One of the most impactful things I’ve learned recently is the importance of your inner self-talk. It can truly make or break your day, and can make the difference in how you see the world. This post gets a little rambly, but I have a lot to say about self-talk, so bear with me.
Let’s get real: the area I have experienced this the most is dating. Like many 20somethings these days, I feel like I’m fumbling my way through the dating world a bit. I’ve met people “in real life”, through friends, and through a variety of dating apps. The worst part of any dating situation is that weird part where you don’t know what’s going on and you don’t know where you stand with the other person. Is he taking forever to text back because he hates looking at his phone, or to play games, or because he’s really busy, or because he doesn’t like me? Did he swipe left because my profile isn’t funny enough? Was I too chatty for him on that date?
Honestly, 90% of the time, the reason has nothing to do with you and everything to do with him. Remember when you had that crazy deadline at work and it was all you could do to eat and sleep, and you just didn’t even want to think about dating at the time? Remember when you deleted your app after swiping right on a bunch of guys one night? Remember when your dog got super sick and you spent all your emotional energy on taking care of her, and nothing seemed as important as getting her healthy, and you couldn’t even fathom talking to another human being about the weather? (Okay, maybe that last one is from personal experience…)
Everyone is going through something, everyone is living life. And chances are, he didn’t swipe right because something didn’t vibe right.
But you know what? That’s the biggest favor he could have done for you. He is showing you that he is not right for you. He is showing you what he would act like if things got more serious. He is showing you that his priorities lie elsewhere right now. And instead of being angry at him, or getting down on yourself because you did something wrong, try something completely different: thank him.
Thank him for subtly showing you that he doesn’t have time to date right now – better now than 3 dates in once you’re emotionally invested, right?
Thank him for helping you make this decision about who you want to share your deepest, most precious self with just a little bit easier. You are special, and amazing, and wonderful, and you have friends and family who love you and want you to be as happy as possible. Why would you want to let in someone who doesn’t share your passions, your interests, your values? He is showing you that something doesn’t click, and that is great, because it means you can spend more time with people who matter, searching out a person you will click with.
And you know what? Sometimes it isn’t that he was busy, or sick, or tired, or deleted his dating app. Sometimes he really just wasn’t interested. If he’s not interested, say a silent “thank you” to him for allowing you to let go and move on.
This doesn’t just apply to dating, though I really do feel that dating is the area where people tell themselves stories and put themselves down quite a bit more than other areas.
For me, another area this comes into play is my health. I have an internal story that says “Kim, if you do everything right, and take the right steps every day, you will not have a migraine. If you get a migraine, it means you did something wrong.” Um, no. That’s just wrong. It has taken me a long time to see that sometimes there were factors out of my control, such as the weather. Seriously, I get migraines from THE WEATHER that do not respond to medication! And you know what? That is my body’s way of saying, girl, I need to deal with something so you best take it easy or I’m gonna knock you on your back until you give me what I want. That doesn’t mean I did something wrong, or if I had eaten just the right things the day before I would magically cure myself. It means there are other forces I need to surrender to. And don’t get me wrong: shifting my internal monologue from “you messed up” to “something in your body is messed up” has been tough. But i have to say, I feel much more peaceful, and I am able to ask for help much more easily, when I disconnect the attachment and the emotion from my migraines.
My migraines are not a reflection of who I am as a person. Just like the guys who say “no thanks” to me are not a reflection of me either. Both of these are showing me that I am precious and special, and I can make choices about how I treat myself. And both of these are pushing me to treat myself just a little bit better.
You can apply this to really everything in life. Didn’t get that job you had your heart set on? Maybe there was something super specific they were looking for, and they could tell you weren’t quite the right fit…thank them for it. Thank them for releasing you from a situation that wasn’t going to be fruitful for you. Find another place where your strengths will shine.
There are countless ways you can apply this in your everyday life. Think back on your day today. Did you think, “Ugh I did that wrong” at all today? I know I did. Ask yourself, did I really do something wrong? Or is there another way I can explain what happened? Chances are, you can spin your self-talk from doing things wrong to being grateful for the opportunities and blessings you do have. Try to find a new perspective on one thing each day as you’re getting into bed, and then work on stopping yourself in the moment next time too. Self-talk is a muscle you need to strengthen, so the more you practice, the faster you’ll be able to stop those mean words in their tracks and replace them with positivity and support.