Let’s face it, we all battle the little voices in our head that second guess what we are doing or offer criticism for what we have done. I encountered a little bit of it myself yesterday. I decided to explore from where that little critical voice originated.
English philosopher John Locke inferred we came into this world a blank slate or as he coined the phrase Tabula Rasa. Tabula Rasa suggests that nurture over nature forms the basis of our personalities. This means we come into the world pure and clean and the outside world dirties us up a bit. Nature suggests we already have the basis of our personalities when we leave the womb. I tend to side with nurture over nature but this is a debate great sages have engaged for centuries and is open to varied interpretations. You can decide for yourself. Whichever philosophy you gravitate to one thing is for sure, whether it is nurture or nature that drives who we are; negative internal dialog can be destructive and can prevent us from being as truly excellent as we are meant to be.
The seeds of greatness reside in each and every one of us. We each have a little Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Marie Curie and even Kim Kardashian in us. So, why aren’t we all just as successful and furthermore what have they done that we are not doing to get there? They have mastered taming their destructive self-talk. I refer to mine as “the committee”. They offer their unsolicited suggestions and criticism in every situation. They can convene prior to a public speaking engagement and can cripple my self-confidence. Their timing is usually perfect. So who the hell are these people and what are they doing in my head?
Like the seeds of greatness that have come planted in our gardens of destiny the weeds of descent drift in the wind of outside influences. These influences can come from our parents, peers and people around us. They planted these seeds through phrases like; you aren’t good enough, you could never do that, you aren’t smart enough, that’s for sissies, you’re just a girl or you’re not man enough. I could go on and on. When these aspersions are cast upon a blank slate they form our committees. It is time to fire the committee and take control in your role as chairman of the board.
Here are 10 great tips on weeding your garden of negative thoughts and letting the buds of greatness bloom in you.
1.) Understanding the Origins – Understanding where negative self-talk comes from and dealing with it in a mature manner is step one. You will likely know where it came from and who left it in there.
2.) Think it and Ink It – Once you know where the negative thought came from and who the originator was, write it down. Making it visual will make it easier to erase.
3.) Face the Music – It should actually be “face the musician”. Now that you have the list of self-defeating thoughts and who perpetrating them, confront it. If you don’t feel like dealing with the person directly write it down. Make your case. I am not stupid, in fact, I am quite smart and here is why. Seriously, write it down. Take your time and give yourself the credit you deserve for the great things you have done.
4.) Forgive Yourself – We have all made mistakes. None of us are perfect. The persons that left the scares of criticism upon us are not perfect either and they are likely fighting the same battles we do. That is not to say that sometimes these cancerous people need to be surgically removed from our lives but, often their criticisms come from place that was wounded in them. Forgive them, forgive yourself for listening, let it go and move on. Self-defeating talk no longer serves you and is not welcome.
5.) Rejoice in Yourself – You are a miracle of life. Recognize this and rejoice in it. The life force that runs through the world and through all living things runs through you as well. You are networked into natural excellence and you can achieve most anything you desire once you tamed that voice that say you can’t. Yes, you can and so you shall.
6.) Chart Your Course - Now that you have broken the oppressive chains that have bound you to where you are and not where you should be it is time to chart your new course. Ask yourself, who do you want to be, what is it that you have always wanted to do, what mountains do you want to climb? Write it down. Set a date. Make it happen.
7.) Make it a Visual Thing – My sister Gina has a vision board. She pastes motivational quotes on it along with pictures she have clipped or printed out of the places she wants to go, the things she wants to obtain. This has been a very powerful tool for her. She recently climbed Kilimanjaro and so can you if you set your mind to it. Create your vision board and look at it often and visualize your desires coming to fruition.
8.) Practice Patience – Change does not usually happen overnight although, sometimes it does. Be patient with yourself and be patient with your criticizer they may not own their responsibility immediately or ever for that matter. Process is exactly that, a process. It can take time. Just as your criticizer may not own it shouldn’t prevent you from owning it. Own whatever you need to own and move on. Your future is on you not them. Perfection takes practice and practice takes patience. Exercise it.
9.) Celebrate and Acknowledge Your Wins – As you practice the process of letting go of your negative internal dialog you are going to find that amazing and nearly miraculous results will start flowing your way. When they do, acknowledge them, embrace them and celebrate them. You deserve it. Journal these milestones. Looking back on them in the years ahead will give you a great idea of where you’ve been, how much you have accomplished and how much more you are capable of. You can do it, you are doing it, you have done it!
10.) Pass It Forward – We are social creatures. Each of us makes up the web of society. What helps us inadvertently helps the whole of society. Recognize in others the awesome potential you see in yourself. If you see them struggling share with them. Help them up. Give them words of encouragement and if you have found a gift in these words pass it forward and watch that person grow, blossom, bloom and bear fruit.