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Watch Your Mouth!

48 Comments

Self Talk 1

“You ate the whole quart of ice cream AND the all the cookies too AND you haven’t worked out in, like, three days?!?”

“Dude, I can, like, already see the fat accumulating on your thighs – and don’t even get me started on your stomach.”

“Seriously, I’m pretty sure all of your fat just ate your abs.”

“You’re freaking hopeless. You might as well just give up now. You and I both know that you’re never going to get this right.”

“You’re way too weak, man. You just suck.”

All right, so if you had a friend, significant other or family member that said those things to you, chances are you’d tell them to take a LONG walk off of a short cliff. Seriously, that whole diatribe was just mean and nasty. NO ONE deserves to be talked to like that. I’m also fairly confident in saying that you would never in a million years talk to your friends or family that way. (If you would or do, please give me your address so I can personally come and punch you in the face.) Most of us approach others with gentleness, grace, understanding, kindness and we’re totally rational when looking at their situations. We know that it’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things if our best friend confides that he/she ate a pan of brownies or if he/she hasn’t worked out in the last two weeks or if they didn’t get that promotion at work. We know that they’re going to be okay and we definitely don’t like or love them any less. Right?

Okay, so now think of the last conversation you had with yourself. Was it, in any way shape or form, gentle or complimentary? Was it even rational? It’s funny, how we completely break all of our communication etiquette rules when we talk to ourselves. Most often our internal conversations are full of should ofs, shouldn’t ofs, need tos and didn’ts. In between those we berate ourselves, point out our flaws and dish out more negativity and hate than anyone should ever have to put up with. Unfortunately, we are ALWAYS in our heads and there’s no ‘unfriending’ yourself. You can’t take a vacation from you. You can’t divorce yourself and you can’t really punch yourself in the face (I’ve tried – it’s really hard…). No, we’re stuck with us – and it’s a life sentence.

So, we’ve got a choice to make. We can keep being mean and nasty to ourselves or we can change our internal vocabulary. I’m guessing that every single one of you can name at least one person that thinks YOU are kind of a big deal. This person would most likely starkly disagree with every bit of your negative self-talk. It’s a pretty safe bet that no one would back up your thoughts about how weak, hopeless, lame, fat, stupid, worthless and/or awful you are. You know why? Because it’s not true! Sure, we’ve ALL got things we need to work on or want to be better at, but this will NEVER change. We’re not going to reach a state of perfection in this lifetime so maybe we need to quit expecting that we should. Maybe we need to meet ourselves where we are and evaluate ourselves the way others evaluate us or the way we evaluate others.

The truth of the matter is; we’ve all got some things about us that are pretty darn special. Yeah, even YOU! You deserve grace, kindness, love and respect from others AND most importantly, from yourself. I’m not trying to create a world full of narcissists here, but I am telling you that you’re not doing yourself any favors by cutting yourself down. How many of you have berated yourself for eating something “you shouldn’t have”, for skipping a workout, for not finishing everything on your to-do list, or for saying something that you think sounded dumb? How many times have you told yourself that you’re not good enough, convinced yourself that you won’t get that job/promotion or that people don’t like you for one reason or another? How many things can you list, right this second, that you think are wrong with you, that you need to fix or that you need to do better? Long list, huh? Now take yourself out of the equation, instead think about a friend, family member or even just a random acquaintance. Do those same thoughts come up about them? Can you make a list for them?

Here’s the fact of the matter. When we think about others, especially those that are close to us, we don’t focus on what they aren’t or what they should/could be. We like or love them for who they are and for the way they are, RIGHT THIS MINUTE. We don’t hone in on their flaws, their imperfections, their shortcomings – because to us, they are enough and their enough is pretty darn awesome. Well, guess what? They most likely feel the same way about you. They aren’t concerned with the details of what you ate, how many workouts you missed, if you got to-done with all your to-dos. They just want to be around YOU – just YOU. Not you after you lose 10 pounds, not you after you deadlift 300 pounds, not you after you land that killer job, not you after you’re PERFECT – but YOU how you are right now. Because to them, you’re pretty darn awesome exactly the way you are.

