What happens if I screw up?
What if they are going to hate me?
I am a loser.
I am stupid.
Everybody is watching and judging me .
What if I blush, they will think I am weak and ridiculous.
I look like a wreck anyway.
Everyone will see my knees, hands, body shaking.
My voice will wobble uncontrollably.
It will always be like that.
I cannot handle this.
These negative thoughts automatically create an attitude of fear and failure. It is this fear of failure and being judged, that can often create a phobia towards social interactions.
The list of negative thoughts is endless. Do you recognize your own Self Talk?
If an inner dialogue is full of words that drain the energy and produce inner stress, it is of no surprise, that feelings of anxiety and stress will be nourished and have space to grow.
How we use our vocabulary to talk to ourselves is part of our perception of the world around us. If everything is hard and exhausting, intolerant, militant and unforgiving, it is.
Becoming aware of our inner dialogues, the way we use words to describe the world around us and ourselves, is an important step into changing our perception of things.
Give it a try.
1) When you catch your inner voice trying to make it hard for you to go on, find other words to describe the world and yourself. Words that can empower you, words that give you ease and comfort, words that light you up. Find constructive alternatives for words that drain you.
2) Negative inner dialogue tends to generalize experiences and perceptions. Words like "always", "never", "all the time", "nobody", "everybody" etc. give a sense of absolution to a situation and emotions.
Yet, is that really so? Aren't there really any exceptions? Haven't there been moments, that could contradict such an absolute statement? Ask yourself and find those exceptions. You will notice, how that simple exercise can shift your perception of "reality" and change your perspective.
3) Destructive self talk ignores all things, that are good, positive and productive. It limits the space for growth and learning and can give a sense of hopelessness and feelings of being stuck. A conscious decision to opening up that narrow line of thought, allowing a wider range of thinking into life, just contemplating the idea of: "Are there other options? Do I have more than one choice? And what steps could I take?" can already bring ideas to life that can be helpful and useful. Give yourself permission to believe you do have a choice, you can make decisions and seed the idea of creation.
Don't forget, we perceive the world through no other eyes than ours. It looks different to everybody else. It is on us how we can shape the way we think and feel to our advantage and well being. It is not about "never" having "any" problems. It is not about being positive "all" the time and neglecting difficulties.
It is about, how we handle obstacles and how we appreciate and respect ourselves along the way.
Be patient and forgiving to yourself. Allow mistakes on your path, acknowledge the existence of dark times and know, they will pass eventually. Know, that you are on a journey of learning and growing, being human, being yourself, experiencing the full range of emotions life has to offer. And isn't that a beautiful and useful thing?
Play with this little Exercise:
List all your negative beliefs on the left side of a table and on the right side of the table you will list the reverse belief.
Find positive questions and statements to the negatives you wrote down on the left side.
You will have noticed how much easier it was to fill the left side and how much more time you needed to find positive statements. It was easier to find negatives, because that is where your focus was so far.