I am so dumb! I’m never going to be promoted.

I am so ugly! No one will ever want to love me.

I am so silly! How could my boss take my ideas seriously?

I are so fat! I’m never going to look good in a bikini on the beach.

Why is everyone else so happy and I’m not?

Is this all life is about? Feeling fat and miserable?

Why me?

Ever had these kind of silent war games going on in your head? Around and around and around they go like a stuck record. Day in day out, the constant whining of your negative self talk can become so ingrained it becomes your normal. I’m guessing you know exactly what I’m talking about otherwise why would you be reading this blog? I’m also guessing that you’re are very interested in knowing if it’s even possible to stop beating yourself up right?

Well it is, and I am going to tell you exactly how to do that. Before we get started, feel free to make yourself comfortable and put your phone on silent.Get ready to take notes while we change the record playing in your head.

When I first started out back in 2009 I used to teach my clients to consider their negative self talk as a radio station and to take notice of whether it was a station worth listening to. This way  they could learn to listen to their negative self talk and make choices what to do about it. Choices such as is it worth listening to? And if not to take action. Action like fine tune it, turn the volume down, or turn the damn thing off. Well dear reader, over the years I’ve tweaked my approach to this.For very good reasons. I still believe negative self talk is worth listening to from a learning perspective and in fact believe the more we can pay attention to it the more we can learn from it. But turning it off without learning the message is a missed opportunity. So I ask you, when was the last time you listened to your negative self talk? Remember the key word here is listened.

When was the last time you questioned this negative self talk?

My old swami used to say “observe and don’t participate in the monkey mind”. Almost 23 years later I realise that there are layers to this lesson. You see listening to your negative self talk requires you to stop joining the conversation with it. And instead have an enquiring mind. Now back to the lessons in the layers. Imagine these layers are stepping stones to help you understand what’s causing you to beat yourself up. Think of this like an emotional fitness workout. Follow these 5 stepping stones to strengthen your muscle memory and stop beating yourself up:

Step Stone One: Give yourself permission to observe your negative self talk. Just do that and in and of itself you have put a protective interruption in place.

Step Stone Two: Observe the tone and timber of the voice of your negative self talk. Is the voice yours or someone else’s? If it’s someone else’s, have you given this person personal power over you?

Stepping Stone Three: Ask yourself: “Is this negative self talk serving, supporting, nurturing and respectfully challenging me?” and “What am I getting out of this?”

Stepping Stone Four:  Give yourself permission to release and let this negative self talk go.

Stepping Stone Five: Take charge and take action! Because the trick is to come up with some new positive phrases to tell yourself. And to practice this as often as you can. Oh and be prepared to be surprised.

Your negative self talk has probably been trying to get your attention for some time. My intention is that you are now able to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow, to help you make better choices and to ultimately be kinder to yourself. It is impossible to fully receive love from another until you have truly loved, forgiven, accepted, trusted and respected yourself. Isn’t it time to stop worrying about what you think other people are thinking about you? Crazy thing is they probably aren’t thinking about you at all. In fact, they are more likely to be thinking about themselves – just like you.

If you’re new to this do what you can to strengthen your muscle memory with this new information. Practice loving yourself and being kind, caring, nurturing and supporting of YOU. For you to achieve long term change you need to work at this. See it as your new emotional fitness regime. And if it all sounds too daunting to do on your own and you want some help check out our Self Care Coaching packages and watch out for our Fast Track Self Care Quest. No matter what choice you make, please give yourself permission to get better at self care. Because that’s the secret sauce to stop beating yourself up.

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In 2000, Bronwyn Clee, together with others, pioneered the introduction or Restorative Justice practices into schools and community in the Northern Territory.

It is unique blend of experience … that has allowed Bronwyn to be good at communicating the importance of processes, which treat everyone with respect and dignity, and importantly, are capable of making a difference in the lives of those experiencing difficulties.

Bronwyn is a genuine and compassionate person who possesses considerable moral courage. She is prepared to challenge others in a respectful and constructive way.

Terry O'Connell OAM