I was 27 years old when I realized I had monsters in my head. No, I’m not schizophrenic, but I had a raging case of negative self-talk, shame, self judgement and self hatred for years. When you grow up with shame, no one tells you that it’s wrong. No one tells you that you don’t need it, not in the way it debilitates and cripples you, preventing you to become or recognize the whole and beautiful person you already are.
These self talks, now I recognize as monsters, told me that I was never enough. Not smart enough, good enough, successful, thin or pretty enough. These voices yelled at me the moment I did something wrong, saying “You idiot!! You moron! You are so fat. See how stupid you are?” These words are harsh, and they are the words I heard every single day, reinforcing the shame I felt. Shame is something we develop over time, something learned from our environment, not something we were born with or meant to carry.
If you have these kinds of voices, you have negative self talk in your head:
- Self Shame / Anger: “Idiot!”, “Stupid!”, ‘I’m such a <insert self deprecating word here>!”
- Fear: “I can’t!” “If I do this, <insert something frightening here> will happen!”
- Guilt: “I’m not enough”, “I’m not <insert adjective> enough”
Recognizing these voices is important. Even more important is recognizing these voices are not our own. Voices that spew anger, hate, self-deprecation, fear, and shame are voices that serve to destroy, not build or protect.
How to fight them:
- Notice and recognize it
- Tell them to leave and get the hell out of your head!! You don’t need to listen!! (see Pockitude tip #7)
- Voice it, to self or someone you trust, ask is it true? Especially ones based in fear, anger or self-doubt.
- Repeat, repeat repeat.
Please note, negative self talk is very different from clinical signs of voices in your head. Negative self talk is something we can control, the other voices are not. Please talk to a professional immediately if you are unsure.