Photo © Francisco Moreno on Unsplash

We have all seen those self-help books, and online advertisements, from people saying that if you can change your thoughts, your frequency, you can change your life — that we are all stuck in a mire of negative self-thinking, and it is keeping us from reaching our true potential. And it’s true. Many of us are caught in circular thinking, constantly listing all our negative qualities. I know I do, and it was literally destroying my life.

I can’t even tell you how many times I thought about doing something, trying something, or changing something in my life. And this little voice would come out of the shadows of my mind and start saying things like, “You can’t do that. You aren’t good enough. You are worthless. You aren’t pretty enough. You aren’t talented enough.” Or, my absolute favorite, “You are just trying to get attention.”

I spent most of my adult life saying these things to myself. Then, of course, I found all those self-help books, and read article after article on how changing your thought processes can change your life and your view of yourself. I tried all the suggestions presented in those articles, and I saw results! It was amazing. If I just say how grateful I am, my life can change! But, every time something went wrong, those little voices came back with a vengeance!

One day, it got me thinking about where all that negative self-talk really came from. Why do I say these horrible, hurtful things to myself? I sat, I meditated. I shined a light into all the dark corners of my mind where these negative words were hiding, and I asked the universe to help guide me on this little journey. I repeated those words, but with love in my heart for them, because I knew that they had something to teach me. I sat, and I waited. And something interesting happened.

Those voices started to change. They were no longer my voice, but voices from my past. They were the voices of my family, my school mates, my ex-lovers. They were voices of people whom I had looked up to, loved and should have been protected by. And, the realization that changed my life and hit me like a ton of bricks.

My inner voice was not my own. It was the culmination of voices from my past that were not so kind to me. Other voices who told me I was worthless, that I was a drama queen. That I was just looking for attention, I was too loud. Or that I would never amount to anything. The other voices became my inner voice.

It made me understand that all the negative self-talk wasn’t really me. It wasn’t how I would talk to myself if I had learned differently. My voice was strong, my voice was beautiful, my voice was loving. Coming to this understanding made me wonder if this isn’t the case for everyone who is struggling with self-image and struggling to find their own self-worth and place in the world.

Now, every time I see someone tear themselves down with negative self-talk, I want to stop and ask them, “Who said that to you first? Who told you that you weren’t good enough?”

Being able to see that my negative self-talk came not from me, but from those who said these things to me, really helped me to find my voice, and find my path. And, it has also helped me to be able to change that negative self-talk. Now, every time I start to hear those words pop into my mind, it is easy for me to silence them, and tell them they have no place in my heart and mind.

So, the next time you start to doubt yourself, the next time you start that negative self-talk, pause a moment, and ask yourself, “Is this really my voice? Or is this a voice from my past?” Then, listen to that voice, with love in your heart, and let it go. Because you are not the voices of others. You are the you that you want to be.

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