The Self-Talk Shift For When You’re Feeling Behind Everyone Else In Life

The Self-Talk Shift For When You’re Feeling Behind Everyone Else In Life

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True or False: I’m able to distance myself from what other people are doing and avoid the comparison trap.


Maybe you think I’m not affected by ‘what other people are doing’ because all of my work is about being proactive and building a strong sense of self and all that kind of stuff BUT!!!! Guess WHAT!

I’m human!

I get affected by what other people are doing, and how they do it, all the time. No way am I exempt.

HOW I get affected has changed, though. Whereas I used to compare myself to other people and berate myself for not being as good or professional or ‘together’ as someone else…

…now what usually happens is I just get SAD. Or exasperated. The negativity doesn’t question my potential – it questions my ability to reach it to its fullest.  

Does that ever happen to you? You’re not jealous and you’re not really even self-deprecating…the self-talk that’s coming up isn’t:

I’m a failure. 

I’m not successful like they are.

She’s doing THAT way better than I am.

The self-talk is more along the lines of:

I’m exhausted.

I’m doing everything I can and it’s just not cutting it. 

I’m so behind.

I can’t believe I’m still HERE. 

If I only had [fill in blank], this wouldn’t be so hard.

It can be frustrating seeing what other people are able to do with their resources, their connections, and their privileges – and telling yourself to celebrate what they’re doing instead of telling yourself that you’re in competition with them (which is a good idea, because there is enough room for ANYONE and EVERYONE) won’t magically make those feelings of frustration magically disappear. Celebrating others and feeling down about your work, progress, or Self aren’t mutually exclusive.

This happens most often for me on a professional level – but it also rears its head personally. I compare what I’m able to do with what someone who has a financially robust support system, like a high-earning partner or a wealthy family, is able to do. I compare my work days at home in my studio apartment (where I cowork with my husband) with people who have homes with dedicated offices or even just doors that can close besides the door to the bathroom. I compare myself to people who have cars to sing in (which is one of my favorite ways to blow off steam), people who have home gyms, people who live mere minutes from their families or best friends…as you can see this kind of thinking is NOT productive. And this kind of thinking can become really detrimental, because then what happens is that I start to frame choices I’ve actually made for my best well-being in a negative light, and all the sudden the negative self-talk loop starts, and just keeps going. 

What Is A Negative Self-Talk Loop?

A negative self-talk loop is when the demeaning and degrading story we tell ourselves about ourselves or our life not only plays on repeat in our brain, but leads to even more demeaning and degrading thoughts. Since negative self-talk thrives off of uncertainty, it makes complete sense that it’s been having a field day for so many of us in so many ways throughout 2020 in particular.

When you’re in the negative self-talk loop of ‘I’m trying and it’s not enough,’ ‘I’m so behind,’ or even just ‘Why does this have to be so hard,” try this reframe:

Do the very best with what you’ve got…and the best for what’s next.

 

Do The Very Best With What You’ve Got…

Do the very best with what you’ve got. And remember that what you have could be something that someone else longs for. Some of those things are superficial (like the layout/size/location of your home) or based in choice (like whether or not you have kids). Someone who lives alone might be longing for the interactions a family would provide. Someone who has a spouse or a kid or both might be longing for even just an hour of solo time. The proverb ‘grass is always greener’ became a proverb for a reason. Everyone – EVERYONE – has their breaking points, or stuff that just makes things harder than it is for others.

And then of course there are all the barriers to entry that are so very beyond superficial and so very beyond choice. No, not every one of us has every single privilege, but we all hold SOME sort of privilege in comparison to others. I’m in my 30s, I’m white, I’m cis-gendered, I’m able-bodied, I’m a college graduate, I’m a size that society doesn’t actively exclude…there are so many aspects of who so many of us are that give us a massively unfair edge over others in our society. If you’re reading this, it means you have access to the internet, which I recently learned more than HALF the world still doesn’t have. There are so many systemic barriers to entry that exist for so many people when it comes to them living the life that they’d love to be living.

This isn’t a post to tell you to suck it up and put on your big kid pants and pull that twisted parental BS so many kids in my generation got about finishing the food on our plates because of the vast amount of starving people there are in the world. Nope. I am so over that shame and blame game.

Guilt, as I told my brother the other day on one of our heart to heart calls, is one of the most useless emotions – not always – but most of the time. Because most of the time, guilt, leads to shame, and shame leads to silence, and silence gets us nowhere. As WANTcast guest Christen Brandt, co-founder of She’s the First, said in Episode 71, if you’re feeling guilty about your own privilege, that’s actually a sign it’s time to do something WITH it.

