Can you believe it?
I was walking down the street the other day and a young couple were having a bit of a barney.
I have no idea what it was about, but I felt like I was watching a soap opera. The guy was saying things along the lines of.
“You always spoil things you are useless”
“Look at you – What a mess”
“Why did you say that? PATHETIC”
“As if you know what you are doing – I wouldn’t trust you as far as I could throw you.”
“You really are worthless”
“Do you actually have an opinion? It’s not worth anything anyway”
And the girl? No real emotion on her face – Sadness in her eyes but a resigned agreement in her body language and she carried on walking loyally. Accepting everything that was said with no retaliation just belief. It was the Truth.
It was her truth.
Blimey Charley, I thought to myself I wouldn’t put up with that.
Then I realised.
I Do – You Do -We Do!
Every single day
We put up with an internal dialogue just like that.
If I were to ask you for a list of all your good points you would probably take a breath, shuffle a tad uncomfortable and maybe struggle to get the list to ten.
If however I were to flip it. And ask for a list of your bad points or the things you do that are not so great, How long would the list be 20+ 40+ 50+ 100+?
You see from being a toddler and basking in the Ta Dah’s Somewhere along the journey the Ta Dah’s turn into No Don’t’s.
We start losing the encouragement. Restrictions and boundaries come into play along with rules and regulations. We have to listen to instructions that may be boring and unclear, then criticism joins the party.
That is when the fun starts as the criticism builds, confidence and self-esteem dwindle and deteriorate.
Negativity becomes our default.
Which isn’t surprising as rules are observed, the lesson’s learnt and the encouragement is not so pronounced as we mature. So negativity becomes our default. It doesn’t even have to stem from a bad childhood or work experiences.
It is just how we communicate with each other so it is no surprise that we use a negative dialogue internally.
I’m sure you have heard this many times. But do you actually apply it to yourself?
Have you ever looked in the mirror and self criticised your size, hair, clothes, complexion?
What about when you make a mistake have you rebuffed yourself? Even if you have made a real effort during a task or found something challenging – If the result wasn’t as expected did you reflect on your hard work or efforts or did you focus on the failure?
If you are having a conversation with yourself do you compliment yourself? Honestly? I work with many women who will tell me their faults too fat, too thin, spots, hair a mess, nails are bitten. Emotionally they get cross quickly they have no patience, they are stressed, the list can be endless – What about the positives? The positives need acknowledging if you don’t see your good points and verbalise them who will see them?
It can take time to flip the switch and begin to talk from the positive side.
It is a new dialogue you are learning a new way to think. A high percentage of your adult life and some portion or your childhood has a default of negativity and criticism. It may take time to get back to the inner toddler the one who celebrates and has pride in achievements, the one who looks on the brighter side of life and mostly sees the positive rather than the negative.
I now consider myself a positive person. It has taken time and believe me I haven’t always seen the bright side of life – I used to be nicknamed Victor Meldrew in a previous place of work.
I have worked hard on my dialogue I do exactly as my mum told me all those years ago. If I haven’t got anything nice to say I don’t say anything at all and that includes my internal dialogue.
A rule I live by probably 88% of the time is
The other 12%? I am working on but I am only human.
That is a little more meaty it has more substance the grown up version if you like of “if you haven’t got anything nice to say”. The reasoning it’s not all about being nice, it’s about finding your truth and being authentic.
Its about acceptance of the good the bad and the ugly. Not criticising the the bad and the ugly accepting it. Obviously if something can be done to change it, then change. But don’t criticise for the sake of it that action just doesn’t serve. What is the benefit? I use this practice in both my internal and external communication. (88%)
In general I will assess my good points and recognise them. Eeekkkk how profound and grown up.
By starting with my internal dialogue this now reflects on my external dialogue. I will offer clear instructions to my children with a positive slant. I offer honesty and integrity when speaking to others, using a more positive dialogue and terminology. Remember “If it doesn’t serve” then I don’t say it.
As for the couple walking down the street? –
There was no partner, she was listening to her internal dialogue.