An Exercise In Listening

Ok here’s an idea. Stop what you’re doing for a minute and do a little mindfulness meditation of sorts on how you speak to yourself. Are you positive or negative? Do you sometimes sneak in a little self-bashing verbal slip when no one is listening?

While many of us at one time or another are our own worst critic, it’s important to check in with yourself every now and then to become really aware of how you treat yourself.

Checkout this recent HMI post from Marc Gravelle on the difference between hearing and listening. According to Gravelle, people don’t really listen to what they tell themselves. As a result, they perpetuate negative self-talk habits in their lives. One solution is to use practices like meditation to become an observer to the negative speak so that you can create some objectivity which in turn can lead to a change in behavior.

Have you ever noticed that what people tell themselves, they often live out, or realize? An example is the person who tells themselves “it’s going to be a lousy day,” experiences just that: a lousy day. The person who tells themselves “I’m going to hate this,” ends up disliking (or even hating) whatever that experience was.

The reason this occurs is that we are all the most suggestible to one person in our lives, and that person is us. Whatever we suggest (tell ourselves) to ourselves, we usually experience, or live out, that suggestion. Another example is when a person tells themselves “it’s going to be a long day,” to them the day may seem to never end.

Being aware of this simple concept or idea, that we are the most suggestible to ourselves, can be most helpful to the person who talks negatively to him or herself. The kind of person who says to themselves (verbally, or just in their own head), “I can’t do anything right,” or, I’m such a loser,” or, “I’ll never meet the right person.”

The effect of this negative self-talk is that it keeps the person stuck, and unable to improve their lives for the better, and thus, are happier.

The first step to correcting this condition is to become more present and consciously aware of how we talk to ourselves. This step creates a new possibility: that we can replace the negative self-talk with more positive self-talk.

Read more from Gravelle on becoming aware of how you speak to yourself here.

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