We all can experience negative self-talk. We may call ourselves nasty names when we feel we don’t measure up. We may hear criticism from others when they really are just having a bad day. We can feel defeated even before we start because our inner critic can be so loud.
We have all heard of the health effects of positive self-talk, but how do we stop the voice of negative chatter within?
I am not sure it really is about stopping it, but more about redirecting our attention elsewhere. The mind chatters. That is what it does. When we pay attention to and strive to push away negative thoughts, they resist and get stronger. What we resist persists. Instead, we need to pay them no mind and instead focus our attention on cultivating a positive inner dialogue.
What we say to ourselves and others affects our health. Just as our body reflects our thoughts and feelings back to us, what we think and feel plays a huge role in our health. If we are willing to hear what our body is saying, we have a powerful ally in our health and spiritual growth. If we are willing to hear what we are saying to our body as well, then we have a winning combination for long-term health and wellness.
Edgar Cayce, the famous channel, tells a story that clearly illustrates the connection between our thoughts and our health. Each day on his way into his office, colleagues asked a man how he was feeling that day. Each day, the man happily replied, “Never better!” One day, as an experiment, a group of colleagues decided to each reply to his jovial “Never better!” with, “Really? You are looking pale and ill!” By lunchtime, the man had to go home, having suddenly come down with the flu. He had not been sick in years.
When we say to ourselves, “I feel sick and I suck”, we are affirming and hence creating that reality. When we say, “I am well and it is a beautiful thing”, we are creating that instead. The thing is, wellness comes from resting in the totality of the whole. That is, not pushing at things we don’t like or pulling towards us the things we do. We need to practice non-resistance to what is. When we say, “I am well” but really are feeling and believing in “I am sick and I suck”, we will remain unwell, because we are beating ourselves up by giving power to negative beliefs.
Developing positive self-talk is not all about letting go of the negative tendencies, but rather being really honest and letting go of the fight we likely have with what is here, right now. Gratitude and a feeling of abundance arise when we are in a place of acceptance of what is. If we allow ourselves to see without judgment that we do have harmful tendencies, and when we let that tendency rest within the whole, we can focus our attention on cultivating positive self-talk while being compassionate for our tendency for negative self-talk. We accept our shadow while we cultivate our inner light.
Just as we cannot just cut off our head when we have a nasty and achy head cold in order to feel better, we cannot just cut our thoughts off so they don’t exist. They are part of our energy system – for now. As we focus on the possibilities in this moment, whatever this moment brings, we begin to let go of our attachment to our negative self-talk, so that our positive self-talk can grow stronger.
Parvati Devi is the editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine. In addition to being an internationally acclaimed Canadian singer, songwriter, producer and performer, she is a yoga teacher and holistic educator, having studied yoga and meditation since 1987, and developed her own yoga teaching style called YEM™: Yoga as Energy Medicine. Her current show, “Natamba”, brings forward a conscious energy into the pop mainstream.