“It’s not what we say out loud that really determines our lives. It’s what we whisper to ourselves that has the most power”
A picture popped up in my phone memories the other day. It was my 4th grade son and his class doing a snow day project. It's memorable because, of all things, a pillow in the background.
It said... You're Magic ✨
First of all, thank you teachers for putting that kind of positivity and light into the hearts and minds of our kids.
I think (hope!) most kids believe this is true.
And then I thought, how many of us can say the same?
How many of us look in the mirror in the morning and think, You're absolute magic, .
We're so used to the negative self-talk, the judgments and the criticisms, that saying something like that to ourselves almost seems preposterous!
But what if we started a little smaller. Said something to ourselves that felt even just a little bit better than:
You can't do anything right
Ugh! You can't go out of the house looking like that
I can't believe you said/did that
You're too young, old, overweight, stupid, gullible, poor, tired....
You'll never change
We call this a Ladder Thought.
It's a small step toward believing something new about yourself.
Ladder thoughts need to be both small AND believable.
If it's too big of a reach, it probably won't feel true. And if it doesn't feel true, it won't work.
So instead of super negative, the inner dialogue becomes:
I'm working on trusting myself more
I'm learning from my mistakes
This is my body today
I am working on acceptance
Today I will choose peace (calm, love, kindness...)
✔️ STEP # 1
Recognize when the critical thoughts come in.
One way to know when you're having negative thoughts, is if you're having negative feelings.
It's all connected.
The next time you start to feel bad about yourself or something you did/didn't do, pause to check in.
What's the thought there?
✔️ STEP # 2
Replace the judgmental thought with a new one that feels a little less terrible AND that you can believe.
Then your brain will go to work trying to find all the ways this new thought is true.
PS!! This is a practice for sure. Our negative thoughts are well-trained, they will surface over and over again. Once the new thought becomes second nature, you can create another ladder thought that feels even better than that one.
Slow and steady here.
The good news? You'll have LOTS of practice working on believing new things ;)
Two related Insight (blog) Posts for further reading:
Notice what comes up for you today and throughout the week.
Remind yourself that you get to be in charge of what you think. Work toward thoughts that feel supportive and true.
You are magic after all ✨
Have a beautiful week!