Don’t give me the side eye. We all do it, right? We occasionally catch ourselves in a conversation…with ourselves…and laugh about it. Sometimes, the experience becomes so much of a habit that it’s no longer peculiar.
I talk to myself often. It happens while I wash dishes that I avoided for too long, commute on the Lodge Freeway, and draft emails at work. As an over thinker, it’s difficult for me to quiet my thoughts. Although my casual self-talk is harmless, my challenges arise from thoughts of discouragement, depreciation, and condemnation:
- I can’t do this.
- I am too [insert adjective] and not [insert adjective] enough.
- They won’t accept me as I am.
- I can’t forgive myself for this mistake.
- This person wasn’t nice to me today. Maybe, there is something wrong with me.
- My life doesn’t seem as great as theirs.
- What’s possibly lovable about me?
Thoughts are Thoughts
My therapist shared a concept with me that I am still digesting. Thoughts are just thoughts. On some occasions, they are reflective of our values and deepest truths. They can remind us to endure, embrace, and ponder. Yet, our thoughts can also be connected to our feelings, which are fickle and not always rooted in truth. When I feel happy, for instance, I believe that I am loved and valued. During my moments of sadness and insecurity though, it is difficult to receive these truths.
It has been mentally and spiritually healthy for me to seek support. Every two weeks, my therapist helps me to address anxiety, and acknowledge my thoughts without judging them. I am finding ways to grow in vulnerability, whether this occurs through writing, honest prayer, or sharing my experiences with trusted people. Aligning my thoughts with Biblical scripture, too, has been helpful. Whenever I condemn myself for being unable to please everyone, or feel unlovable, I can also remind myself of God’s boundless love.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
(Ephesians 3:18) New Living Translation
This process of overcoming harmful self-talk requires grace and persistence. I will never be perfect at it, but I will keep trying my best. In my moments of weakness, I can hug God’s strength. That gives me hope.