It’s about time that we all start being nicer to ourselves. You are the person you spend the most time with – it’s probably a good idea to make friends with yourself. If you don’t, life is gonna be pretty miserable and let’s face it, you’re stuck with you – but that’s okay, because you’re kind of a big deal. Start believing it.

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  1. Nico
    July 18, 2014 at 5:19 am

    Hi Amy,

    could hardly stop smiling after having read your article. It was amusing and so true. Thanks for sharing! In case you have not stumbled upon it yet, there is extremely useful and also amusing literature about this topic by Brene Brown, I think the main book is called “The gifts of Imperfection”.

    All the best from sunny munich and keep up the great blog!:-)
    Nico

  2. Trish
    July 18, 2014 at 5:21 am

    We all do it. We’re nice to others but criticize ourselves.
    Trouble is, after a while we start believing those things that we are saying to ourselves and it negatively affects us.
    Thank you Rob. We need these reminders.

  3. Rob Stevens
    July 18, 2014 at 5:26 am

    Well Said! And not just because I had 2 scoops of ice cream last night. :)

  4. Christian Albrecht
    July 18, 2014 at 5:33 am

    Totally agreed. To go through a healthy brain in a healthy body, exercising, healthy food, enough sleep are right, but without a positive stress management, self esteem is a good start, it won’t work.
    Good text, thanks.

  5. mary
    July 18, 2014 at 5:58 am

    Thank you, i needed that.

  6. Ruby Vasquez
    July 18, 2014 at 6:03 am

    I just started receiving you emails and I love them. I have lost 50lb in the last year and still have 40 more to go. Paleo is new to me,but my daughter has lost 20lbs and her complextion looked fabulous. I have alway talked negatively to myself and for the past year at age 61 I am finally accepting myself and realizing what a wonderful characteristics are in me. So thank you for giving me permission to speak kindly to me.

  7. C. Koornstra
    July 18, 2014 at 6:07 am

    Wow! I needed that today. Thank you! :)
    And today, I am awesome!

  8. Sybil
    July 18, 2014 at 6:22 am

    Beautiful!!!

  9. Ms. Tif
    July 18, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Thank you Mr. Wolf. I needed that.

  10. laura
    July 18, 2014 at 6:46 am

    So true. Good thing to remember when I have those conversations with myself. Thanks

  11. Christine
    July 18, 2014 at 6:50 am

    I’m really good at telling this to others but not so good at listening to myself for myself. This is excellent writing and truth. I’m going to work on this so that you don’t come to my house and punch me in the face. lol

  12. Mark Wurtz
    July 18, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Wow! I had never thought about self-critique and inner thoughts like this. Very powerful and something I will also share with my daughter who needs to consider this thought provoking and beneficial message. Thanks.

  13. Maria Smith
    July 18, 2014 at 7:51 am

    You are so right. It’s nice to read that because I do that to myself. Right now I’ve plateaued, am I am being rather nasty to myself. So this was needed this morning.

    Thank you.

  14. Mitch
    July 18, 2014 at 7:53 am

    So true. A wise partner once observed “You are hard on yourself. Much harder than I am on me.”

    She was right.

  15. plynnjohnson
    July 18, 2014 at 7:58 am

    love this! Important for all of us to know that we are perfect and always in process. Negative self talk which can be an indicator of self loathing which then cycles back to worthiness….looping back and back to maintain a cycle of all of the stuff we are often trying to change. This is super timely…keep it up Robb.

  16. Dustin
    July 18, 2014 at 8:04 am

    What a wonderful article this has always been part of my philosophy in life. However recently I have gotten custody of my teenage son who has been failed by some of the adults in his life and peers. That said it had been a month of positive talk and working out to build his self confidence, and it’s working like a charm. He’s getting stronger, faster and smarter holding an A average in school and is holding his head higher. Thanks for all that you do and SAY!!!

