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Why Does It Feel So Much Harder to Talk to Myself in a Positive Tone Than a Negative One?

Mark shares how we can use awareness and kindness to gradually shift our inner tone of voice from negative to positive.

Hello, it's Mark Coleman here. I've been asked to answer the question, why does it feel so much harder to talk to myself in a positive tone than a negative one? Why does it feel so much harder to talk to myself positively rather than negatively? Or another way of asking the question is, why does positive self-talk feel fake, feel fraudulent? So this is a great question because when we've had a critic living in our head for years, decades, of course, what that does is it leaves the impression and the habit, the neural pathways of negativity. And so we begin to habitually look at ourselves and what we do, and we see, what we say and how we evaluate ourselves through that negative lens. And so the self-talk, the way that we talk about ourselves, the way that we ruminate, becomes very negatively slanted. I remember when I first started meditating when I was 19 and I learned the practice of mindfulness in England.

And I was shocked at how mean my mind was, how this voice of the critic was so harsh and so negative and so belittling and critical. And what was more surprising was I'd gotten so familiar to that, so used to that tone that it became just part of the living room furniture I was living with. And I knew that that was causing a lot of pain. It was making me feel depressed and angry and hurt and negative and reactive. And I knew something had to change, but I was so locked into that negative way of looking at myself, of talking to myself, criticizing myself that I knew it was going to take a bit of work.

One of the things that I started to do, I moved into a meditation center. And one of the practices I took up was to try and think of one thing positive about myself a day, one thing that I remotely liked or appreciated. Maybe it was, I'd, you know, worked well that day or I helped someone in a conversation, or I'd voted or I'd done some work helping the community that I was living in. And so beginning to reflect on myself in a positive way, rather than the habitual negative, critical way, actually began to, over time, shift the tone in my mind. It's as if we have a ledger and the critic is managing the ledger.

And the critic is a very negatively biased accountant, always registering the things you do wrong, your faults, the foibles and mistakes and deficiencies, and rarely actually entering the things you do well. And so as we start to try and shift our attention to also including, well, what do I like about myself? Or what can I appreciate? Or what can I acknowledge that's positive, that's healthy, that's constructive? For example, just the fact that you're meditating on this course is a good thing. Now, your critic might say, well, your meditation is terrible. Your attention's hopeless. And your loving kindness is really weak.

So we, from the critic's point of view, we review that negatively, but it's important to also look at, Hey, wait a minute, I'm actually meditating. And I'm trying to cultivate mindfulness and kindness. And so the intention is really of note, is worthy in and of itself, regardless of what happens in the meditation. And so it's as if we're learning to develop a new language, really. In a similar way, when you might work with a coach or a therapist or a trainer, they're mostly relating to you in an encouraging tone, trying to affirm what you're doing well, trying to affirm what's constructive.

And in a way, that's how we need to orient to ourselves, to appreciate the things that we like, the things that are positive, the things that are healthy that we're doing. And at the beginning, it will feel a little fake-like. It will feel fraudulent. In the same way that when we listened to the critic to evaluate our worth or not, our value, our efficacy, one of the things that we end up feeling like is an impostor, what's called imposter syndrome where we've listened to the critics so long that all we believe is what's wrong with us, our faults, our negativities. And so it's hard to actually see ourselves other than being an impostor.

But when we start to look at ourselves through this lens of a healthy, balanced perspective. We can see in any of our lives, there are positive, constructive, healthy things that we do and say, healthy and positive decisions we make. So we can begin to look at those, to acknowledge them, and then to offer ourselves words of appreciation or of gratitude. In the same way in the loving kindness practice and the compassion practice and self compassion practice and the forgiveness practice, we're learning to use words and phrases that are positive. May I be healthy.

May I be free from pain. May I forgive myself just as I am. And again, in the beginning, these may sound hollow or fraudulent, but over time we can begin to feel a genuine sense of wishing those for ourselves. And so we begin to shift the tone of that voice from negative to neutral, to positive. And of course this takes time, takes practice, but if you can imagine living with yourself with a kinder, more caring, more appreciative internal dialogue and narrative and voice, you can see how that would be a much healthier and happier way to be.

So the good news is you can do this. I've done this for many, many years and really felt the fruit of it. So I wish you well with this practice. Thank you for your practice. And I wish you well working with.

Shifting this self-talk the way that you relate to yourself, orienting it more towards the positive, rather than the negative and the fault-finding. So be kind, be caring to yourself. And please enjoy your practice. Thanks.

Talk

4.7

Why Does It Feel So Much Harder to Talk to Myself in a Positive Tone Than a Negative One?