Do the very best with what you’ve got, and the best for what's next. Click To Tweet

…And The Best For What’s Next.

When you start to go down this path, and then you think of all that others don’t have, and maybe the guilt and shame starts to bubble up, repeat to yourself: I will do the best with what I’ve got, and the best for what’s next.

The what’s next part is so important here. Because sometimes (not always, but sometimes) when we focus so intently on the ‘what we’ve got’ part, we forget to look forward. Life is a dance between the past, the present, and the future – doing the best with what we’ve got and the best for what’s next encompasses all three. We’re doing in the present, working with what the past has brought us, and building toward the future.

This past-present-future mindset not only allows you to embrace where you’ve been and where you are, but also look for ways you can enhance and improve life – your own AND others’ – in the future.

When it comes to life enhancement and improvement, it’s really easy to get stuck looking in your rear view mirror. I know I’ve definitely found myself in positions where I’m kicking myself, rhetorically wondering WHY didn’t you start sooner? WHY didn’t you have that conversation? WHY didn’t you speak your mind? WHY WHY WHY

…and it’s usually because I was so wrapped up in whatever my perceived roadblock was, that I forgot that the present moment is ALSO a step away from the past and into the future.

No moment lives on its own, by itself. Every moment is intertwined with both all the ones that have come before it and all the ones that will come after it. Sometimes it’s SO hard for me to just do the best with what I’ve gotten in the past and what’s in front of me in the present. But when I can remember that this moment is also in service of whatever is next, it’s that super small but ultimately seriously meaningful change that can help me keep going WITHOUT getting stuck in my own negativity loops.

Use what you have now and what’s led you here in the best way you can, and set your future up for success as well. Click To Tweet

Set Your Future Up For Success.

My hope is that we’ll someday untangle being perfect with being right. And we’ll stop confusing doing the BEST with doing the best you CAN.

So whether that’s finding a way to get your business running from your studio apartment, or taking job interviews while also taking care of your kids, or feeding yourself nourishing dinners when the grocery shelves are barely even stocked, or helping your household become actively anti-racist, or whatever it is for you, try that reframe. Do the best with what you’ve got and the best for what’s next.

Use what you have now and what’s led you here in the best way you can, and set your future up for success as well. Know that the now isn’t the forever, and the cool thing about that is there are tangible things you can do right now that your future self will thank you for.

Like Maya Angelou said, Do the best you can until you know better, then when you know better, do better. Put it on loop, and just keep going.

WANTcast Episode 109: Do The Best With What You’ve Got And The Best For What’s Next

WANTcast Episode 109: Do The Best With What You’ve Got And The Best For What’s Next

the WANTcast

A negative self-talk loop is when the demeaning and degrading story we tell ourselves about ourselves or our life not only plays on repeat in our brain, but leads to even more demeaning and degrading thoughts. And since negative self-talk thrives off of uncertainty, it makes complete sense that it’s been having a field day for so many of us in so many ways throughout 2020 in particular.

 

If the self-talk coming up for you right now is along the lines of: “I’m exhausted. I’m doing everything I can and it’s just not cutting it. I’m so behind. I can’t believe I’m still HERE. If I only had [fill in the blank], this wouldn’t be so hard.”…then this episode is for you.


SHOW NOTES:
Episode 71 with Christen Brandt

WANT website
Katie’s Instagram
Leave a review on iTunes!
Subscribe to The (Good) Word, our monthly email digest filled with tips, tools, motivation, and inspiration to shift your self-talk

This episode is in support of Small Projects Istanbul. Small Projects Istanbul is dedicated to helping those displaced by the conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, or the M.E.N.A. region, rebuild their lives. They do this through supporting community development, education and empowerment. Their Community Centre is designed to be a place of safety and belonging; and within this space they are committed to working with the community to ensure the best opportunities for families, students and individuals to reach their full potential in Istanbul and beyond. Within the Community Center, SPI strives to provide livelihood support opportunities through the establishment of a Women’s Social Enterprise, enabling skills development, income generation and economic integration. To get involved or to donate, visit smallprojectsistanbul.org

WANTcast Episode 108: The Life-Changing Power Of Turning Off Your Notifications with Kelsey Patel

WANTcast Episode 108: The Life-Changing Power Of Turning Off Your Notifications with Kelsey Patel

the WANTcast

Burnout and overwhelm are timeless and can show up any time, any where, around any THING. Kelsey Patel is one of Hollywood’s leading wellness and reiki experts, as well as newly published author of Burning Bright: Rituals, Reiki, and Self-Care to Heal Burnout, Anxiety, and Stress. She is not only a sought-after spiritual empowerment coach, yoga teacher, reiki healer and meditation teacher, but also a multi-faceted entrepreneur and inspirational speaker. She is the creator and founder of Magik Vibes, a soul-enhancing lifestyle brand, which is also the name of her wellness-meets-spirituality podcast. Patel is an expert on burnout and conscious capitalism, facilitating workshops and giving keynote addresses for organizations such as Free People, Aerie, GOOP, and more.

