A few years ago, my husband and I found ourselves in one of those seriously hard-knock predicaments. The entrepreneur life had really chewed us up and spit us out. Deal after deal we were trying to do didn’t work and we found ourselves living in Mexico with $400 in the bank and no way to make more money. “How did we get here?” “Are we REALLY living in Mexico??” “I’m sooo over eating rice and beans.”
It was definitely one of the lowest points in my life. It was a train wreck everywhere I turned. I couldn’t help but blame myself. My mind and emotions were getting the better of me. And I knew something had to change.
During times like these is when it is most crucial to be kind. I’m not talking about being kind to other people; I’m talking about being kind to yourself.
In a world that expects high achievement from us, we are our own toughest critics — but what we don’t realize is that all of this negativity is doing us harm. When we focus on what’s wrong in our lives and put ourselves down constantly for not measuring up, we have a hard time pulling ourselves out of it. So how do we end this vicious cycle and empower ourselves in our toughest moments?
Start paying attention to your thoughts and self-talk. Are they always going down a negative path? Our brains are hardwired for survival, looking for danger at every turn. This makes it really easy to go down the path of negativity. Being aware of this pattern in yourself is the first step to shifting it.
Evaluate Your Self-Talk
Really pay attention to what you say about yourself. Would you say the things to someone else that you are saying to or about yourself? If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t be saying it to yourself either.
When we are down, it’s easy to compare ourselves to others. We tend to look at someone else’s highest moments or greatest achievements, and then compare where we are currently to their highlight reel. It’s simply not a fair comparison. Their high and your low are not even in the same ballpark. Rest assured, they have had lows too.
How Negativity Sets In
As we go through our lives, things happen to us that shape our view of the world. Traumas of all types cause negative belief patterns to form that can shrink our mindset to way below our potential. Things that happen in childhood, like losing a spelling bee or a running race, can make us not feel good enough. Getting laughed at by friends can make us self-conscious and shape our body image in an unhealthy way. Our parents getting a divorce can trigger abandonment issues. These traumas translate into problems over the long haul and can greatly affect every aspect of our lives from relationships to career achievements.
When Shifting the Mind Is not Enough
Over the years, I have learned that to shift a mindset that is rooted in trauma, you don’t start with the mind at all. You start with your energy system. This delicate, invisible system in our bodies houses all of these emotions and can affect us greatly — everything from our thoughts and habits to our physical health. This includes all of the negative things that we think and say about ourselves. So, while the steps above are helpful, try this exercise to literally erase the negativity from your energy system for good.
Close your eyes and imagine you are standing in a hallway. This hallway is in your energy system. All the way down the hallway, things are written on the walls. It’s everything you think, every day. It includes all of the negative things you think and say about yourself and all of the positives.
In your hand is an eraser. As you walk down the hall and read the walls, erase anything negative that you see. Any statement; any thought. You may be surprised at what you read or feel as you are strolling down the long narrow corridor. Just keep erasing everything negative until you get to the end of it.
Repeat this exercise daily along with the first exercise and you will start to see a huge difference in how you think, talk and act.
My husband and I did these exercises every day when we were in that really low spot, sitting in Mexico, destitute. We knew it was the only way out, even though other people thought we were crazy when we told them about it. Maybe we were.
I will say, though, that doing this shifted our mindset. We created the first successful cross-border mortgage company Mexico had seen in 11 years and secured over $1 million in funding to make it a reality. So, maybe we weren’t so crazy after all.
For more resources to help people end negative self-talk, check out Amanda’s digital course Confidence Reset.
Written by Amanda Hainline.
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