The sound of her fingertips was staccato on the keyboard and the breathless muttering was barely audible over the tapping
“…stupid…Ugh! Not again!…”
tap tap tap tap tap
“G, you are such an idiot!”
She looked up, a little exasperated at the intrusion. her eyes wanted to know why I interrupted but her mouth didn’t move.
“Would you let someone else do that?”
“Call you stupid” And I took a sip of coffee, waiting for the answer that I already knew.
She was adamant. “Of course not!”
“Then why is it OK for you to do it?”
And so began my conversation with a co-worker about negative self talk. So often we are unaware of the things that we say to ourselves. She might not have been made aware if I hadn’t listened to her go on and on as we temporarily shared an office.
“I didn’t realize I’d been talking out loud, that was the running commentary in my head…just pointing out my own mistakes, so that I can fix them and improve.”
Many of us would never smoke, knowing the damage it can do to our bodies. We protect ourselves from physical harm and try to make choices that are positive & beneficial…for ourselves and for our children.
Think of negative self talk as second-hand smoke. We’d never let a co-worker criticize us so blatantly, calling names and making personal judgements. But somehow it’s alright to criticize ourselves and use words that we wouldn’t tolerate from others. Just as second-hand smoke gets into our lungs and weakens them, those cutting words get into our heads and feed doubts and insecurities. The damage may not be as acute as with smoking directly but the lungs are never the same.