  17. S. Hall
    July 18, 2014 at 8:07 am

    Thank you for writing this. I needed a good kick in the pants for the way I talk to myself incessantly! Even if that is a negative comment:-)
    Thank you for sending this to me, daughter-in-law.

  18. Leigh
    July 18, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Very well said! It is amazing how we constantly put ourselves down or believe that we are not good enough, yet we do not have those same thoughts or beliefs when it comes to others. I put so much pressure on myself in so many different areas of my life, I am definitely one of those that needs to be nicer!

  19. Harry Van Dyk
    July 18, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Wow so I can see some things I need to improve on, my kids have told me that I can be a little harsh on myself. And now I can see that negativity is not good self motivation, but may be sabotaging to my psyche and hindering me. Thanks for the article.

  20. Kim OGrady
    July 18, 2014 at 8:32 am

    This could not have come at a better time! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

    My 22 year old daughter is battling a serious weight issue and she has FINALLY started to embrace the PALEO nutrition lifestyle. In addition to that, I’ve convinced her that Self Disrespect isn’t going to help her and that rather than telling herself that she “CAN’T eat that”, she’s been saying “I DON’T EAT THAT”.

    Loving yourself is the first step. Thank you for helping me driving home that point!!

  21. Linda Rouse
    July 18, 2014 at 8:48 am

    So So true, I am 75 went on the program felt great looked great for over a year
    and then had another surgery and can’t zip my pants very hard on my self. printed article out and hung it in the kitchen

  22. Kevin Moore
    July 18, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Absolutely awesome post. Period.

  23. Calli Tony
    July 18, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Awesomeness! This is so true. Clients talk like this about themselves to me constantly. I am always telling them different, and how great they are for what they do. It is nice to hear someone else saying it to me! Sooo THANKS! :)

  24. Shawna
    July 18, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Perfect!! In our society today we need to hear this more often. Good reminder to reverse the golden rule – treat oursleves how we want others to treat us! Thanks Robb!

  25. Lyn Thiessen
    July 18, 2014 at 10:18 am

    To borrow a quote for Joyce Meyer in her book Change Your Words, Change your life. “Words have power.” They have power to heal, to hurt, and to grow. We must decide how our words will shape our world.

  26. Elaine
    July 18, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Right on. It’s not only important from a purely rational perspective(I would not talk to someone else like this so must not talk to myself like this either) but also from a scientific perspective! There are studies that show that if you speak evil to yourself, about yourself, your brain will do everything in it’s power to complete that picture. People have gained weight just by thinking “fat/frumpy/flabby” thoughts about themselves… even with exercise and good diets. It pays to speak only positive and encouraging things – to everyone!

  27. Brigitte Factor
    July 18, 2014 at 11:30 am

    I love this article. Your thought processes alter your biochemistry and can hinder progress even with a perfect diet. Grace and compassion are key to living a healthy happy life NOT perfection. Gods grace is sufficient in all ways!!!

  28. Lynne Creighton
    July 18, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I am in a great place, and I have 4 “self-emotional-word/thought-inflictor” friends who I am forwarding this to right now!! Life is all about being your own best friend to get us through all the garbage that is out there. We need “me, myself, and I” support and friendship with ourselves to keep on keeping-on in every aspect of our lives!! You and I and all of us are the best!

  29. Nate
    July 18, 2014 at 11:37 am

    ahhh I feel all warm and fuzzy…truthfully though, I preach this to all my health coaching patients. Everyone else will tear you down…be your own cheerleader. Celebrate the positive and work through the negative. Great article.

  30. Maggie Gilhooley
    July 18, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Thanks for reminding me Rob!

  31. Barb Trimble
    July 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    47 pounds ago, I did a lot of self-bashing, but thanks to Paleo, it is happening a LOT LESS. I find I still do it if I eat pizza, but I try to remember that I have come a long way over the past year, and I should be praising myself for taking off and keeping off the weight–the first time in over 20 years.

