The Women in Medicine Badass RadioshowEpisode #33: Negative Self-Talk
Hello ladies. Welcome back to another show here with me, Dr. Sharon Grossman. Super excited to be here with you today and talk about a really important subject — negative self-talk. Now I know that this is common. This is something that everybody experiences but it’s really important to talk about it because so much of the time we don’t really stop to think about the impact that negative self-talk can have about us can have on us.
So over the last few days I’ve been spending time at an international conference and I came across somebody that I just met. And we were hanging out together this whole group of people but this one guy in particular was super nice, very friendly, laughed a lot, but one thing I noticed is that he used a lot of self-deprecation and he had a very hard time receiving compliments. He was very quick to give compliments but would always refer to himself as not worthy of being in our company and all this. And yes, it could have been someone joking but as they say in every joke there’s a bit of truth. And I kind of pulled him aside and I said, “Listen, enough already with all the negative self-talk.” And he was just telling me how hard it has been for him his whole life to really be in the limelight and to accept positive compliments and so forth. And I think that so many of us actually struggle with that. And when we think about negative self-talk often times we think about it as beating ourselves up and telling ourselves that we’re stupid or lazy or all these kinds of labels but it doesn’t have to be just in that context. I think there’s something to be said for how we talk about ourselves even when we’re joking. And here’s why…when we have this sort of dialogue with ourselves, when we speak about ourselves in this way enough, it becomes ingrained. It becomes a belief that we hold on to and that belief is so impactful in terms of how it makes us think about situations, feel about ourselves in different situations, and what we do, how we behave in those situations. So I don’t take it lightly in the least.
Now in the last several months I’ve been working with a group of clients in my membership group called The Priming Lab on actually turning around their self talk. So if they found that they were the kind of people who maybe didn’t have a lot of compassion, that were beating themselves up that would be really demanding of themselves and maybe not very realistic in those expectations, really putting a lot of pressure on themselves — then we work to really turn that around.
So here’s what we did. I collected the groups set of statements — the kinds of statements that they think, the kinds of statements that they hear that voice in their head saying to them, and they each had a few different statements but there was definitely a general theme. There was definitely some overlap. So what I did then is I asked them to turn those statements around. I asked them, “What would you want to think instead? How do you want to feel when you’re in this situation instead of how you currently feel? What would you like to do instead of what you’re currently doing?” Because all these three things — our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors come together to create the results that are basically a manifestation of everything that precedes it. So it’s really important to pay attention to this and basically what I did was I took all of their turnaround statements, I put together a recording where I repeated those statements several times, and I had them listen to it for 15 minutes every single day. And some people actually listened to it twice a day. And the goal here was that listening to it was going to allow their brain to hear a new kind of message, a message that is aligned more with the results that they want to create, aligned with how they want to feel and how they want to behave and is more compassionate.
I find that a lot of the people that have very negative self-talk just don’t have a lot of compassion for themselves. They would probably never speak that way to other people that they care about and even to strangers and yet they don’t think twice about speaking that way to themselves. In fact, they’re not even self-aware that they’re doing this and the reason for that is because they’ve been doing it for so long that it’s just become habitual.
Something for you to consider if you’re the one that has that sort of a negative voice in your head is perhaps that voice belongs to someone else. Perhaps it’s not your own programming but it’s the programming that you received, that you downloaded from someone else. And in that case I want you to ask yourself this question: “Whose voice is it?” Once you label it you can then substitute other thinking or find ways to ignore this negative voice and just let it pass by.
I think the important thing here is to make that distinction between that voice and yourself. They get to jumbled up and then we start to think that this is who we are. But if let’s say you had a really critical parent or really critical teacher and now you’re hearing their voice in your head and their voice has become your inner voice then this is really an opportunity for you to divorce yourself from that voice, to give yourself permission to reprogram the message and to start to treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated. Just because someone mistreated you once upon a time does not mean that you should continue to abuse yourself for the rest of time.
This is why I’m so passionate about the work that I’m doing in The Priming Lab because it allows people to completely reprogram those messages, to have instant shifts in how they feel, and to get their life back.
So if you are somebody who is serious about doing this work, I encourage you to check out The Priming Lab to see what we’re doing, to see what we’re up to. It is a wonderful group of people that can provide you a sense of community, lots of support, weekly coaching and it will provide you with a lifetime of therapy in a short amount of time. And I don’t say this lightly because I’ve been doing therapy one-on-one with folks for about 20 years and I’ve actually pivoted to doing this work almost exclusively simply because of how impactful it is and how dynamic it is to do it in a group setting. So join me to really benefit from this kind of work that can significantly impact your life. I would love to have you in it. Please join us and I’ll see you next time.