21 Days To Change
Change your thoughts and you will change your life and behaviors
Welcome to my new series 21 Days to Change
I will be posting blogs to begin to learn to change some of the most problematic patterns that are frequently discussed in my sessions. If you have a specific request please let me know.
21 Days to Stop Critical Self Messages and Be Kind To You
The spirit of shame, the belief that “I am not good enough” is the most destructive core belief that leads to many sabotaging behaviors and debilitating thought patterns.
It is often accompanied by the spirit of guilt, the belief I am responsible for other people’s thoughts, behaviors and actions. Another cognitive distortion that can be changed by beginning to be kind to yourself and challenge all beliefs and critical messages that you tell yourself.
Begin today by being aware of every time you say a critical, fault finding or judgmental statement about yourself and others, keep a tally on your phone or piece of paper to transfer to a notebook or journal in the evening. These statements include any and all I am or you are messages that are critical and mean even if you believe they are true.
We are beginning the process of awareness.
“To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness”
Days 2 – 5
Repeat Day 1
Creating a habit of awareness takes consistent persistent effort
As you are paying close attention and writing down any and all negative self messages, thoughts and beliefs, the hope is they will become a little less intense and destructive throughout the day knowing that you want to change this pattern
“Talk to yourself as you would speak to the person you love the most”
Now that awareness of the negative self talk has increased, it is time to challenge the negative messages and beliefs. These are what cause a spirit of shame, keep us “stuck” and create fear. Ideally we do not want to believe any negative defeating messages about ourselves. It is time to begin challenging the distorted messages. After you have listed your negative thoughts for the day, go back through your list from the last 5 days. What are common messages, complaints, critical, self loathing statements that were listed most day such as “that was stupid”, “I am old”, “I am ugly”, “they don’t like you”, “I am fat”, “why did you say that”.
Write down all of the negative messages from days 1-6 in one column
Make a second column for other more productive, loving ways I can speak to myself
That was stupid
That was not a wise choice try to do better next time, I am a mistake is quite different than I made mistake or bad choice
I am old
Compared to what? Seek information and knowledge on how to age gracefully and look forward with hope and expectancy while appreciating and valuing our past experiences, trials, traumas and tribulations.
I am ugly
Again, compared to what?
Learn to content with our appearance as we grow and change
They don’t like you
Be careful with this statement, many time that is a projection statement in which we do not like a person and we project our own thoughts and feelings onto them
If you find yourself saying this to yourself often be aware
If you truly think people do not like you then write down all the traits that you believe you have that are unlike able, now let’s put together to improve in those areas
Over the next 8 days continue to write about these negative messages in the evening and study the ways you can speak to yourself more lovingly
End each session with at least 10 positive affirmations, the opposite of your negative statements
I am smart
I am beautiful
I am aging gracefully
I am likeable
I am loving
I am kind
I am successful
I am worthy
I am well spoken
I am healthy
I am well
“Loving yourself is not vanity it is sanity”
For the last 7 days of your journey to loving yourself, it is time for change. We went over the awareness phase in the first 14 days, with the consistent, persistent efforts every day, you now have a pretty good idea of the negative things that you speak to yourself. The awareness has made the messages a little, if not a lot, less.
The next phase is insight, why do I do that which I do not want to do. We can behavior modify with awareness and stop the criticism of self, however ultimately we want to change our negative beliefs about ourselves.
Day 15 go back to your lists in your journal from days 1 – 14 and again write down all the negative thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself.
Now rank from 0 to 100 percent how much you believe those messages
I am ugly 75%
Then list why, where did this belief begin?
Who told me this message?
What would it take for me to change this belief?
What would it take to stop this negative curse either I or a parent, teacher, friend or stranger has spoken over me?
Really think about the origin of the message or is it just your own criticism and judgment of yourself that keeps you from liking and respecting and loving yourself?
As you do this work, you will be more aware, as each day passes how you speak to yourself and what you believe about yourself.
At any time during this process, you want help or need clarification, please call me. I would be happy to work with you.
Little by little, don’t give up, after this 21 day commitment, the hope is you have increased your awareness every day and begun a new powerful habit of eliminating any and all negative, critical, self message throughout the day.
You will be amazed how much better you will feel as you change your perspective of you, you will also change your perspective on others and the world.
Life becomes more simple (not easy)
A more kind, loving, merciful, demeanor will begin to take root and you can begin to focus on goals and dreams and a fulfilling purpose for our lives.
“Love yourself first because that is who you will be spending the rest of your life with”