I have been writing about toxic relationships and this article is about another type of toxicity, the toxicity you give to yourself. We all have different voices going on inside of our heads and I am not talking about auditory hallucinations. It has to do with the self-talk we engage in throughout the days of our life. Most if not all of us have a critical voice inside of us that is measuring and comparing us with others and judging our every move. Or the voice might say that you are not worthy enough, not lovable enough and overall- just ‘not enough.” Maybe you heard this kind of talk as a child from one or more significant others and you had no choice but to believe it.
The good news is that YOU DO HAVE A CHOICE in how much attention you pay to the various voices in your head. The best tool we have to better our lives is awareness. Once we are committed to noticing the voices, we can then choose which voices to pay attention to and to which voices to say ‘No thank you”. These negative voices are not ‘bad.” They actually are there to help us. For example, if you always had to be the perfect little child to avoid the wrath of a parent growing up, as an adult, that voice may be critical in the attempt to once again keep you from being punished. The problem is that your past is still running your present and as an adult, you really have much less to fear. You actually have the freedom to be imperfect and still be safe. But in this example, you have learned behaviors that kept you safe in the past and you are still trying to stay out of that interpersonal danger. This is toxic because it prevents you from taking better care of yourself.
So, be aware of the critical voices in your head. Ask what they are trying to do for you since these voices truly have good intentions. Then look for people who can resonate with the healthier voices in your head. I have realized that most of my clients have positive resources inside of them and they need other people to bring those resources out. Most clients I have that are too hard on themselves, know they are being too hard on themselves and actually can locate a voice in them that tells them to be kinder to themselves. Begin paying attention to those voices more. Ask yourself, “If those positive voices were correct, how would I live my life differently? What decisions would I make? Would I stay in this relationship? Would I avoid that relationship? What would I do with my time today?”
I have helped many people learn to shift from listening to the critical negative, toxic voices to the kind, loving, happiness-creating voices. This can pay huge dividends in your life when it comes to your emotional and physical health, your relationships and even your finances. It is possible and you need the right support both professionally and non-professionally to make those wonderful, positive shifts.
Feel free to comment on how YOU are too hard on yourself. How are you toxic to yourself?