Its about the brutal negative self-talk that keeps us locked up in our own limitations. Shit is about to get real so buckle up and put down the judgement cards.
For the longest time (okay, most of my life...), I had no idea that the tape I had playing inside my head was toxic and that I had control over it, that it was a CHOICE I was making every day to completely berate and belittle myself, chipping away at any of the self-love, courage and confidence I had. About 5 years ago I started doing hynotherapy and I actually began to hear the tape playing for the first time. The hate and disgust I had for myself was overwhelming and I was shocked to 1.) hear it; 2.) grasp the fact that it had been playing for so long without me realizing it; and worst of all, 3.) that I believed it. I had completely internalized the tape and convinced myself that it was my Truth.
Self-talk can be a super useful tool - we can use it to pump ourselves up before a big game, a deadline, exam or some daring adventure that is about to start. And yet, in the opposite corner, sits this negative self-talk that bars us from reaching our highest potential. It blocks us from loving fully, from living our biggest dreams, and from being truly who we are meant to be. Since I started taking the time to mindfully, and without judgement, listen to the bullshit tape I had on repeat, my whole life changed. But you can't just get rid of a bad habit - you have to replace it. I focused on three things: hearing it, stopping it dead in its track, then pushing play on new, positive self-talk. I had to counter the years of self-abuse and start a new story full of love, abundance, respect, beauty and possibility.
So, let's get real. What tape you got going on in YOUR head?
As with everything else I teach - it all starts with awareness. We cannot change habits until we are aware of them. So...
What are the common negative phrases you say to yourself? Are you aware of them? Is there a time of day where the tape is on auto-play or turned all the way up? Be super, brutally honest and listen to the tape. And copy it down. Next, imagine yourself sitting down with the person in your life that you hold dearest to your heart: a BFF, lover, family member. You're sitting in your favorite together-place - a couch, a coffee shop, on a beach walk or mountain hike. Now, imagine yourself turning to this most beloved person, looking them straight in the eye and saying all of those things that you say to yourself to that person. Say it like you say it to yourself. How is that person reacting? Did they turn and leave you there, alone? Could you see the hurt in their eyes? Could you feel their heart breaking? And, let's be real, would you ever really say those things to that person? Would you ever say to them that they are disgusting or a loser or a failure that can't get anything right? HELL NO you wouldn't. Why? Because you love them and you don't do that to people you love. So, why do you do it to yourself, the one you should love the most, the one that never leaves no matter what?
Think deeply about the youth you serve and all the potential tapes that are playing inside their young minds. What can you do to help them recognize that their tapes are false, that they need to push stop, and play a new one? One that paints a picture of infinite possiblilties and greatness - no matter where they come from, their circumstances, or their status. They are the only ones who can control what they say to themselves. This is mission critical and I beg of you, PLEASE help them tap into the power of positive self-talk. Be a model for them. Maybe craft a mantra together, something they can use to replace the bad talk. Play with it and make sure it connects deeply to the individual. Maybe even post it in your classroom or office wall. Here's an example to get those creative juices flowin':
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff has an awesome story in it about the Ugly Duckling. Check it out. The whole book is dope.
You could also do this Wellness Activity from At the Well. I do something similiar in some of my VIBE High Mindfulness Mini-Retreats. Its a pretty cool process to start changing the way we love ourselves.