Not you, by the way. You’re smart. But I’ve got something here.
We say the meanest things to ourselves. We do it under our breath quite often. Just a few days ago, I realized that I’ve been scrambling around looking for the right cable to plug into my video camera to do this import function, and I couldn’t find the right one. Out of hundreds of cables (they multiply in my house), I couldn’t find one to fit in the port.
DAYS later, I realize that the cable is fine. I’m trying to plug into the wrong port.
Oh, the curse words I said to myself. Many. Abundant curse words. Of course, I was happy that I’d fixed the problem, but so frustrated that I’d lost days to this, that I’d tried several things in frustration, that I spent another $20 on a cable that won’t plug into anything (yes, I can return it).
What You Say To Yourself Matters
The best book I ever read to help with self-esteem was titled (aptly enough) Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem (amazon affiliate link). In that book, I learned how to fire my inner critic and then I decided to hire an inner coach. The critic, you know all too well.
Your inner critic is the person who makes you feel bad about yourself before someone else sneaks in and does it for you. They tell you that your diet won’t work because you’ve already tried diets before. They tell you that you’re not all that attractive, and that he won’t like you, long before you’ve even worked on getting the date. In short, the inner critic is a real bastard.
My inner coach is pretty nice. He’s gruff sometimes, but in that “get shaking, Brogan” kind of way. There’s one really tricky catch. My inner critic voice comes naturally. We have it built in. The inner coach, I have to fake. I had to visualize him (he looks like a gym teacher), and I had to give him a voice (he’s a bit raspy, and now that I’m thinking about it, it’s basically Coach Bill Belichick of the Patroits, only working for me). And I have to really force him to say nice and encouraging things.
Negative Words Add Up
The thing is, when I don’t do that, I let the negative words get to me. It’s really easy to tell yourself that you’re stupid. Guess what? The more you tell yourself that, the more you’ll believe it. So instead, what could you say? “Wow, I’m frustrated, but I’m glad I solved that.” I guess that’s good enough for now.
Count Negative Words
Want to scare yourself? Take a little piece of paper and a pen and keep them handy all day. Every time you think of something negative to say to yourself, tally it with a mark. By the end of the day, I promise you that you’ll have 37 or so marks minimally. If you’re honest with yourself and mark every one, it might be closer to a few hundred. Now, would you take that from other people? Would you want to hang around with someone who says 200 negative things to you a day? Every day? I’m voting on no.
Fire Your Inner Critic. Hire an Inner Coach
You can do this all on your own. No one even has to know about it. You wouldn’t have known, if I didn’t tell you. Try it. Just in time for the holidays, let’s give it a go together. Shall we?