Mark shares how we can use awareness and kindness to gradually shift our inner tone of voice from negative to positive.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hello, it's Mark Coleman here. I've been asked to answer the question, why does it feel so much harder to talk to myself in a positive tone than a negative one? Why does it feel so much harder to talk to myself positively rather than negatively? Or another way of asking the question is, why does positive self-talk feel fake, feel fraudulent? So this is a great question because when we've had a critic living in our head for years, decades, of course, what that does is it leaves the impression and the habit, the neural pathways of negativity. And so we begin to habitually look at ourselves and what we do, and we see, what we say and how we evaluate ourselves through that negative lens. And so the self-talk, the way that we talk about ourselves, the way that we ruminate, becomes very negatively slanted. I remember when I first started meditating when I was 19 and I learned the practice of mindfulness in England.

And I was shocked at how mean my mind was, how this voice of the critic was so harsh and so negative and so belittling and critical. And what was more surprising was I'd gotten so familiar to that, so used to that tone that it became just part of the living room furniture I was living with. And I knew that that was causing a lot of pain. It was making me feel depressed and angry and hurt and negative and reactive. And I knew something had to change, but I was so locked into that negative way of looking at myself, of talking to myself, criticizing myself that I knew it was going to take a bit of work.

One of the things that I started to do, I moved into a meditation center. And one of the practices I took up was to try and think of one thing positive about myself a day, one thing that I remotely liked or appreciated. Maybe it was, I'd, you know, worked well that day or I helped someone in a conversation, or I'd voted or I'd done some work helping the community that I was living in. And so beginning to reflect on myself in a positive way, rather than the habitual negative, critical way, actually began to, over time, shift the tone in my mind. It's as if we have a ledger and the critic is managing the ledger.

And the critic is a very negatively biased accountant, always registering the things you do wrong, your faults, the foibles and mistakes and deficiencies, and rarely actually entering the things you do well. And so as we start to try and shift our attention to also including, well, what do I like about myself? Or what can I appreciate? Or what can I acknowledge that's positive, that's healthy, that's constructive? For example, just the fact that you're meditating on this course is a good thing. Now, your critic might say, well, your meditation is terrible. Your attention's hopeless. And your loving kindness is really weak.

So we, from the critic's point of view, we review that negatively, but it's important to also look at, Hey, wait a minute, I'm actually meditating. And I'm trying to cultivate mindfulness and kindness. And so the intention is really of note, is worthy in and of itself, regardless of what happens in the meditation. And so it's as if we're learning to develop a new language, really. In a similar way, when you might work with a coach or a therapist or a trainer, they're mostly relating to you in an encouraging tone, trying to affirm what you're doing well, trying to affirm what's constructive.

And in a way, that's how we need to orient to ourselves, to appreciate the things that we like, the things that are positive, the things that are healthy that we're doing. And at the beginning, it will feel a little fake-like. It will feel fraudulent. In the same way that when we listened to the critic to evaluate our worth or not, our value, our efficacy, one of the things that we end up feeling like is an impostor, what's called imposter syndrome where we've listened to the critics so long that all we believe is what's wrong with us, our faults, our negativities. And so it's hard to actually see ourselves other than being an impostor.

But when we start to look at ourselves through this lens of a healthy, balanced perspective. We can see in any of our lives, there are positive, constructive, healthy things that we do and say, healthy and positive decisions we make. So we can begin to look at those, to acknowledge them, and then to offer ourselves words of appreciation or of gratitude. In the same way in the loving kindness practice and the compassion practice and self compassion practice and the forgiveness practice, we're learning to use words and phrases that are positive. May I be healthy.

May I be free from pain. May I forgive myself just as I am. And again, in the beginning, these may sound hollow or fraudulent, but over time we can begin to feel a genuine sense of wishing those for ourselves. And so we begin to shift the tone of that voice from negative to neutral, to positive. And of course this takes time, takes practice, but if you can imagine living with yourself with a kinder, more caring, more appreciative internal dialogue and narrative and voice, you can see how that would be a much healthier and happier way to be.

So the good news is you can do this. I've done this for many, many years and really felt the fruit of it. So I wish you well with this practice. Thank you for your practice. And I wish you well working with.

Shifting this self-talk the way that you relate to yourself, orienting it more towards the positive, rather than the negative and the fault-finding. So be kind, be caring to yourself. And please enjoy your practice. Thanks.

Talk

4.7

Duration

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Q&A on Negative Thinking null Playlist · 5 tracks

Q&A on Negative Thinking

Playlist · 5 tracks4.9

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