Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Ask the Life Coach

Dear Coach, 

Sometimes I can’t turn off the negative voice in my head that tells me how stupid I am, how uncaring, and points out my mistakes over and over. I feel like it is sabotaging my desire to move forward and become the person I want to be.  

Any suggestions on how to rid myself of this internal negativity? 

Negative in Naples 

Dear Negative, 

We all have negative internal voices talking to us from time to time. However, you’re wise to get a handle on yours if it’s holding you back. Cheri Huber, author of There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate, writes, “If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago.” If this sounds like you, consider these tips to help you tone-down the negative self-talk. 

  • Name the negative voice in your head. I call mine the Gremlin. Talkback to your negative voice, argue with him/her, challenge your Gremlin with the truth.  
  • Track when your Gremlin is speaking to you. One of the first steps to changing a habit is recognizing when it occurs. Journaling is a helpful way to do this or simply stop and make a mental note of unwarranted negativity. 
  • Affirm yourself. If your Gremlin is invading your space, repeat an affirmation. Gremlins hate affirmations because they take away their power. Say something like, “I am a caring person” or “I am confident and competent.” 

It’s unlikely that you’ll completely rid yourself of your Gremlin, but you can tame him. Talk to yourself like a trusted friend and refuse to believe your unrealistic, negative inner voice. 

For the December 2019 issue of Vanity Fair, British Author Zadie Smith completed a questionnaire which asked: What do you dislike most about your appearance? “I like it all,” replied Smith, 41. “Self-hatred is for younger, prettier women.”  

I say self-hatred and negative self-talk is for none of us—including you! Tame your Gremlin and take charge of your thoughts. 

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