Kelsey’s first book, Burning Bright is a path out of pain, anxiety, burnout, and overwhelm, and shows you the tools you already possess to heal through unique rituals, reiki, and self-care practices.

This episode was recorded a few months back, specifically to address coronavirus-related burnout and overwhelm, and how to transition from what we’ve been calling the ‘For-Now Normal’ to what will eventually be our new normal. Kelsey shares so many ACCESSIBLE tools we can use to, as the artist Bansky once said, “Learn to REST, not QUIT.” Listen for more on this in the episode.

Additional listening centered specifically around burnout while doing anti-racism work, and leaning into wellness as a person of color:

PAUSE ON THE PLAY
Episode 42: How To Avoid Burnout As An Imperfect Ally

BLACK GIRL IN OM

 


SHOW NOTES:

Burning Bright
Website
Instagram
Magik Vibes podcast

WANT website
Katie’s Instagram
Leave a review on iTunes!
Subscribe to The (Good) Word, our monthly email digest filled with tips, tools, motivation, and inspiration to shift your self-talk

 

This episode is in support of Reclamation Ventures, a family of brands reclaiming our right to be well. They create conversations, invest in the best talent, and support innovative programs to transform wellness – for all of us. They believe “that when we elevate the capacity of diverse wellness leaders to thrive, we can start to close the wellness gap and increase health equities in communities that need it most.” To get involved, click here.

WANTcast Episode 107: Feeling Myself, Feeling Myself

WANTcast Episode 107: Feeling Myself, Feeling Myself

the WANTcast

Take a cue from Queen Bey and Nicki – this episode of the WANTcast is all about the power of touch and how it affects your body image. If you’re feeling at odds with your bod right now, this small but impactful exercise can help you trust and appreciate the skin you’re in.

SHOW NOTES:

On Hang-Ups, Trauma, + Screwing The Shame w/ Sex Educator Anne Hodder
On Body Memories, Gut Feelings, and The Taboo Therapy You’re Not Supposed To Talk About w/ Somatic Healer Pamela Samuelson
Feelin’ Myself
Hands On Research: The Science of Touch
WANT website
Katie’s Instagram
Leave a review on iTunes!
Subscribe to The (Good) Word, our monthly email digest filled with tips, tools, motivation, and inspiration to shift your self-talk

 

This episode is in support of Reclamation Ventures, a family of brands reclaiming our right to be well. They create conversations, invest in the best talent, and support innovative programs to transform wellness – for all of us. They believe “that when we elevate the capacity of diverse wellness leaders to thrive, we can start to close the wellness gap and increase health equities in communities that need it most.” To get involved, click here.

Feeling Myself: On Touch + Body Image

Feeling Myself: On Touch + Body Image

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Jessica Rabbit once famously said, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” Self-talk isn’t inherently good or bad, positive or negative – it’s all information. It’s how we view that self-talk that determines if it’s on Team Positive or Team Negative.

And for many of us, our self-appointed negative self-talk flares up the biggest when it comes to talking about our BODIES. 

My thighs are _____.

My hips are _____.

My arms are _____.

My skin is _____.

Pick your body part and pick your adjective, and I’m sure you’ve got at least one area you tend to beat up and call mean names on the regular.

But just like our self-talk, none of our body parts are inherently good or bad – we just name them that way. And way too often, we lump them into the bad category instead of the good.

Seeing a reflection you’d prefer looked different, or noticing your clothes fit differently than usual, can instantly morph your response from neutral sensations to negatively charged emotions.

And what do we do when those emotions bubble up?

We distract ourselves and immediately blame our bodies for merely existing.

My body must be the problem. 

My thighs are _____.

My hips are _____.

My arms are _____.

My skin is _____.

None of our parts are inherently good or bad - we just name them that way. Click To Tweet

So often we don’t bat a lash at being mean to ourselves – not because we’re inadequate, but because we’re removed.

