4 Types of Negative Self-talk That Are Holding You Back From Your Best Life
Go from surviving to thriving. You got this.
By SASHA TOZZI
I am 32 years old, and it has taken me three decades to figure out how to love myself. I have a bit of a checkered past full of addiction, mental health struggles and bad decisions, but now I know without uncertainty that it has molded me into the compassionate person, sister, daughter, friend and coach that I am today.
I entered recovery in 2011 and have been on this divinely arranged and zig-zagged journey ever since. My strongest addictions were to alcohol, uppers, food, cigarettes, love relationships, people-pleasing and perfectionism. My black-out, binge-drinking, pack-a-day smoker days lasted until just after I turned 26.
I turned to addictions for emotional comfort and stress relief, to fill a void, to chase a euphoric high, to numb out … always thinking more was better. I tried to self-treat my anxiety and depression.
Over time, I learned to give me and my body exactly what we needed, nothing more or less. I learned to honor myself and my range of emotions. I’m highly sensitive and empathic. I learned other sources of comfort and a list of ways to manage my stresses. I learned how to say no to others so I could say yes to myself.
I no longer wish to deprive, stuff, punish or bully myself. My new daringly imperfect lens is one of grace, humor and forgiveness. It’s been a wild journey back to self-love. Practice makes progress, not perfection.
It is my unwavering belief that we are all already whole and love-worthy. We may just need some help remembering.
Does your inner critic often trigger negative self-talk? Here are four types of negative self-talk that I often struggled with and new versions of the stories you can tell yourself to go from surviving to thriving. You got this.
1. I ’M NOT ENOUGH
This one is perhaps the most common but also the most perilous. When we don’t feel like we’re enough, we are constantly living in our own shadow and overcompensating for that felt sense of unworthiness. We may seek excessive validation or approval, act out in insecure and needy ways, and project our feelings of inferiority onto innocent bystanders.
There is nothing more you need to do to be worthy of this or that. You are enough purely by virtue of the fact that you exist. You are enough, you have enough and you do enough. I know it’s nearly impossible in today’s world (and possibly compounded by your own inner critic) to feel like this is true, but take my word for it. Many of the messages out there support high and unrealistic ideals, but just like what you choose to buy at the grocery store as a consumer, which is your choice and your choice only, you also choose what societal messages you consume and adopt as your own.
New story: I am so enough it’s not even funny. Not, like, in an arrogant way, but coming from a place of healthy self-esteem. Say it until you believe it. Say it to your inner child, the one who is pure and whole. That’s still you.
2. I’M NOT UNIQUE
It’s already been done. Someone’s doing it right now. What’s the point because my voice isn’t important. Any of this sound familiar? It’s the typical voice that comes in to sabotage any efforts toward creativity because what can I possibly offer that’s any different than what he or she does? This old story has killed many an artist before they even gave themselves a chance to bloom.
The simple fact is this: What you have to offer is everything, and you’re the only one who can offer it in this exact way, so you must create or do the thing you want to do. There is only one you. Authenticity is coded into our genes when we’re born. It’s just a matter of overriding the fear that says we have to be like everyone else. Be like yourself.
There is something particular that you and only you can do in this particular way. And the beauty is that we all have this. Some just don’t ever care to embrace what theirs is. You don’t need to go looking for it; you just need to notice it. And then be it.
New story: I am a unique being, and although there will be similar beings, there will never be an exact me again, ever.
3. IT’S TOO HARD
Too hard. This is one I hear often as a lifestyle coach. That the process of self-growth is or is going to be just too damn hard. And maybe they’re not up for the challenge or don’t think they have what it takes. It’s just going to take too long, and also, it probably won’t work, they say.
You do have what it takes. You were made with what it takes. I swear by this. Your challenges contain within them the solution to the challenge. It’s some kind of universal law or something. So, it is maybe hard, yes. But it’s not too hard. You are way harder.
New story: I am stronger than my struggle, and I am worth the work it takes. I’ve survived every hard day of my life so far, and I will survive more. The chasm between surviving and thriving is faith.
4. IT’S TOO LATE FOR ME
Maybe you think your time has passed or you missed your chance. Guess what? If you’re reading this, you have more tries. You have eternal tries. As long as you’re breathing, you get another chance. And when you think about it, it’s counterproductive to ruin more of your life because of how the past went down.
Start here in this moment, and finish off strong. What counts is not what happened yesterday or 5 seconds ago but what you do from here on out.
If you make the best of the rest of your time, you’re better off than doing nothing at all and/or complaining that it’s too late. No matter where we all started, we all continue from the same place, and that place is today.
New story: Time is a measurement, but “late” or “early” don’t really apply. What counts is what I do with this moment and making the most of each present moment, putting me in a great spot for the next moment.
Sasha Tozzi is a holistic health coach, yoga teacher, writer and humanitarian. A woman invested in her own long-term recovery, she writes about hope, healing and daily miracles on her website, sashaptozzi.com.