You're always fine

Escaping the prison of negative self-talk

September 12, 2023 Even Health Season 1 Episode 3
You're always fine
Escaping the prison of negative self-talk
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to this episode of You’re Always Fine, where we dive into the power of your mind and how it can help you break free from negative self-talk. We'll explore the concept of self-sabotage and show you how to recognize those automatic negative thoughts that can hold you back. We'll also discuss the importance of positive thinking and how it can transform your mental health.

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Be Kind to Yourself: Cultivating Self-Compassion
Date: 9/15/2023    Time: 1pm (est)
Description:
We could all be kinder to ourselves; an essential way to do that is through self-compassion. Practicing self-compassion can help us accept our mistakes and flaws, leading us to treat ourselves like loved one. Register here

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This week’s source notes:
Challenging negative self-talk
https://positivepsychology.com/challenging-automatic-thoughts-positive-thoughts-worksheets/#google_vignette
Negative self-talk 101
https://nickwignall.com/negative-self-talk/
Cognitive restructuring
https://nickwignall.com/cognitive-restructuring/

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Lauren:

Welcome back to your Always Fine a space to show up for yourself and embrace the mess that lives underneath because, let's be real, it's exhausting always being fine. So grab your headphones and allow yourself to listen, laugh and even cry, because you're a nottlebone and we aren't always fine and that's okay.

Kristine:

Welcome back to another episode of your Always Fine. I'm your host, yersine, and I'm Lauren, and today we are diving into a prison of our own making. Let's talk negative self-talk. What do you think, lauren?

Lauren:

Yeah, let's get started.

Kristine:

I want to really break down the difference between automatic negative thoughts, internal narrative and, like your, active communication with self, because I feel like those all get lumped together and there are not only different tools but different ways to work on each of those. Think of internal narrative as self-concept, what you think about yourself and the beliefs you have about yourself, for instance, believing that you're a good person or believing that you are weak when you cry. That's a belief we have on our feeling. That reflects how we feel about ourselves and how we see ourselves. If you think when you cry you look weak, you may have a belief about yourself that you're oversensitive, so it can be a ripple effect. And lastly, there's that active communication with yourself where you're saying you've got this or are you kidding me right now? Those are very conscious things that are happening. The post-negative self-talk, which is more automatic. Am I making sense? For? Yeah, for sure. I think I was in grad school and they started outlining this and they were like there's 10 patterns of negative self-talk. I'm like what? I only knew the one that was like you're worthless, what are you doing? Like the staples of, just quite honestly, torture and awful things. They are really laid out really nicely. I know the one that gets me every single day because you don't always know that's like a negative self-talk statement. If it's not for me, if it's not like clearly negative, like I hate you, it doesn't always seem negative. So, for instance, like I should have done this, I am always saying that.

Lauren:

And to me.

Kristine:

I thought that was reflection, I thought it was being reflective, and it took me a while to realize that, wow, that's not reflective, that's just trying to perpetuate shame, and it works.

Lauren:

Yeah, so I really resonate with these should statements. I do think there is some value to having those should statements, but if I'm being real, today is a perfect example. I all that negative critic inside of me telling me you should have used better time management. Why did you all? Why do you always let time get away from you instead of structuring your day better? What's wrong with you? I'm sitting here thinking, wow, am I really even the best person to be one of two voices for this episode when I'm experiencing negative self-talk Again, I want to be transparent with our listeners and I want to be candid. So this is happening in real time and it sucks and also like worried, I catastrophize when I get into these patterns, and so now of course, I'm going. This episode is probably going to be terrible and I made it terrible and just letting that just snowball, essentially.

Kristine:

So I think though, to your point about am I the best person? Yes, the reality is, we all experience this and it's happening all the time and it has, quite honestly, really big impacts on our behavior and it affects the way that we do things. And I think also like why did you spread yourself so thin? If I had to guess, it was probably along those same lines of a thought or a feeling that you aren't doing enough or you need to do more in all these different areas in your life, and so it becomes a very complicated web, especially if you're not able to really pick apart where these things are coming from and what they're like eliciting inside of you, because then that's when those automatic thoughts become part of the internal narrative, blocking your active communication from yourself. You're unable to challenge reality like your perceived reality when that's present, and I know, for me it looks like paralyzing. Yes, I was leading a meeting this week and something didn't go as I planned, and so my anxiety spiked. And after my anxiety spiked, though, I just was berating myself Like I don't understand why is this happening? Like you can do all the prep work, you're still not good enough. It's still not enough. People still don't like you, people. You're still annoying to people. And the more that it went, just the faster and faster the thoughts went and I sobbed for the entire afternoon and even during this whole thing that was happening, I was sitting there then, mad at myself being like I can't believe that you're crying right now. You are so sensitive. Why can't you be a professional, anything? And that's where the for me, like the prison of my own making. I couldn't make it stop and that prevented me from speaking in the next meeting and that prevented me from feeling like I knew what I wanted to say this morning when I got on to record. It really seeps into and it becomes venom. Yeah.

