One of the most challenging aspects of creating a bigger life is confronting all the “nots” that lie buried within us. Often we are unaware of how many there are, how deeply buried and how much we let them affect our lives. Not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, not pretty/handsome enough, not talented enough – not, not, not. Compress the phrase and it is “not enough”.
Cultivating positive self talk
As a child or young adult it is helpful to have an adult who helps you understand and internalize both the obstacles and your successes to overcoming them. Positive self talk messages transform into a positive self-image and the belief of self-reliance and capability.
What happens though, if we reach this stage of our lives and have yet to find a means to put the not good enough demons to rest?
We start with noticing our negative self talk.
Like what? Start with mistakes, we all make them. “Listen” to the words of your internal dialogue. Do stupid, idiot, moron etc. come up and does it start with I am? Or perhaps a “you are” but also clearly self-directed?
Or what about an idea you have to create or do something new? Do the “not enoughs” come into your thoughts? That would be so fun but I am not – young enough, smart enough, good enough etc., etc.
Take a step back. Would you say these things to your child, your friend or your partner? Likely not. We couldn’t imagine being that cruel or unkind, but as for ourselves, we are fair game.
All these nots, negativity and decidedly unloving patterns of self talk keep us from creating a bigger life.
In order to start creating the life you truly want to live, we need to nurture self-love and self kindness. Here’s how to start.
1. Call out the not good enoughs and add in a yet to the end of your enough phrase – as in “not good enough yet”. We all start as beginners, expert status comes after practice and time.
2. End the cruel words. Period. If you wouldn’t use them on those you love, you had best not be using them on yourself. Once you start to notice them, you can end them. Prune them out of your vocabulary, they have no place there.
3. List your accomplishments; everything you can think of and especially those that fall under something you enjoy. Just because you enjoy something doesn’t decrease it’s importance, you can bet there are lots of people who don’t have that skill. For instance if you like to sew and you sewed your cousin’s wedding dress, that’s an accomplishment. Or, if you golf and set a goal to decrease your handicap and did it, that’s an accomplishment.
Nowhere are you to add in a but, or a just, or an except, nothing that turns the positive to a negative.
Think of it as internal spring cleaning. Clean up your self talk, clean up your thoughts and appreciate everything you are. I want you to own all the things that make you special, starting with your achievements. There truly is only one of you in the world, and we need everything that you bring.