Do you ever have one of those off days (or even weeks, months, perhaps years?) where you’re super hard on yourself and nothing you do seems good enough?
I know I did.
My recent experience with unrealistic expectations and negative self-talk
When I first started teaching yoga I had super high (and very unrealistic) expectations of my capabilities as a brand new teacher. I would beat myself up about making small mistakes or not being ‘good enough’ as a teacher.
My unrealistic expectations and negative self-talk led to so much stress and worry that teaching yoga ended up becoming a dreadful thing to me. All of it just started a downward spiral leading to more negative self-talk. I could’ve avoided all the stress and worry, if I’d just been aware of how damaging my self-talk was. But of course, it’s so much easier to know better in hindsight!
Reflecting back on it now I should’ve allowed myself to be a beginner. I should’ve reminded myself that making mistakes is a natural part of learning something new. I should’ve given myself credit for stepping out of my comfort zone and guiding people through a full yoga class even though public speaking never came naturally to me (I still find it super nerve wracking sometimes).
But lesson learned (I hope!). I’ve gotten so much better at realising when I’m negative self-talking. By being aware I can stop doing it, before it gets out of hand, and actually start turn my thoughts into being more constructive.
The benefits of positive self-talk
The way we speak to ourselves in our own minds have a huge impact on the way we experience life, so for me it’s such a valuable tool to start noticing my thought patterns.
Positive self-talk can help us overcome fear, believe in our own capabilities, stand up for ourselves, and generally know our worth and keep going no matter, which challenges we face. Positive self-talk is also incredible valuable when we’re facing adversity on the road to achieving the goals we set for ourselves.
Negative self-talk on the other hand can really take a toll on our lives and actually amplify every unfortunate situation or feeling we have.
But here’s the good news: we can all learn how to combat negative self-talk by becoming aware of our thought patterns and change them into something, which serves us instead.
How to change from negative self-talk to positive self-talk
When I realise that I’m being really hard on myself, I try to ask myself whether those thoughts are imagined or exaggerated. If they are, I try think about it in a more helpful and constructive way.
Here’s a couple of examples of how you can start to do the same:
“I’m a mess”
“I can’t do this”
“I’m a failure”
“Why is this happening?”
“I suck at learning new things”
“I can do hard things”
“What is this teaching me?”
“I’m brave enough to step out of my comfort zone and try something new”