Are you exhausted without understanding why? Are you ready to give up before you even try? Do you complain a lot about this or that? Do you criticize yourself at the drop of a hat? If you’re looking for ways to overcome negativity, read on to find out how to turn your situation around…with the help of your voice! This week’s exercise is about upgrading your inner dialogue.
As human beings we focus more on the negatives because we’re wired to survive. The problem is we suffer. How can we get out of the negative thought-feeling-speech-behaviour cycle that reinforces suffering, and create more peace and happiness?
It is said that the most important words are the words you say to yourself. Your physical voice is a powerful tool which can be used to transform your everyday experiences through conscious communication. Over the next few weeks I’ll share with you some insights and exercises to help you transform your dull and dreary moments into bright and astonishing discoveries!
As Thich Nhat Hanh explains in his book The Art of Communicating, “Without suffering there would be no happiness. Suffering and happiness always go together. If we don’t understand suffering, we don’t understand happiness.”
Exercise 1 – UPGRADE YOUR INNER DIALOGUE
Observe your thoughts and self-dialogue – including emotions, feelings, language (words & phrases), and even tone of voice. Since much of our inner dialogue is unconscious, the clearer you can get on each of these parts the more you’ll start to understand what you’ve been dealing with and how it makes you feel.
Buy a small notebook and for 1 week pay close attention to your inner dialogue. Spend some time each day (e.g., 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening) to write down the things you say to yourself. You can schedule time to write or do it spontaneously throughout your day with your notebook at your side. Do this for 1 full week. At the end of the week review your notes and ask “What have I discovered about my inner dialogue?“ and “How does it make me feel?”
With this expanded awareness, you can start to disrupt the negative cycle by introducing new self-supportive thoughts, language and attitudes in place of the old discouraging script.
For example, when you make a mistake you might say to yourself “I’m such an idiot!” or “I’m so stupid!”. About another person, you might say “the bloody construction worker is late!” Having someone to blame gives us a sense of power in the moment, but over time the energy of those words takes it’s toll on our self-esteem and our prevailing disposition. You would probably not speak to a friend or loved one with such harsh words, so why do it to yourself? You can still acknowledge that a mistake was made without being so punishing. Replace self-reproach with a supportive dialogue such as: “I didn’t mean for this to happen. I’ve been so busy with work this past week that it slipped my mind.”
Take action this week: Try out the exercise and let me know how it goes for you.
I’d love to hear from you!
Co-creating a better world through our inner dialogue!