Lauren:

It definitely can take bold, and I used to pride myself working at the bedside because one of the things was I was really good at time management at work and I was really good at structuring my day that way. Okay, then, how do I better use that time management and apply what worked for me in the hospital? Because, again, I had to have that. I was dealing with people's lives, things have to be timed, things have to be so. There was this sense of urgency all of the time, and now that I'm not in an urgent environment, my time management has slipped.

Kristine:

And it slipped though, lauren, or is that part of this cycle, that negative self-talk thing, right there, it's just evolved, right Like it's changed. I think that's exactly what we were talking about in the beginning. Sometimes do you even know you're doing it? It's not saying this is not to give you the out, it's to help you, I think, grow in terms of evolving, because there's no benefit to the cycle that we're in if that makes sense when we're in these cycles, like it doesn't do anything. I say to a lot of my clients stop trying to punish yourself, to motivate yourself by saying what you're saying is going to motivate you to make that change that you clearly want, or is it just shaming you into a different space?

Lauren:

Yeah, no, I will see about. And that's hard for me because, in the name of self-talk, I am that person that uses shame to motivate. I've said some of the ugliest things to myself in an attempt to change behaviors specifically, and there's that part of me that I can literally feel just flinching, going ouch, that's ugly. But then I think, yeah, but If you're kind to yourself, you're just going to give yourself an excuse, trust and assumption right.

Kristine:

I think that's also where you again, knowing yourself, this is a potential area where I might not be able to hold myself accountable. How can I scaffold that? How can I? That's a positive.

Lauren:

but that's a reframing right there, that, right there, what you just did. You just reframed, like that one facet of self-talk that's helpful for me to model after what you just said. Will you say that again, because maybe I can use that again. Go ahead, say it again, you're self-aware enough.

Kristine:

It's about what you're going to do with that self-awareness now. You're self-aware enough to know that when I don't want to do things, I sometimes make excuses for myself. So then account for that. If you can't hold yourself accountable and sometimes we're not able to there's certain areas in my life that, habitually, I will hold myself accountable till, no matter what, and there's others that I can't. And the ones that I can't, those are ones that I reach out to my friends or my therapist or anybody who supports me, and I say, hey, I need an accountability buddy for this, and that is an alternative, I think, to the self-torture that is yeah.

Lauren:

I just want to ask you do you think that there is a link? Have you seen in your client this scene of learned helplessness when it comes to negative self-talk, or not so much so I know in nursing I have seen learned helplessness a lot in my patients, for different reasons.

Kristine:

I've ever categorized it as learned helplessness, but I see where you're going with this threadline. I think that we begin to think that we have no control over our feelings. We seem to become very content with autopilot, even when our autopilot isn't really a great one. When you're looking at this big picture, it almost becomes another version of negative self-talk. Right, even the act of being learned helplessness. That has a negative kind of right. You could do something about it, but you're not. So I feel like it falls in line with this way of doing things internally, which is why I think journaling, talking to someone outwardly expressing something, is so much different than doing it in your head. I think people want to practice mental health all the time in their head and they think they can handle it. And you can handle it. You're always fine. However, what are the costs of that? Yeah, because most of the time they're great, as opposed to speaking them and getting them out. Because, just like you said before, when about listening to yourself cringe when you motivate with shame, right, some of the things that I think to myself I can't even say because I would never just say them out loud. Why am I so okay with doing it to myself, and that's why we push you to journal, so we push you to get it out of your body, because then it no longer can be internalized. Either somebody's going to challenge it or you're going to challenge yourself because you're like that's maybe that's a little dramatic or a little harsher than I intended it to be. Seriously, I just spilled a cup of water, it's not that bad. I don't know if I have to call myself such a stupid idiot, and I think that's one of the big takeaways for me is you have to be brave enough to challenge what you're thinking. And because feelings are not facts and feelings cannot be right or wrong, but thoughts can be right or wrong. And you got beliefs going on in there too, because most of the time what happens is signal comes in right. You got a feeling, and then what happens is in that brief little millisecond, you've got a belief on that feeling, so you have a belief on how you feel about that feeling, so it's a feeling about a feeling, and then, in the same little millisecond from there, you have a thought, and then you have a judgment, and then you have from that judgment, you do behavior, and so this is all happening so fast, and so if you don't start to really piece out all these things which I know I'm exhausted just thinking about doing it, but I will say when I am able to get a grip on my thoughts and challenge them it has been such a freeing thing to realize that. Okay, yes, it feels like a prison, but I actually had the key the entire time. Great, good to know. And even though this week really struggled, I couldn't even imagine how much worse it would have been. Yes, the crying sucked for five hours, but the difference is that I never truly internalized it. I felt all the things that were awful in the moment, but there's a difference between feeling it, letting it pass and it becoming a purveyor identity.

