Today I’ll be talking about your
internal monologue and why you need to affirm yourself.
I’m dr. Tracey Marks a psychiatrist and I talk about mental health education and
self-improvement. If this is up your alley, click Subscribe.
In psychotherapy the therapist is supposed to be neutral and make herself
as much of a blank slate as possible. the reason for this is that when you’re
presented with a blank slate, your reaction is based on your temperament
your personality and your own inner self talk. Let me give you an example. Suppose
you send someone an email pitching an idea that you really hope they like.
you’re all excited at what you put in the email and you’re just waiting to
hear back from them but you don’t immediately hear back. An entire day
passes or maybe even a couple of days and what’s your automatic thought. this
is a situation where you’ve put yourself out there you’ve made yourself
vulnerable and you’re not getting any response. In other words the blank slate.
Person A may think, hmm I wonder if my email went to her spam folder. That’s
giving the situation the benefit of the doubt. Person B may think, I wonder if she
hates my idea and she’s just trying to figure out a way to tell me. This is a
negative assumption. Person C may say, I totally made myself look stupid in
this email and now I’ve ruined my chances to get through to this person.
That’s an even more negative response. So where do you fall? Do you automatically
think negatively or positively? We all have blind spots. In a car, the wider the
blind spot, the more dangerous the vehicle. Introspection allows you to
narrow your blind spot. You won’t be able to get rid of it the blind spot
completely, but the narrower the better. here’s another concept. Projection is a
defense mechanism whereby we assume others believe the negative thoughts we
have about ourselves. This is one of the ways that you can
wallow in low self-esteem. When you have a head full of negative thoughts, you
don’t need other people to judge you. You have judged yourself and believe that
the other person is the one who came up with the idea. Here’s an example: let’s
say I tell Joe how busy I’ve been lately and how I’d love to take a vacation. Joe
looks at me with a smirk and says yeah that’d be nice.
I think what was that smirk all about? He must think I’m trying to get out of work
and thatI’m lazy. Now the truth, is Joe smirked because he could relate to my
desire to go on vacation. he’s been working tons of hours and he’d like a
vacation. that’s what Joe’s really thinking but I
projected my own thoughts on to Joe. Now let’s look at my thoughts. I know how
hard Joe’s been working and I also know that I haven’t been working as hard. In
fact, I just give enough to get through the day and then I’m ready to go home
and now here I am ready to go on vacation. I don’t deserve a vacation so
in reality I’m the one who believes that I’ve been lazy at work but I believe
that Joe is the one who thinks I’m lazy and what’s the evidence for this? His
smirk. So what’s the problem with this? Well,
it’s problematic on a couple of levels. One, I’ve assigned negative thoughts to
Joe that he doesn’t have and I can build up negative feelings about him and
resentments that he doesn’t deserve, because they’re based on false
information.The second problem ties directly into the issue of affirming
yourself. So it’s time to lean in here. When you project negative feelings onto
others, you set yourself up for needing them to affirm you and build you up.
Projection reinforces your negative thoughts. How do you recognize this in
yourself? Well let me deconstruct the thing with
Joe a little bit more. In my interaction with Joe, the real problem is that I feel
guilty for not putting in as many hours as Joe and my other colleagues.
Rather than look down on Joe for thinking that I’m lazy. First I have to
recognize the feeling and the trigger here is that I believe that I know what
Joe is thinking. And that’s mistake number one.
Unless you believe in the paranormal, it’s safe to assume that you cannot read
people’s minds with accuracy. So if you tend to be a mind reader, recognize that
when you hear yourself say “I’m sure he thinks this…” and just fill in the blanks
with whatever, that is that’s a red flag that you’re probably projecting. So okay
that’s one step, identify that you’re projecting. The next step is to flesh out
the negative automatic thoughts and replace them with positive ones, but you
have to recognize your real pain point. So in this case, I could say to myself oh
I’m not lazy, I’m a hard worker but that’s not gonna have much impact.
Because it might not be true number one and it’s too superficial. My real pain
point is that I feel guilty for not working hard lately and the way to
affirm myself is statements like “my worth is is not – my worth in my job is
not defined by how much I’ve worked lately. I contribute to the team. They still find
me valuable, furthermore Joe doesn’t have time to keep tabs on me. He’s got his own
life. Those are the things that could help me kind of blot out the
assumptions and negative thoughts that I have that that I’m putting on to Joe.
You have to be able to affirm yourself internally. Needing other people to
affirm you makes you too vulnerable and dependent on others for validation. Other
people have their own needs and they can’t always lift you up and rescue you from
your negative thoughts about yourself. This is not to say that external
validation isn’t good. Compliments and recognition are great and they feel
great, but they can’t be required for you to feel whole and complete. What are some
other ways you could recognize your negative self-talk?
A more general approach is to pause whenever you have a negative emotion.
Think to yourself, what’s the emotion connected to? Is it something someone
said or did or is it something that someone didn’t say or do? Thinking about
your negative emotions can help you deconstruct what you’re really saying to
yourself. Being able to affirm yourself is important for building up your
self-esteem, but neediness also has a negative impact on how people interact
with you. It’s exhausting to be around someone who’s needy.
Have you ever interacted with someone who’s easily upset so you always have to
walk on eggshells and tiptoe around what you say? You don’t want to be that person.
This kind of behavior pushes people away. Then if your negative self-talk is that
you don’t deserve to be loved anyway or you don’t deserve anything good to
happen to you, when you lose support it reinforces your core beliefs and the
cycle just repeats itself. But the truth is, you drove the people away with your
own behavior. But if you boost yourself up from within and don’t need others to
do it for you, then you attract people to you and it becomes safe and comfortable
to be around you. This would be the person who can say
almost you can say almost anything to them and they never seem phased. And it
feels good to be around a person like that and if that’s how you are, people
will want to be around you. So I’ve talked about two ways to identify your
need to affirm yourself: notice when you’re projecting or mind reading and
examining your negative emotions. Let me close by saying that all of what I said
is not just for the person who’s depressed and has no friends. We all have
a negative tape that runs in our heads when the time is right and we all have
soft spots that can trigger us to react negatively. So this exercise of affirming
yourself can help you completely over haull your negative thoughts or simply
tweak and refine yourself so that you can become more and more content in at
peace. Thanks for watching. You made it all the way through. I plan to have some
videos or video affirmations to give you some talking points that you can use
with yourself to increase your positive self-talk. So stay tuned for that