Paving a Road to Positive Self Talk

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ur mind is unbelievably powerful. It holds a strength that is so profound it is near impossible to thoroughly comprehend. While our mind can be our greatest shield and strongest protector it can also, at times, be our greatest enemy; feeding us a repetitive narrative of self-talk rich with self-criticism and hopelessness. This loop of negative self-talk can interfere with our confidence, our performance, our relationships, our self-care and our self-love. There is no realm of our lives that it does not touch.

I once heard an analogy, comparing our minds to a well-populated forest, rich with thousands upon thousands of strong, well-rooted trees. When we go along the same cognitive loop, allowing our self-talk to take similar form, it is as if we are taking a bulldozer, turning on the revving engine and plowing a circle through the forest. The more times we take this path, the smoother it becomes and the safer it feels. As time goes on, this path begins to feel like a sheltered refuge in the land of a thousand trees. For many of us, the path of self-criticism is well developed, fully smoothed and perfectly plowed. The problem is that while this path may be the best-paved path in our forest, it does not necessarily possess the smartest route, brightest views or lead us to the best destination.

Even with the understanding that our self-criticism does not serve us, practicing positive self-talk is not easy. Easy is taking that bulldozer around that well paved circle for the thousandth time where we know the route, the grooves in the road and every bump along the way. Easy is engaging in negative self-talk, for in this deep dark forest, it is safe and it is known, but it rarely takes us where we are hoping to go.

Practicing positive self -talk is like bulldozing a brand new circle in the forest. It feels dangerous, uncertain and daunting. Rerouting that bulldozer and taking it down a different path is terrifying. The first few times can be alarmingly bumpy and frighteningly shaky. However, the more times you bulldoze through that new circle the smoother it becomes and the safer it feels.

Changing your mindset is a big task, which requires a great amount of cognitive exertion. It requires us to make the unconscious conscious and become acutely aware of our own inner dialogue and how it benefits or deficits us. The process can be both challenging and frightening, at first. However, persistence is key. Eventually, if you plow that new circle enough times the road bumps will decrease in their frequency and strength.  With repetition and determination the narrative of self-love, self-encouragement and self-acceptance will feel easier. Revving up that engine for the first few times can be challenging, but remember that the road less traveled often yields the greatest rewards and you truly deserve to see what a road built on self-love can feel like, I promise the view is life-changing.

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