I did this exercise over the weekend inspired by something in Jack Canfield's book, The Success Principles. I found it VERY helpful and encourage you all to do it!! I will paraphrase the exercise and share my own work below...
Let's try something on...we all know about that inner voice - the one constantly assessing and judging (yes, it's that one...). What if that voice that nagged and told you how stupid you were earlier was really just looking out for you and wanted the best for you? It might change the way you interacted with that little voice... Well take this on as a possibility. Think of a time when you were punished for something that you did - let's say running out into the street without looking both ways. So your mom or dad FREAKS out, runs after you, maybe you get a spanking or a time out or sent to your room to think about it. It is possible that your parent or guardian said something like "what were you thinking? I can't believe you did that. Get into your room and think about what you did for a minute." Now if you analyzed that statement - and TRULY got to the root of what your parent was trying to say or where he/she was coming from it would be a place of love, right? I was so afraid for you, please make sure you look both ways when you go out in the street, I love you so much I don't know what I'd do if you were taken from me. Just like your parent, who in the moment didn't express their love for you and perhaps only expressed the anger - your inner voice is the same way - it's just not as evolved and doesn't yet know how to powerfully communicate with you.
So the transformation was from anger to fear to a request to ultimately love. If you take a regular conversation that your inner critic may have with you at any given time during the day and then come from a place of anger, then express the fear, then come up with the requests (must be specific) and then come from love, you can actually transform that negative inner conversation with something positive. I did it over the weekend and it was really great and I'll share it with you below.
First come up with your negative self talk. Write it down...
My negative self talk:
You never finish anything you start.
You are lazy.
You have 1001 excuses why you aren't/can't be successful
You need to put yourself out there and do something in the world for yourself.
You rely on John too much and are constantly in his shadow.
Then, angrily express that negative self talk.
I am so angry that you haven't made more of your life - you are so lazy - always filled with excuses about why you can't, can't, can't! You never finish what you start and are all talk and no action. You rely on John to do "it" for you or use him as an excuse not to. You're pathetic.
Next, express the fear behind the self-talk.
I'm afraid that you're going to wake up one day and you're going to be 75 and you're going to wonder what your life was for. I'm afraid that you'll have a bunch of could haves. I just don't want you to regret a moment of this life.
Next, write out the requests that are behind the self-talk. Use - I want...
I want you to start promoting your blog and sending out your writing samples to start getting noticed. I want you to get a business plan together and get it started. I want you to start inviting people to participate in your community network and begin to generate excitement around the idea. I want you to empower and enroll the people in your life to support you to make this happen and have specific goals and results in mind. I want you to attend at least one networking event a week. I want you to quit your job at Pro Language and focus your time and attention finding something that utilizes your talent. I want you to set up a supportive space in your house for creation and I want you to think of how you can do an online WE group.
Finally - express the love that is ultimately behind this negative self-talk.
You are one of the most powerful people you have encountered. You have a gift and I've seen it in action. You deserve your own happiness, your own success, your own money. YOu are brilliant, loving and creative and other people deserve to receive the gifts you have to give. I want you to be happy and fulfilled.
Going through this exercise and actually writing it out was SOOOOO helpful for me. Because I really struggle with making decisions and actually considering my needs and not everyone else's in my life - I was able to get to the core of a lot of things that have been going on for me and get that this self-talk really did have my best interest in mind! If you know that it is coming from a place of love, the next time you find yourself being berated after an event about how you could have done it better - simply ask what the advice is - "I know you're just trying to make it better for the next time - I did my best today - what suggestions do you have for me?" And then WRITE THEM DOWN!!
I'm QUEEN of reading about great exercises and not doing them - and then even writing about them to you for you to do them (but still not doing them myself!!!) What I'm getting is that it only works if you work it. Try the exercise. You might just learning something about yourself.
Love to you.
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