  32. Candace
    July 18, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Absolutely love this.

  33. Shane
    July 18, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    If my psyche were a face, it’d look a bit like a boxer on a long losing streak: Few teeth, two black eyes, broken nose, etc, etc.
    Thanks for the reminders. I believe I will print this. This article makes so much sense, yet the daunting part is remembering words like these when I’m bleeding on the mat. Lasting change is hard to make.

  34. lisa firmin
    July 18, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    thank you. thank you. thank you. serious, its amazing the hateful things i can think about myself. I would never talk to a friend the way i do myself.
    good reminder.

  35. Sherry
    July 18, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks for this ever so important reminder! Easier said than done, but true nonetheless

  36. Edie
    July 18, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    So right! Thank you.

  37. Elma du Plessis
    July 19, 2014 at 12:20 am

    So true! Negative self talk reinforces negative behaviour! Great read. Keep up the good work, and to all who wish to improve their health – keep up with positive self talk!

  38. Joey
    July 19, 2014 at 4:01 am

    Well said!!!

  39. Cathy Snowball
    July 19, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Such a good life lesson. Like yourself for who you are not what you think you should be!

  40. Chris
    July 20, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Negative self-talk (and negativity in general) is so debilitating, when you walk into an environment where it is prevalent, it is more stifling than usual. I’ve trained myself to stop it most of the time, but when it creeps in, I’m shocked at the emotional violence of such words.

    Most people are so desensitized to it, they don’t realize the damage they do to themselves … or others.

    Great post …!

  41. Kirsten
    July 20, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks Amy! I SO needed to read this post today – I’ll be sharing it with family and friends who may also need a self-esteem boost. Thanks for making a difference in the world!

  42. E. Schon
    July 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Heck Yes! I love this!

  43. Jacqui
    July 22, 2014 at 4:20 am

    I don’t want to sound lame, but what if everyone in your immediate circle (friends and family including husband) DO talk to you like that? Sometimes just as nasty as the examples you gave or like “I’ve only given you half a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee because you don’t need more”, or “maybe lay off the lollies if you want to lose weight”, or if asked if I look thinner he says “you are what you are”. WTF! I’ve just had my eyes open and I see how spiteful this is.
    I’ve been in this cycle all my life PLUS my own negative selftalk so that when I look in a mirror I see nothing at all, no face, just a larger-than-I’d-like thighs and stomach. I’m 53yo, 5’6″ and weigh 167lbs (plump but not obese I’d say) and after reading your words I’m ready to punch them all in the face!!!! I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!, but have no idea where to even get started. Do I need a counsellor or psyche? I just realised the only time my husband ever buys me chocolate is when I lose some weight. He’s basically been sabotaging me! …and stupid me, I ate it. I’ve done a rough run through of all my acquaitances and know what? I’ve got no-one I could go to for encouragement, except my two sons, a 14yo and 24yo who has autism. I am a negativity magnet!
    Today, right now, I make a promise that it’s going to change.
    I’d love some advice on exactly how and what to do.
    Is there a step by step way to dig yourself out of a hole like this? Where do you get self worth if you’ve never had any?

  44. Sheila Bligh
    July 23, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Wow, you know how there are times when you think an article is talking straight you you?? well this is one of those times!! LOL! I started the change to a Paleo diet last week and am struggling with drinking the water and the sugar cravings! Last night I had that scoop of ice cream and was actually awake half the night berating my self because of it!!! Is it just human nature to be our own worst enemy?? Anyway, thanks for the great article, maybe now I can move on from the quilt!!

  45. Stuart
    August 7, 2014 at 5:09 am

    I’m guilty of this without even realizing how negative I am being towards myself. I would never speak to others this way and wouldn’t let others talk to me the same.I think sometimes you do need to be your biggest critic it’s what makes you want to achieve, but maybe thinking more positively would create a better state of mind to succeed.
    My thoughts.

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