Why Bother Noticing What We Tell Ourselves?
Our brains are at work seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Even when asleep our brains are actively producing dreams and without a conscious thought, our hearts beat, blood flows and breathing takes place. Our bodies automatically function to give us life. Yet, if we give no thought to our thinking, then our thoughts can lead us to a less than happy life.
Revising Our Self-Talk
What we say to ourselves matters because our thoughts are directly connected to what we think and believe about ourselves. Thoughts do not form in a vacuum, instead they are tied to well established patterns. For instance, if we are in the habit of being critical of ourselves when we make a mistake or when we are forgetful, that design of fault finding is connected to a history of being critical. Our parents, siblings or school mates may have laughed, snickered or made cruel comments at our mistakes. And though those people may not be around anymore, their words helped us form our present rut of thinking. Blaming the past changes nothing, but changing our thinking changes everything about our present. We don’t have to let the old ways be in command. Though we have been believed we were dumb, stupid, or clumsy, whenever we made a mistake, we can begin telling ourselves that it is common for humans to mistakes.
What we say in our heads does not necessarily stay in our heads either. Patterns of thinking also become patterns of being. If I tell myself that no one will accept me unless I am perfect, then you can bet I will strive toward perfecting anything and everything I do. From menial chores such as cooking a meal to more complex tasks such as going to college, I will drive myself without mercy. My running monolog that I must be extraordinary, not just ordinary, can actually, over the long haul, be detrimental to my wholeness as a person. People who drive themselves toward perfection often physically burn out from exhaustion or become bitter because no one applauds their perfect efforts.
Noticing what we tell ourselves and altering those thoughts not only affects our behaviors with ourselves, but how we treat others as well. If I don’t have any mercy with me, how will I give it to others? If I am not empathetic with myself, how can I be empathetic toward someone else? And if I am impatient toward others, it is because I am impatient with myself.
Why bother to notice what we tell ourselves? It is worth it to critique our own thinking since it affects our behaviors toward ourselves and others. Thinking well of others begins with thinking well of ourselves.