Negative self-talk can be detrimental to our happiness. The critical and negative things we tell ourselves (about ourselves) can have a huge impact. I think we've all had the experience of being in a foul mood, or feeling depressed and not knowing quite how our day went from waking up fine, to being miserable. Many of us go through life, to some degree, on auto-pilot. We may have negative thoughts swirling around in our head without being aware of the downward spiral that is taking place. Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? "Of course I won't be successful at this, she probably doesn't like me, I'm not good enough for him, I'm too fat, not smart enough etc. I really need to change [enter running list of items] about myself, I never finish what I start, I knew I would fail at this......."
Therapy can be a helpful support in uncovering why this negative self-image arose in the first place, and it can also provide a space to cultivate more awareness and self love. If we can become aware of our inclination to make meaning of a situation by blaming or judging ourselves, then maybe we can begin to respond in a different way. Let's try to catch these thoughts as soon as they start occurring. Then, instead of responding critically, you can respond lovingly. You can remind yourself that you are worthy of love and respect. That you are doing the best you can. And that everyone else is too. We are often much harder on ourselves and save compassion, understanding and forgiveness for others. I would argue that, in order to be happy, we need to practice these things first and foremost with ourselves.
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