So this is my list, but if I were a betting woman I’d guess yours wouldn’t look too different.
Maybe you’d change the order from bad to worst – depending on how frequently you find yourself saying (or rather spitting out) particular put-downs or wallowing in self-pitying refrains.
Something is worse if you say it often (move it down your list), worse still if it cuts to the bone. So those things you find yourself saying often that really wound – well you better tell yourself to shut the F#@! up or you’ll be bleeding all over the place.
I trash-talk myself far too much – my peaceful yoga veneer cracking into a million shards that I use to cut myself down to size. But I’m working on softer self-talk.
So here’s my dirty dozen, counting down to the very worst things I say to myself.
(Just to be clear I usually don’t say these things out loud – at least not when other people are listening – but sometimes I do – and when you actually voice such non-affirmations they become even more destructive).
12. I’m too tired – we can talk ourselves into feeling more exhausted than we actually are. Sure we’re all busy (I say I’m too busy too much too!) but I know I tell myself I’m tired when I simply can’t be bothered and when I feel scared and fatigue becomes an ‘excusable’ excuse. Only most of the time it’s not.
11. I don’t care – My current justification for saying this having a new teenager in da house who rolls her eyes and says this so often it’s rubbed off on me. Only that wouldn’t quite be true. It’s me backing away from the sensitive soul that I truly am, trying to create my own artificial shield to protect me against the things I can’t control. Only I do care. Probably too much. I wish I wasn’t so sensitive sometimes, but there you go.
10. It’s too late – This is my trusty mid-life crisis refrain and it blames time and amorphous external circumstances for the things I can’t control. I use it to excuse myself for the things I haven’t done, but worse still, to let myself off the hook in pursuing new things because after all it’s not my fault – I’ve simply run out of time.
9. I’ll do it later – clearly I’m conflicted. This one I commonly pair with ‘I’m tired’ so that my procrastination is somehow justified by a lack of sleep (or imagined fatigue). This is mostly fear talking, although sometimes I’m just being lazy. It’s insidious because things don’t get done and things don’t change.
8. I hate (insert anything said after this) – I hate the word hate. But I still use it, muttered under my breath, sometimes vocalized. Sometimes I even hate my kids – I know bad mother – only in the next breath I don’t. I know hate only breeds hate and hypocritically I tell the kids not to use the word. I hate myself for being an hypocrite.
7. I can’t (insert anything said after this) – Henry Ford famously said: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” I know I’m talking myself out of success with this refrain, foreshadowing failure so it doesn’t hurt when it happens. But it doesn’t get me anywhere.
6. It’s not fair – often used alongside ‘I can’t’ as if something or someone else was stopping me from doing what I should be able to do. We all encounter obstacles but if I look honestly at my life I’m pretty lucky – life is a whole lot more unfair for a whole lot more people.
5. There’s not enough – I don’t so much think this in material terms of money and possessions, but I seem to have entrenched this thinking (ie core belief) when it comes to my ability to shine in the world – the idea that there are so many others playing big there’s not enough room for little old me, so I keep playing small. I keep forgetting the universe is abundant and ever expanding.
4. You’re not good enough – for some reason I switch to talking to myself in second person here, taking on the combined persona of everyone who has ever judged me (never as harshly as I judge myself).
3. You’re (insert any negative description) – fat, old, a failure, not clever/wise/attractive etc enough (see above). Mostly the mirror does the talking here, but sometimes even without catching my own reflection I run myself down. All of this self-talk reinforces my flawed overarching conclusion of ‘not being good enough’, each little insult rubbing salt into a gaping self-esteem wound.
2. You don’t deserve (insert anything good said after this) – naturally since I’m not good enough I don’t deserve good things – hey at least I’m thinking logically here!
1. Nothing’s going to change – this is the ultimate declaration of defeat – because of all the excuses, fears and judgments I give voice to, I allow myself to give up. What’s the point.
So on that rather depressing note, how are you talking to yourself? And more importantly, how is the real you answering back? I’m getting much better at back-chatting! Anyone would think I was a teenager.
(PS this is Day 1 ‘list post’ challenge run by Problogger for fellow bloggers who might like to join in/check out the tips).