Straight Talk on Self-Talk

“Gosh, what a stupid mistake I made.” “I’ll never be able to_________.” “I’m too old to learn ________.” “I feel like such a fake.”

Have these or similar thoughts ever run through your mind before? Do they happen on a regular basis? If so, you may want to learn how to “Reign in Your Brain.” Self-talk is essentially the inner dialogue we have with ourselves that can be either positive or negative, though unfortunately it seems to be typically not very self-supportive for many people.

As a woman with many female friends, acquaintances in my life to date, it seems like we, as a group are particularly hard on ourselves. Some of us talk to ourselves more harshly than we would ever speak to anyone else. We can be our own worst enemies. I can speak from personal experience, as my “Inner Critic” was brutal and ruminated 24/7 it seemed. Fortunately, out of frustration and with strong determination, I decided many years ago to do something about it, as it was causing me a lot of angst and insecurity. Between my voracious reading habits of old spiritual books, psychology books and eventually meditative practice, and dabbling in Esoteric practices I began to realize that “I was not my thoughts.” (This is now a neuroscience-backed statement, by the way.) This was key, for as long as we are subject to the chatter in our heads, we are also subject to the stress response reaction that this stimulates.

Yes, the self-talk when it is negative and toxic, actually turns on your brain’s stress response and affects your whole body’s physiology. Not good. So as you can see, not only can it be harmful to our self-esteem, confidence and work performance, it can lead to disease due to chronic stress stimulation. There have been studies associating low self-esteem with stress. This is no joke and should be taken seriously as a threat to well-being and happiness.

I emphasize this because some people, myself at one time included, also use self-berating to motivate behaviour of what we think is being “humble.” Self-deprecation is not “humility,” though I know it’s a common misconception. How we think and treat ourselves can also spill over into how we judge and treat others. It can even interfere with our ability to be empathetic, not only to ourselves, but to others as well. This is a concern in today’s workplace, where leadership and team collaboration depend on one’s ability to understand and “read” people. When we feel self-judgment and insecure, we are also more likely to be defensive and hard on others. Likewise, just the opposite can sometimes occur. Some people can act like “pleasers” and demonstrate poor boundaries, because their insecurity causes them to fear rejection and they become too afraid of being embarrassed. You cannot reclaim your true voice and values thinking like this.

Now here’s some straight talk to the women who are reading this blog. Women, historically and in the not too distant past were dependent upon those around them to take care of them and also to keep them safe. This is still very true in other countries to this very day. We have a history of not being able to vote, be educated, “do a man’s job” or even have our own credit line. In other words, being a pleaser or passive was a means of survival, and it was understandable. From a brain standpoint, our female ancestor’s mindsets can actually still be affecting our behaviour from a genetics standpoint, if we foster the tendency. Quite frankly, until a woman recognizes this and intends to muster up the courage to face her fears of criticism and negative self-talk, she will only reinforce this mindset in herself and possibly in her daughters. The more we allow our self-talk to run rampant, the deeper we continue to wire our brain in this negative way. There is neuroscience to support the fact objectively that can “reign in our brain” however I would prefer to call it renew our brain.

The way we focus our attention wires our brain, including self-talk. We can have our own brain scripts rewired and rewritten —on purpose with purpose. It will take learning how to “optimally operate” in the Spirit by renewing your mind by accepting the Lord as your Saviour by simply repenting all your sins and starting off on a new page having it Thaba Blanca just as you were born with no sin and no corruption or any conformity embedded in your brain all you have to learn is how to operate the new software in your brain just like a computer. You don’t have to know “how it works,” you simply need to understand that Jesus is your saviour and start living in His word and walk in His Wisdom. I learned that this was the only way to transform my mind and thinking, even though I didn’t realize at the time that I was literally “rewiring” my brain.

Now, with the help of the Holy Spirit helping me re-apply my life values and putting my new life into context , it is easier than it’s been in the past to learn how to transform your inner critic into your inner collaborator. This will lead to higher levels of self-esteem, confidence and ultimately performance in all areas of life. So, “who do you think you are?” Your answer will ultimately determine your destiny. It’s time for us all to get this straight if we want to live with passion, purpose and perform at our very best.

That Jesus is the Light and the Way. He gives us the power to Axe the tree and to get rid of all the dead branches, to create a new root system by planting it in His Living Water.

Lorraine Sutherland
Style, Etiquette,Communications,Business, Lifestyle & Success Coach.


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