Seth Godin’s blog was exactly what I needed to read today.
It made it realize that I used to be completely unaware of when I was talking to myself.
I was deaf to my self talk, and blind to my tendency to speak in a negative voice.
“There’s no more important criticism than self-criticism,” says Seth.
I agree; I believe that since we know ourselves best, we’re the most qualified person there is to criticize our tendencies, qualities, actions and behaviors.
But self-criticism can be negative and positive, and both are important to monitor.
When our self-criticism isn’t pushing us towards greatness, action, growth or reflection — when it’s pushing us towards depression, hopelessness, self-doubt or fear — it becomes a serious impediment.
And the biggest problem with negative self talk is that we validate it almost immediately when we get consensus from an external force.
“negative self talk is hungry for external corroboration. One little voice in the ether that agrees with your internal critic is enough to put you in a tailspin,” said Seth.
It seems as though the second we hear our internal fears or put downs spoken aloud by someone we know, we view them as the absolute truth.
Why is it so hard for us to just view the person as a person, filled with their own world view, fears and insecurities?
Who is to say their perspective is right or true?
Why do we give the power to someone else when we know ourselves best?
As Seth wrote in the blog post, “The remedy for negative self talk, then, is not the search for unanimous praise from the outside world… The remedy is accurate and positive self talk. Endless amounts of it.”
The key is to learn how to shower ourselves with honest and positive self talk.
We need to learn how to speak to ourselves in a way that pushes us to follow our dreams, and say “fuck you” to our fears.
“merely the reassertion of obvious truths, a mantra that drives away the nonsense the lizard brain is selling as truth,” says Seth.
The key is to change the internal narrative — to recognize the lizard brain and refuse to reason with it.
“You cannot reason with negative self talk or somehow persuade it… All you can do is surround it with positive self talk, drown it out and overwhelm it with concrete building blocks of great work, the combination of expectation, obligation and possibility,” says Seth.
We have to believe in ourselves and our ability to quiet the negativity.
We have to shower ourselves with self praise and encouragement.
We have to pat ourselves on the back every single day for the work we’re doing.
Seth said it best: “When in doubt, tell yourself the truth.”