Three kind ways to talk to yourself when you make a mistake
Your voice is the one that you hear the most. Think about it for a second. When you talk to other people, you listen to their voices and to yours. And what about those long conversations you have with yourself?
Language shapes the way that you view reality. If you say “red,” your focus will be on the red objects around you. If you say blue -well, you get the idea. Language and communication are learned behaviors. You use the words that you have learned to associate with specific meanings. You communicate are using involuntary scripts that you have practiced hundreds of times.
This is good news! Understanding language and communication as something that you can learn, opens the possibility to learn more effective, loving ways to express yourself.
When you make a mistake, positive self-talk can set you in the way to finding a solution
Before you explore how to communicate with others, it is key to observe how you are communicating with yourself. A good place to start is to become aware of what you tell yourself when you make a mistake.
You might experience frustration when you realize that your decision has gone differently from what you expected. There's a surprise when you notice that you forgot your lunch at home. Guilt takes over when someone lets you know that you hurt their feelings.
Frustration, surprise, and guilt can easily be perceived as anger. What do you tell yourself when you feel angry for making a mistake?
I invite you to try these kind alternatives the next time that you make a mistake. When you use them, notice how you feel and how you work out the situation. You will find it to be an entirely different experience.
1. Focus on describing the situation to prompt your problem-solving skills.
Instead of saying “How stupid I am,” focus on describing the situation. For example, if you discover that you forgot your lunch at home, you can tell yourself “Oh, no! I left my lunch at home. I was distracted filling my water bottle. How can I solve this?”
Notice how you can use a surprise expression ("Oh, no!", or whatever words feel good at the moment), without insulting yourself.
As you describe what happened and what caused it, you prompt your brain to find a solution, as opposed to linger on the mistake and start a self-punishing inner conversation.
2. Focus on the behavior to open the possibility of learning behaviors that serve you better.
Instead of saying “I am a horrible person, I made Anne feel terrible” try saying “My words hurt Anne feelings. This is what I want to do (Apologize? Talk to her?)”
You make a huge difference when you focus on the behavior instead of the perceived personal quality. Remember that you can change your behaviors by learning different ones that will serve you better.
3. Take your decisions one at a time. Avoid using the words "always" and "never."
Instead of saying “I always make bad decisions,” try saying “I didn't expect this outcome. I wonder how I can get the outcome that I want.”
I haven't met anybody who makes bad decisions on purpose. You are always making the best possible decision with the information that is available to you. You can learn how to make decisions confidently by understanding your needs and learning from your experiences. Being kind with yourself you are already taking the first step to do it, since you hold space to learn from the decision that you made and its outcome.
The world is already harsh enough. We all need more kindness in our lives. Using kind words with yourself is the first step to communicate with love and compassion.
Do you want to stop second-guessing yourself? Are you ready to make decisions confidently and become your best advisor? Schedule your Complimentary Congruency Session today.