Wait… what you might say. What the yoyo is self talk and how am I a hostage to it In first place?
Ok sooo… self talk
is the concept you have about yourself. The things you think about yourself over and over and OVER. Such as many people have the one or other pound too many. But some define themselves by it and go as far as to claim no one could and should love them because of it. Or how you look soo good and how everyone should want to go out with you for it. There are many examples such as this, how one or a few traits get judged and this judgement then influences the entire view about yourself.
So let’s examine my self talk as an example: I frequently think I am not good enough. I think no one should want to deal with me because I have too many and too high demands. I think I am overly dramatic and egoistical. As a result of all this I did not even accept someone outside of family buying me ice cream as a child. I hated myself that much and thought it plainly obvious that no one else should give me anything but a cold shoulder. I am not much different today, except I slowly learnt how to accept minor gifts somewhat.
Now here is the funny part self talk is entirely arbitrary. Whether we love or hate ourselves has nothing to do with our actual qualities as a person. I bet most people can name at least one person who is incredibly full of themselves while lacking some fundamental capability to back that up. (If you can not think of someone, maybe consider some politicians? 😉 ). Equally I am sure most people can name someone they are incredibly fond of who is way to down on themselves. Who IS all that but does not know.
Different people prefer different character traits in other people so in all likelihood there will always be people who like any given person for any number of reasons and there will always be people who dislike the same person for any number of reasons. So by and large there is no reason for anyone to think everyone hates them or everyone loves them. Both are fallacies.
Where does our self talk originate?
Alternatively we may be hurt repeatedly and conceptualise why people keep hurting us. As young people normally overestimate their own influence in the world and underestimate reasons other people may have for their behaviour that have nothing to do with them we often come to blame ourselves for being wrong in some way and thus becoming the target. Then we tell this ourselves over and OVER again.
We do not question such conceptualisations or the things we are told very often, because this is subject to . Both what we are told, especially when young and the concepts we develop shape us, even if there is absolutely no reason to believe in any of the things we think about ourselves other than someone said so… repeatedly or we came to believe this is why things are the way they are.
How are we hostages to our self talk?
So let’s go back to my self talk and how this affects my life. Of course much of this is guesswork but I think most of my anxiety, depression and psychosomatic pain has a direct link to the toxic self talk I am having. For example I am anxious other people will reject me, because this has happened very often already. I expect it and thus am tense, defensive, afraid and passive. I conjure the specters of my past up, every time I met someone. Since it is not pleasant to interact with someone who is that caught up with past demons my fear of reject and my anxiety become a self fulfilling prophecy.
The depression is of course hot on the heels of the anxiety. I see so many things I am not able to do and crumble under it. Mind you with all the obstacles being located within my head. I do not have any physical illness. But this does not matter much if the psychosomatic pain is bad enough to make me cry again.
Not being able to forge relationship which help me out of this my self talk exists in a vacuum and meets no opposition whatsoever. You can practically see the drama unfold. How the demons in my head are now so very comfortable that it is unreasonable to expect them to be thrown out easily. Which of course means the war in my head is raging on. This becomes a war for my very existence as these demons obviously hate me so much they see no reason why I should be alive. Even if all of this only happens in my head this is very real and very draining.
How does one overcome toxic self talk?
The way out is very clear. I need to stop engage with this vile pile of bile. This is a fight I can not win by battling my opponent directly. I am a highly clever and ressourceful person, if there was a way to win this fight I would have found it. This hydra has too many heads and I am too weak. I need to be smart about this. Since I developed these concepts and views by repeating them over and over again, I can just as simply tell myself something else I do not believe in. It does not matter if what I am telling myself is factually true or not. We are talking about emotional truths here and they do not respond all that much to logic.
If I repeat it often enough I will begin to belief it, this is how one retrains ones brain. I found to be a good starting point to find things I am going to tell myself over and over and over. As it took some decades of repetition to arrive where I am today mentally, this will take some time to undo, years maybe. But all negative self image aside I am a very determined and though cookie.
My goal will be to develop a healthy view of self, neither too full nor too empty about myself. I will take action and become the boss in my own head. I will become the person I want to be and nothing my parents or anyone else thinks is going to change my goals. Because now I actually will do something that actually reflects having an ego independent from my parents egos. They will rave and rant and I will only see confirmation of my new bias.
The funniest thing about the self talk is that is does become a self fulfilling prophecy. We attract people who think about us the way we think about us. If we think we are all that we will have friends who think we are all that and who will help us prosper in life. If we think we are a waste of space and time, no one will bother with us or just exploit us, because we will not put a stop to it. So at the end of the day if it really is as simple as to take (quite an amount of) time to reprogram our brain by rote repetition of whatever content we choose to become a better person there is no one who can stop me. Autistic people have a thing going for repetition after all. My thoughts are my own to command and conquer.
I really hope more and more people will join me in kicking toxic self concepts in the curb, because let’s face it: nothing is to blame for your self talk than your judgement of the fact. Many overweight, disabled, autistic, whatever people date, are successful and have friends. Because you are dealing with a person, not a surface.