“Do you have any ideas on how to manage my self talk? I'm usually thinking it before I realize I'm doing it! How do I get it to shut up!
Peace in my head would be greatly appreciated!”
Hi and thanks for this really pertinent question. We all have voices in our head, that's one of the Hallmarks of being human. We are constantly talking to ourselves, figuring out what is going on around us. We are associative in our learning, and we are learning and creating all the time.
Each event or conversation or person or thing we witness, kicks off a chain reaction in our brains... we are attempting to “attach” it to something we know, and in that way, identify it, make it part of our “reality”. This is part of our process of identification.
The problem is, these early, associative memories, were formed when we were infants. Not very helpful now that you are an adult, and you know all about the boogey man, Santa Claus and “reality”. Reality is whatever you believe that it is. Your grown up brain is competing with a 3 year old's version; not real helpful.
Most of what is going on is fear and judgment. These ideas were formulated when you were figuring out the world. They are not truth, any more than the Tooth Fairy. Yet, while you are thinking them, they color your world in vivid shades.
So... how to get rid of them? There is good news and not so great news. First, the not so great news.
You can't. Not really. They are part of you; they formed the you sitting there right now and will not just disappear. The specific words can change, yes. But the voice in your head is your ticket to admission here. It is the voice of your ego.
The good news is, grown up you can put the words that are damaging in perspective. You can relegate them to a part of you that you aren't “doing” anymore. They were useful when you didn't know any better, not so much now.
The trick to all this is to notice them, before they have screwed up your moment. This will take practice and repetition and awareness of physical sensation.
Each of these voices is accompanied by a feeling. The feeling comes first, then the picture in your head and the words to explain what is happening. Catch it at the first sensation/feeling, and you can stop it cold.
So... here is a technique I've used with great success. When the feeling shows up, as soon as I am aware of it, I stop and visualize myself in the deep end of this pool of “not good”. I am usually a sorry state, and sitting someplace, sort of despondent. Nothing positive is being created at the time. Then, I visualize the powerful version of me, looking rather fantastic. She walks over to the despondent me and reaches down to hold her.
She looks her in the eyes and says: “I love you. We aren't doing this anymore.” Then, she hugs her until I am only aware of the powerful me. Despondent me has been absorbed.
The sensation you are looking to catch is usually one of heat, familiarity, anxiousness, worry, self judgment, self doubt, discomfort, disgust, self hate. It is never true that you are less than perfect. ANY thought that puts you in that category, is worth looking at, absorbing and moving through.
This “self talk” you'd like to shut up is merely a misinformed ego self, chattering about the world he or she is attempting to master. It is experimental. It no longer fits and can be silenced with acceptance, not anger. Each extreme negative part of your personality has a complimentary part that is equally extreme and powerfully effective. Look for that. It's there.
Patience with yourself is key. This will happen with love and persistence. Decide that feeling good is your only priority, and those voices will start to sing your praises, rather than insult you. Let them, encourage them and watch what happens!
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