Tackling Negative Self-Talk: Are You Lying to You?

Posted June 18, 2012 by Monica O'Connell in Life After Five

Quite a bit of my work with women is about negative self-talk. Somewhere along the way women have started to smack talk themselves, to tell themselves lies about their abilities and image of themselves. This is quite easy to do in our society. Glancing at any women’s magazine makes it appear as though within the July edition we should drop 25 pounds in 5 easy steps (because we need to drop 25 pounds), become a better girlfriend (because without proper technique we are failing) and in our spare time we can find 11 ways to look better naked.

The opportunity to compare self to others is vast.

What our brain doesn’t do a great job of discerning is that often we are comparing our insides to others’ outsides. That girl at the gym looks quite confident in the weights section and we second-guess ourselves. I’m not that confident, people might judge me if I go over there, I don’t know how to do what those people are doing. Perhaps this girl is naturally confident and it’s also possible that it took her about a year of calling on her bravery to be in the weight section of the gym alone and with confidence.

These negative self-thoughts swirling around in our heads can also be labeled as shame. And when they start stacking up in our head, I call that a “shame attack”. It’s often some variation of this sentence I’m not enough; pretty enough, smart enough, good enough. I don’t deserve to date him, to be happy, to try this. Ever had these pass thoughts pass through your head?

Here’s the shame secret, shame is a liar. A dirty rotten no good, very bad liar that we’ve gotten used to believing.

Here’s our goal for the week. Pay attention to how often shame is lying to you. Maybe it’s helpful to write it down or just keep a running tally in our heads. Next week, I’ll tackle what to do now that we know how often shame is lying to us.

About the Author

Monica O'Connell

Monica O’Connell is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her practice, she spends her career cheering on “Career Girls” as they learn how to get the most out of life. Monica works with arguably some of the most successful, intelligent, inspiring women in the Twin Cities who tackle self-discovery, career success, and what’s getting in the way of their true desires. She shares her favorite moments as those “best described not by words but by the stomach aching, face soreness that comes from spending an entire day laughing with loved ones.”