Lauren:

Yeah, I don't again enough. Okay, yeah, I'm in a prison and I've had the key the whole time. But again, that negative critic inside of me is yeah, what happens if you put the key in the lock and unlock it and it's no better on the other side? What if there's still peril and turmoil that awaits you? Or what if you still grew it up on the other side too?

Kristine:

You know the reality of it is, lauren, it's going to be Like, give yourself the answer yeah, it's going to be turmoil, it's going to be hard, and I think that's the acceptance that you can give yourself prepared adaptability. I was reading a book the other day and he was talking about how humans would rather be blindfolded and walk from A to B to A back and forth, than to ever walk from B to C, because that is too much. They would rather stay in something that is not working for them, that does not blind monotony back and forth. Even if it was like a slow, bleeding death, then it would be to go from B to C, because B to C maybe it's a fact I might die. Even though I'm slowly bleeding out here right from A to B to A. I would rather do that than to step one foot forward into uncertainty.

Lauren:

Yeah it's scary, though Maybe your confidence is lacking in your ability to get yourself out of that Negative self-talk pattern. I think sometimes, because it's like that negative self-talk almost becomes an insecurity blanket. Right, it's not a blanket, it's an insecurity blanket, but it's a blanket nonetheless, that you can still wrap around yourself. It's still predictable tatters that are just coating your body. It's 100%.

Kristine:

Yeah, just like. You know how some people can't let go of chaos. It's like a lot of times what we do is we stick to things. I would rather when someone says how are you feeling, and I'm always like, fine, right, like, rather than express or do anything with that. I'd rather stay in the chaos of my brain because that's safe, despite how bad it is.

Lauren:

All right, christine, so before we go, just curious what are some ways that we can begin to combat self-negative self-talk.

Kristine:

I love this question. I have pretty much some staple answers, and the first is start small. Do not try to change absolutely everything the first day you listen to the answer the first time. Easiest way to start small, if you ask me, is to start looking for it in other people. It's all around you in people's verbiage and it's a lot easier to identify when people are there. Negative self-talk come out in real conversation. So like a fact-finding mission, and start to ease that in to your day, and that will also build you a little bit of time to start really making the habit of catching this. The next is, interestingly enough, tone. Your tone matters. Even when you're talking to yourself. Okay, we have a tendency I can speak for myself. There's different tones of anger towards myself. There's the just straight barrage, distaste, and then there's the they're done better. And she has different tones as if it's just the person, and so really making sure that tone is one of compassion, because how you say something matters, even to yourself. Next, validate your feelings. Instead of analyzing them, you have the power to validate that, like I feel upset that I didn't prepare this week. That's a valid feeling for you to have the stuff that, like you don't want to validate are the floodgates that happen, but the feeling like, yeah, you're allowed to feel unprepared or you're allowed to feel disappointed that you didn't come into a space the way you like to represent yourself. That's valid. But don't take it past that validation, don't overanalyze it, because that's that thread you're pulling. That's hard it is. And this last one I really hope it's last Be intentional with yourself. Criticism, not habitual. Really try to make sure that, like when you're doing these self-reflections and self-discoveries and all that, you are not creating crazy critical, like I said, a habit of critiquing yourself every day. Set milestones, meet those milestones, reassess, but be very intentional with yourself. Criticism, do not be habitual. So those are my like top four things. Of course, there's plenty of resources online and worksheets, but for me those are like easy to remember, like you don't need a worksheet to be like okay, that tone, I probably should be a little nicer or validate, not analyze. Like those are things you can keep right in your head.

Lauren:

Yeah, okay, I love those. I'm definitely going to use. I'm definitely going to use those.

Kristine:

This is a message to myself, so am I. Until next time, everyone, and I'll see you in the next video.