto all the tough words we heard growing up, and how it made us feel.
It was no doubt often used to make you stronger (survival skill!), or it came from an impatient or unkind caregiver but that doesn’t matter. What matters is what you came away with; that you felt horrible and small and powerless or even something else. You know how it made you feel. And THOSE feelings felt horrible. How did you choose to solve that problem? Perhaps in a nanosecond, you said to yourself, “I don’t ever want to feel that way again when someone yells at me, so I’ll yell at myself so they don’t have to. If I have to hear it from someone, it feels better coming from me.”
Or maybe there was a choice made like this, “That tough talk worked for my parents and they are successful, and I want to be successful in just those ways, too!” And thus a choice was born for tough talk to get you to the same rungs of success.
Or those words you heard so often in your life from so many places, what other words could there possibly be? And their words just absorbed into your world, as a second skin and you never knew there could be another way. Those choices simply weren’t an option for your survival.
So, there you are, now constantly beating yourself up and you for some reason, are not getting the more out of life that you now want. You are stuck, wanting to experience something different, something better, but your inner dialogue you can’t seem to shut off. One very important thing needs to happen here for things to change:
"You need to understand and believe that another choice is possible. If you do that, then you can choose a new better option."
Do you believe that now you can change those voices or leave them entirely? If so, then please read on. Let’s ask some questions to get to the bottom of how you got yourself here and in such a state, so we can now have you experience a new future. Let’s start off with what you would instead like to experience.
If you could behave/think/feel in any way you wanted in regards to inner self-talk, what would that be like? Picture yourself in the near future having a happier experience and having a better cheerleader in your head.
How would you like to talk to yourself?
What good would come out of it if you did?
What would you get of value when you talk more positively to yourself?
How would your experience shift if you did?
Great! Now we have your desired state kind of figured out a bit, let’s find out what stops you from talking positively to yourself and being your own best cheerleader.
What would you LOSE OF VALUE if you did talk positively to yourself?
Who or what would be negatively affected if you did talk positively to yourself?
Finding the Root Experience (Imprint)
How long has this dialogue/feeling been here, part of your dialogue?
You may think “Forever” or you may think 10 years. Here’s an exercise to help you pinpoint where it began. Imagine growing yourself younger and younger and get a sense of when it started. If you still have the same feelings/words keep going back until it’s not there anymore. Even if you were 3 months in the womb or even before you were born, it’s ok! Go with it. Trust your impressions. The ultimate location is not the focus, but the decisions you came away with is.
What were the circumstances surrounding this imprint? What was happening? Who was involved?
What thoughts, feelings, beliefs or decisions did you come away with from that imprint?
Be honest with yourself and as thorough as possible. No one will know. If it helps, write this down for you to be able to see on paper.
As you now know, we always make the best choice we can at any given time, but now that we are older and wiser, we can make new and better choices in behavior and thinking and feelings that are more suitable to our lives now. And what a relief and what freedom! Let’s do it.
Acknowledge all those decisions that younger you made to get you to here and now. Without that little person, you wouldn’t be here in all the ways you are. If you are not feeling very positive about it, at the very least: “You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes!” said Dr. Seuss, which is more than some people would say. And that’s pretty amazing, given where you could have ended up. But you didn’t! You have done such an amazing job. It’s been tough but here you are. Seriously, be proud of yourself.
Acknowledging those decisions is really important for your growth, even if we do want to update. Now, imagine breathing into that little one all that love and acknowledgement until that feeling crescendos and then come back here to the present.
Now, what else do you want that little one to know? Bring them all back with you and breathe into that little one. When you do, grow that one up through the same experiences, but now with these new resources… into the you sitting here and now. Do this a few times. If it feels like a resource is glitched, then flush it out until it feels clean, and good and positive for you. Bring it back and grow yourself forward.
Talk with all those parts of you who were doing the “cheerleading” and tell them thank you, and now we will be using different words and phrases. Give them all the positive phrases you like and say, “Let’s do this!” When you feel they are all together on the newly revised plan, the sit back and relax. Your work is done.
If you need further assistance with this, I am here to help you! Give me a call or set up an appointment at livingyourawesome.com/