• Andy Campbell

How Negative Self Talk is an amazing gift

Do you struggle with negative self talk?

Whenever we find ourselves criticising or beating ourselves up on the inside with negative self talk it is most of the time because we are trying to be something that we are not.

Most people try to stop negative self-talk or avoid it with strategies like flicking rubber bands on their wrist but they are overlooking the crucial feedback that it is trying to provide them!

Next time you are criticising yourself for ‘being an idiot’ or ‘not good enough’ listen to that voice, it’s actually an amazing feedback!

When you are trying to do something that isn’t really important to you but you think it

‘should be’ you are psychologically designed to have negative feedback,

Here's why:

Everyone has a unique set of priorities or values that they live their life by, a hierarchy of things that are most important to them down to what is least important.

Whenever we are living our lives congruently with these highest values, we love our lives as they are and there is nothing we would want to change.

There are certain things for each individual that they will always have time for, always spend money on and always have energy for, it is these things that reflect what you value the most.

When we are doing these certain loved activities we have the most energy, focus, attention, drive, awareness and adaptability, we are ‘on’ and we will do these things spontaneously!

So what has this got to do with Negative Self Talk?

Stay with me.

Sometimes when we meet someone that we look up to, infatuate with or we somehow perceive as above us in some way (smarter, stronger, more wealthy, more social influence ect.) we will, without realising it, subordinate to them and try to inject their values into our life and try to please them.

The most obvious example of this is when you meet someone that you are really attracted to for the first time.

All of a sudden you may find yourself sacrificing what you love to do so that you can do the things that they love in order to spend time with them.

This is called ‘injecting other people's values into your life’.

This behaviour serves a very important evolutionary purpose in terms of finding a mate and fitting in with the herd.

You can see this in any area of your life where you are looking up to or ‘following’ a leader, mentor or boss. You will notice in that particular organisation of people that the leader sets the rules and everyone else in the organisation will then subordinate to those rules.

For example, the person that came up with the Paleo diet set the rules that you can only eat certain foods if you want to ‘follow’ that diet. If you eat the right foods you are accepted by the group but if you break the rules and go around eating whatever you want you get rejected by the group.

This is where the internal conflict and negative self talk happens.

Consciously we want to fit in with the group, or please our parents, or spend time with the people that we admire, so we will try to do all the ‘right’ things to make that happen.

We will follow all of the rules that they set and do what is important to them.

However, the moment we lose interest because we are bored trying to do things that are not truly important to us, we will unconsciously, spontaneously go back to doing what is actually important to us again.

This is where we beat ourselves up saying things like “Why can’t I stay focused?” or “why do I suck at this?”

We are evolutionarily designed in such a way that we perform poorly, get tired, forget things, get bored and generally suck and are dumb at anything that is not important to us.

Conversely if we stop subordinating to others and doing what we are ‘supposed to do’ and instead do what comes naturally, if we do what inspires and lights us up we will have unlimited potential in that area, we are a genius there. We have boundless energy, intense focus, incredible memory and amazing performance.

“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree. It will live its whole life believing that it is stupid" -Albert Einstein.

Instead of trying to avoid negative self talk, realise that it's actually a feedback mechanism letting us know when we are trying to do unimportant stuff and subordinate to other people.

If you are ‘beating yourself up’ dealing with negative self talk, just know that you are trying to go against your true values, an uphill battle.

If you are a fish stop trying to climb trees, go and swim out into the ocean and live an inspired life!

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