How many times a day do you realize you are talking negatively to yourself? I used to do it incessantly! In fact, one day it was so bad that I shouted to myself out loud to SHUT UP! (I was driving alone in my car, so no one heard me!) At that moment I realized that this type of thinking was just making me miserable and, more importantly, that this way of thinking WAS the problem.
That’s when I knew I had to make a change. It was time for me to stop this bad habit (and that’s exactly what it was) and begin to talk to myself in a kind and compassionate way—just like I talk to those I love and care about. This is how we should treat each ourselves! I’m sure this type of negative thinking developed when I was a child that I carried into adulthood. But it’s a just habit---which is good news because we have the power to change our negative habits to positive ones. Establishing the habit of treating yourself respectfully is a critical step to cultivating self-worth and self-love. Conversely, negative self-talk activates destructive energy that only makes us unhappy and unhealthy, distracting us from creating the life we really want.
When I finally realized the negative impact this type of thinking was having on my life (and subsequently the lives of those around me), I actively sought to make changes. Through that process I found a simple and quick exercise that was a great help for me and I want to share with you.
Here’s my simple 3 Step Process that will help you flip the narrative in your head and begin talking to yourself with love and compassion:
- Once you notice that you are stuck in a negative self-talk pattern, stop
- Then repeat silently to yourself your favorite mantra ---- mine is to repeat the word “love” over and over. Using a mantra helps distract you from the negative thoughts you were thinking. PRO TIP: decide on your mantra ahead of time so that when you are in the negative self-talk trap you know the mantra you will use, and you don’t have to waste time trying to find one in that moment.
- Then mentally list things 3-5 things that you are grateful for in your life. This pivots your mindset to a more positive state which makes the day look brighter or the situation more hopeful.
Treating yourself with love and compassion is the practice of the yoga principle ahimsā, not harming---to yourself, others and the planet. I hope this tip inspires you to take action to cultivate love and compassion towards yourself, so you are then able to spread it out into the world. To learn more about ahimsā and the entire 8 Limbs of Yoga way of life, click here to download my free 8 Limbs of Yoga Guide. Namaste.