I say I don’t talk to myself like that.
She says I do.
I think ‘naaaah, I don’t actually call myself stupid… or fat… or crazy. I’m only joking now. I don’t usually…’
‘Yes you do,’ she said.
Spotting my own patterns of how I talked to myself was like learning a foreign language.
Before I was able to understand it, it was all noise to me.
Unable to even see what I was doing, because I didn’t understand.
I thought I did. But I didn’t.
I thought I had it under control. I thought I wasn’t one of those people that had their worst enemy sitting between their own ears.
I thought I KNEW who I was and what I was telling myself.
But all of this changed, and in an instance, when I saw my own note I had made next to a brainstorming session…
A few days earlier I read about how the number one thing we tell ourselves without realising is “I am not good enough”. We stop ourselves before we even begin to: reach our dreams, go for what we want, speak up when we know something could be done better.
We stop ourselves, because we think that we are not good enough… to do all those things.
We have made ourselves believe that taking a step forward is contingent on us: needing to be older or more experienced, needing to have more qualifications, needing to achieve some kind of a milestone first, BEFORE we allow ourselves to go for it, BEFORE we give ourselves permission.
…Discovering this concept, it all made sense in theory.
Sure, there must be some people who think they’re not good enough.
‘I hope those people really work on it,’ I thought.
I mean, who would’ve thought of it?! Telling yourself that you’re not good enough and can’t do what you actually want to do? That’s crazy!
I was convinced that this issue, while it was interesting to read about, didn’t affect me.
I was sure that I haven’t used this excuse – like, ever! – to stop myself from doing something I wanted.
I was so sure I was above that stuff that I would’ve bet a lot of money on that.
And then, a few days have passed.
I felt compassion for those people who operate from the assumption that they’re not good enough (and don’t even know it). I think I even went as far as to offer advice and support to those who were talking about the subject in the online communities I was part of at the time… I mean… this seems to be a real problem, so if there’s anything I can do… riiight?
Until, a few days later, I was flipping back through my black Moleskine notebook (I always have one where I brainstorm and keep all the ideas and lessons – on life and business – all in one place), and then on the page where I was brainstorming possible ways of creating new income streams for my business I spotted a note on the margin…
I was so sure… yet here it was, in black and white. ‘I am not good enough.’ Dated just a few months prior.
Four years have passed since that moment. And my life (and my inner talk) have changed beyond recognition. But I still remember the surprise and sheer shock when I saw the phrase I thought I’ve never said, written down as a note to self.
So when you tell me YOU don’t talk to yourself like that.
That you’re only joking when you say you’re stupid/fat/ugly and you don’t really mean it.
And start learning the foreign language that is your inner talk.
Because it hides in the noise. Unnoticed. Until finally one day we decide not to let the noise have a power over what we do, who we are and how we live our lives anymore. Let that day come today.
Because if I can hear you say it 3 times (that you’re this or that) just through one conversation, then imagine the language you hear every day in your head, through your own thoughts.
Learn the foreign language of inner talk in your head. Finally understand that the radio station you’ve been playing between your ears for years is dictating what you do in life. So how often does it say “you suck” in one way or another?
And once you hear it, luckily, you cannot unhear it. And you’ll start to switch it off when you catch yourself playing the old “I’m not good enough”/“I’m stupid”/“I’m fat”/“I need more credentials first before I go for that opportunity” tune. Because really? It’s not you who sucks. It’s that stupid radio that someone set-up for you years ago, and you just never realised that all you had to do was change the station.