“Bunkum and tummyrot! You’ll never get anywhere if you go about what-iffing like that…we want no whatiffers around here.”
– Roald Dahl [Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator]
Roald Dahl quotes, don’t you just love them?!
Negative Whatiffing Self-Talk
However you see it, the stream of self-talk flowing through our minds is super powerful.
Set on a continuous loop, these thoughts tend to do one of two things:
- empower us to thrive, living resiliently to stress and in alignment with our life vision.
- discourage us, letting fear and further self-criticism in, holding us back from vision, affecting the ability to master stress.
Often we are not even aware of our thoughts. It’s as if the volume is dialled down so to avoid our conscious attention. On continuous loop. Until we make a choice to interrupt it.
I’m curious, could you do with a new inner playlist this summer?
With summer vacays in full swing, not to mention the UK heatwave, I’ve been reminded of the year we spent an extended vacation on the island of Bali. Just me, the husband and three kids together for 7-weeks. Idyllic, right? Well, yes – in many ways it was. We have beautiful memories and a weighty printed photo book as a memoir of the adventure.
As I recall the memories of belly laughs, cobalt skies and coconut palms, I’m reminded of one particular afternoon siesta with all 5 of us together lounging on a single beach bed, in the shade, reading our books.
Rather than relaxing, this pause brought with it a dramatic dial-up of the volume on my own inner playlist.
As everyone else’s breathing deepened, my breath became more shallow. Their books fell to the sand as they fell into sweet slumber.
Maybe you can relate? Taking a siesta, beautiful surroundings, near to perfect conditions, yet void of any sense of relaxation, the volume on my thinking dialled right up.
Amidst the mental list making (we were due to relocate again on our return to London), I noticed my thoughts – discouraging AND so familiar. That continuous loop, running without any conscious permission on my part, feeding all manner of tendencies:
“I can’t….” “I’m not….” “What if I fail?” “I don’t have what it takes…”
“I’ll wait until….” “This won’t work because I am…”
“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.”
My awareness of the inner mental playlist has grown over the last few years. With a husband in the military, I’ve come to understand the truth in this statement “More life can flow from a man from his thoughts than through a gaping wound”.
A Starter Sequence to Help Create Your New Inner Playlist
I want to offer you this sequence to help interrupt your current inner playlist.
Before we know it, we’ll be dancing or striding out to a different beat. Anyone up for THAT?!
Beyond this, the create a playlist analogy keeps everything “light”, and is super easy to remember and refer back to in the future. Bonus!
Off we go!
– Desire: firstly, we need to want to create the new list. Time to let go of the negative “what-iffing…?” and the discouraging “I’m nots..” Take a moment to connect into this desire to be done with the these negative thoughts. It helps to focus our attention.
– Download: now we want to download ALL the self-talk you can recall, as quickly as possible. That which empowers you AND that which discourages you. Take a pen, and ask yourself, what beliefs do I knowingly speak over myself, get it all down. Keep asking yourself, “and what else?” we want to access it all – that booming loud and clear, and that subtly in the background. Let your pen flow, no analysis required, try not to overthink it – oh the irony! Once done, take a moment to highlight all the words which are positive and affirming. And take another few moments to release the rest.
– Describe: Next, we need to be clear on the why? for our new inner playlist. If you were actually creating a list in Spotify, this would be the description field, the step before you start selecting individual tracks. Setting a description helps to provide focus, to anchor to a particular goal, accomplishment of an upcoming project, or broader vision. For those of you who connect with a bigger story, this is a good place to acknowledge your faith, to look outwards for perspective and direction.
– Define: Then, just as you would on Spotify, you now want to select the positive self-talk tracks and beliefs and drop them in. Start by writing down the empowering thoughts/beliefs you highlighted in your initial download. Review what you have, check back in with your description and ask yourself what else is needed so to be complete. Add those new tracks in, and yes – I encourage you to be bold!
– Done: Now, time to check your list for completion. I suggest you take a few moments to allow ourselves to get emotionally connected to it, to dial-up the sensations of the experience of embracing your day out of this empowered self-talk. For example: “I’m courageous. I’ve got this. I’m learning. I don’t need to have all the answers. I generate fun. I see the gold in others. I’m loved. I’m present. I choose joy. I stay ready. I own it. I’m all in. I take action. I love well. I choose to speak life. I move forward” How does THAT feel?
– Press Play: this is where we integrate, we choose to press play, to allow this to be the playlist on continuous loop. Why? Because it means more to us! We set some intention to get curious, to catch our thoughts and reactions when they are out of alignment, and with no judgment we acknowledge them, let them pass, take a breath and reset – in your mind’s eye, select those life giving tunes again. Gradually, we end up deleting the discouraging tracks. And our self-talk has shifted for good.
Simplified? Well yes, this was my intention, to offer you something to get curious around, to help you build resilience and health through mastering that wonderful mind of yours.
If you’d like to find out more about my 1-2-1 signature system and group coaching programmes, do book a discovery session with me, today. I’d to love to connect!
Enjoy those new tracks 🙂
Let’s do this!