Are you one of those people who, like me, sometimes (often) talk to themselves poorly? Saying things to yourself with that voice in your head that you would never consider saying to someone you cared about? But you say it to yourself. You berate yourself and, especially when you’re feeling challenged, recite a laundry list of reasons why you suck and will never be a success. I’ve been there. And done that. Still do it. But why…?
It’s because we hate ourselves. Kidding. The truth is, I really don’t know why we do it. Maybe it’s the need for certainty. Meaning, if we fail at whatever we’re pursuing, we don’t have to be disappointed because we already beat ourselves to the punch. Or maybe we don’t feel we’re deserving of being happy or having money or being desirable. Or maybe we do hate ourselves and just like to make sure we know it. I don’t know. Here’s what I do know…
Being super critical of yourself is NEVER helpful. It only helps to make you feel the way you talk to yourself: Bad. Worthless. A failure. Fat. Dumb. Untalented. The list goes on… But how do we fix it?
Step 1: Notice It
It’s pretty easy to do actually. Whenever you might be feeling down or anxious, take note of the dialogue in your head. How are you talking to yourself? In a positive and loving way? Like you would talk to your best friend who was having a tough time? Or are you trash-talking yourself and adding fuel to the pain and shame fire?
Step 2: Stop It
Stop it. Don’t do that. Stop talking badly at yourself and start talking to yourself as if you were cheering on your best friend. Treat yourself as your own best friend. Tell yourself how awesome you are. How hot. How fun and likable. How inspiring. Just fill up your mind with positivity and don’t allow any space for negative thoughts. Do that for as long as it takes to convince your mind to stop finding things to criticize. It will take a lot less time than you might think.
As simple as that: Positive Thinking
That’s two steps. It’s that simple. “But, Michael it’s NOT that simple.” Oh yes, it is. It’s a simple matter of choice and you have total control over it. But don’t take my word for it. Just ask Dr. Eric G. Potterat, Force Psychologist, Naval Special Warfare Command. Dr. Potterat has 20 years experience in the Navy. Much of that time was spent helping Navy SEALs with the extreme psychological demands of their training and missions. Dr. Potterat found that positive self-talk was a major determining factor of a SEAL’s performance. In fact, they found that those who talked to themselves in a positive way had a much greater chance of completing their basic training (which is arguably the toughest military training in the world). If this technique works under some of the most extreme and challenging conditions a human being can face, it can certainly work for any of us in our day-to-day lives.
As a photographer, how does this help my clients on-camera? Quite simply: You will be FAR more attractive on-camera if you’re cheering yourself on while that lens is pointing at you rather than berating yourself. Do you think Kim Kardashian talks to herself in any other way other than awesome when she’s posting those selfies? HECK NO. And with 82.6 MILLION Instagram followers, she knows a thing or two about a thing or two.
The next time you catch yourself berating yourself, stop that, flip the script and speak to yourself as you would your best friend. You’ll thank yourself later.