When we feel things we don’t want to feel, we try to distract ourselves. Scared? Procrastinate the day away. Uncomfortable? Check every app on your phone (twice). Angry? Play the blame game and point out everything wrong with someone else.

When we distract, we dissociate. But something else happens, too.

When we dissociate from whatever’s happening instead of facing it head-on, we don’t learn how to navigate the full spectrum of our human experience. And what’s more, we start to shut down OTHER sensations, too. We don’t just become removed from the things we don’t like, we start to numb out to the things we do, too, because what affects one aspect of our lives usually affects the rest of it, too. It’s no different with our bodies.

We detach, place blame, and dissociate – instead of trying to figure out where those pent-up emotions are actually coming from.

 

Just like Ghost Worries hijack your thoughts and make you forget the reality of your situation, body-related negative self-talk steals your sensations and makes you forget what your body actually feels like.

 

The pattern is simple, and mirrors the kinds of patterns we’re often prone to when a relationship on the rocks. See the thing. Notice the fault. Blame the Other. Withdraw attachment. Withdraw kindness. Withdraw touch.

But instead of the Other being a partner, the Other is our body.

~

Touch is vital. As U.C. Berkely explains, touch “activates feelings of reward and compassion. reinforces cooperation, and cultivates a sense of safety and trust.” 

If you apply that logic to touch between two humans…it might behoove you to stop and consider if the same is true with self-inflicted touch.

The second you dissociate from the actual feel of your body, the second you start to dissociate from your body itself. And when you dissociate from your body for too long, you become afraid (or at least resentful) of it. This thing you call your body seems entirely out of your control.

Your skin becomes something to pick at and prod.

Your muscles become bulk.

Your rolls become flab.

Your fat becomes forbidden.

The only time you touch your body is when you’re zeroing in to fix something.

Some relationship.

The solution is simple:

like Beyoncé and Nicki, you must literally start feeling yourself.

(cue music)

No, I don’t mean in the sexual sense (but hey, if you’d like to discuss that, listen to two episodes about sex education on the WANTcast here or here). I mean actually TOUCH yourself.

Your arms. Your legs. Your stomach. Your hips.

Feel what your body feels like.

Sound awkward? It might be at first. But it’s a weird yet effective trick I always come back to when I’m really feeling low about my bod. And I find the longer I go without putting TOUCH into practice, the quicker I slip into old body-loathing tendencies and self-talk.

It takes a matter of minutes, doesn’t involve spending money, and doesn’t require you to recite a mantra or do anything too hippie-dippie. It’s as easy as applying lotion after you get out of the shower or giving yourself a mini massage. There is NOTHING fancy about this practice, but it’s powerful beyond belief.

Take the time to actually feel what your skin feels like in your hands, the way your muscles curve and your thighs dimple (yes, everyone’s do). Notice the micro-dips in your collarbone as you press in, or the soft area under your armpits that is so often shielded from the sun. Get curious about your lines and shapes – ALL of your lines and shapes.

How does this thing I call My Body fit together?

How does my back hold me upright?

How does the weight I put on my feet each day affect their sensitivity?

How does the constant texting and typing my hands do affect them from the inside out?

How do my hips center my whole body?

When we notice how our skin feels, we become a creature to admire instead of an object to critique Click To Tweet

Touch is healing, and not just when it comes from another person. Touch can be healing in our relationship with our Self – an aspect of healing that is way too often overlooked.

If you want to take it up a notch, try using creams or oils with your favorite scents. Learn about acupressure points. Maybe even turn it into a journaling exercise by taking a 10-minute ‘touch break’ in your day to explore what the skin you’re in feels like and take notes. The best part is that you don’t need anything fancy to put this self-love-building practice into place. When we can notice the way our skin feels, relieve a tight muscle, feel the way each part of our body miraculously fits together, we become a human to admire instead of a object to critique.


 

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Taking Your Self Off The Sidelines: Why Shifting Your Self-Talk Matters.

Taking Your Self Off The Sidelines: Why Shifting Your Self-Talk Matters.

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I first conceived of WANT: Women Against Negative Talk back in 2007. It was born out of my own personal pain, and my own simultaneous a-ha moments that a) conscious and unconscious negative self-talk was what held so many women back from the life they longed to lead, and b) people needed a place to go to empower themselves to shift their self-talk in a real, lasting way that went beyond momentary feel-good affirmations and mantras.

I wanted to create a multi-faceted platform that addressed all kinds of negative self-talk – self-talk related to body image, relationships, work, community, self-worth, the narratives that are passed down to us by the people before us, and the narratives that are passed around to us by the people who stand beside us today.

WANT has come a long way since 2007. It’s a movement. It’s an editorial platform, a podcast, workshops, toolkits, and a vibrant community on both social media and IRL. It’s let go of podcast sponsorships in favor of spotlighting and amplifying organizations doing work on the community and global level to advocate for change – both change in policy and change in paradigms. WANT has never been my passion project – it’s always been my purpose project. And with time, that purpose has only gotten clearer and stronger. Not only the purpose…but the urgency behind it.

For anyone new here, I wanted to write this primer on why shifting your self-talk matters. For anyone who’s been here for a while, I wanted to post this as a reminder of what we – all of us – stand for, and why the work we do is so, so worth it.

~

Over the last few years, I’ve rejected the idea that shifting your self-talk is a ‘self-help’ issue. Sure, there’s overlap. But shifting your self-talk, to me, is the very opposite of the good-vibe-ness that self-help and wellness have become notorious for in so much of mainstream self-help/wellness conversations.

Shifting your self-talk is so, so much more urgent than that.

 

The work of shifting your self-talk – which is really the work of finding, being, and staying your Self – isn’t just about changing your life, in the long run.

It’s about changing life. Period.


Shifting your self-talk is about facing your shame, guilt, doubt, fear, frustration, and blind spots head-on and being proactive, not reactive. What does that mean? It means using critical thinking skills to listen, learn, and act even (especially!) when the stakes are high and you might fuck up. Because as Maya Angelou said, when you know better, you do better…but if you aren’t putting yourself in a position to know better, you will never, ever do better.

Shifting your self-talk is about finding, using, and owning your own voice whether people are watching or not – so that when you get feedback from the world, explicitly (like via words) or otherwise (like via emotions), you’re able to grow, learn, and be better in a way that’s sustainable.

We need major policy changes and systemic paradigm shifts. We need police and criminal justice reform, we need legislation passed that protects Black communities, POC, LGBTQ+, women and girls, people with disabilities, and allows equity to everyone.

And.

We also need radical personal changes.

It’s not an either-or situation.

It’s an at-the-same-time one.

We need both simultaneously, because there is no way that fighting for and creating the proverbial “change we wish to see in the world” will ever be sustainable if we’re constantly offloading our ‘hard’ emotions off on others by using hateful words or inflicting harm (side note, it’s really easy to sit back and convince yourself you’re doing something to change when in fact all you’re doing is criticizing the ‘people in the arena’ actually taking those steps forward. See: entire premise of Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly), or shaming ourselves into silence because we’re overwhelmed or too afraid to make a mistake.

We think a future version of our Self will know better. Be stronger. Speak louder. Or that one day, we’ll be successful or self-actualized ‘enough’ to say what we truly mean instead of what we think checks all the right boxes. The stakes are too high right now, we convince ourselves. I don’t know enough yet. Like once we achieve a very specific self-dictated level of success or expertise, the conversational doors will fly open. When that happens, we say, we’ll use our voice. We’ll talk about the things that matter. Systemic racism. Gender disparities. Wage gaps. Mental health. When, when, when.

 

Yet each time we say when, we not only put our Self on the sidelines, we delay the very progress we desire to contribute to. Each time we say when, we reinforce the narrative in our mind that the ‘right’ time is far off in the distance.


Imagine if everyone in the world waited until their own self-determined ‘day whens.’ We would never have any change or progress. We would spend our years waiting around and call that a life.

The world needs your voice, and the world needs your growth. It all stems from the story you tell yourself, about your Self. Click To Tweet

Society would love for you to keep telling yourself the story of your shame, your guilt, your self-doubt and your defeat.

Society would love for you to stay silent and small. It would love to keep steering you far from who you are and discouraging your growth.

But the world needs your voice, and the world needs your growth. It all stems from the story you tell yourself, about your Self.

Will shifting your self-talk alone change the world? Of course not. But we must treat it like the vital puzzle piece of change that it is. We must practice using our voice so that when the chance comes to make a change, we speak up and out instead of shying away. And because what we say on the outside is a direct reflection of what we say on the inside – we must practice diving in, digging deep, and changing our internal AND external world simultaneously.

Shifting your self-talk is an essential piece of fighting for the world you actually want to live in, for yourself and for others.

The when is now. The right time is now.

Take your Self off the sidelines. You are so ready to get into the arena.