We all know how it feels to let something hurtful pass our lips particularly if we're aware of the hurt we've caused to another. If the cause and effect is there in the flesh for us to see, we can actually feel sick to our stomachs. We don't have to imagine very hard how we would feel if we said, "You are worthless" to a very dear friend and watched his or her eyes fill up with tears. We'd feel rotten! I'm pretty sure all of the hateful conversations in internet chat rooms would tone way down if we could actually see the reaction on the person's face in front of us - at least I'd like to hope that's the case. When we say something awful and see where that dart landed on our target, we actually can feel it in our own bodies. For some, the discomfort may feel like a lump in the throat or an ache in the heart or a twist deep in the gut. In short, when we talk-sick, it is toxic for all involved!
I think we can all agree this is the case when the conversation is between two human beings. But, I'm not as convinced that we all understand that this is still the case when we talk-sick to ourselves.
Imagine we are invited to a wedding and need to shop for something new to wear. We find some reasonable options and head into the dressing room. For many, the internal dialog has already started. Some of us allow ourselves to say horrible things to the one person we should be incredibly kind to - ourselves. We say things to the reflection in the mirror that we wouldn't even say to our enemies! Here's another scenario. Imagine we've been asked to provide feedback in a group setting on a project at work that we aren't very familiar with and our participation is mandatory. Some of us may become hypersensitive that we won't sound smart or that our feedback won't be relevant. Some of us may worry how our feedback may reflect on our lack of knowledge around the subject. Again, the internal dialog has probably already started. Those thoughts can ruin our day or at least that particular moment. The real kicker is that it goes beyond just the initial thoughts and it starts to impact our physical bodies. Why? Because even our thoughts have thoughts and all those thoughts make us feel a certain way.
It's not outside the realm of possibility to find ourselves in that same dressing room and start off being a little too hard on ourselves and quickly find ourselves starting to project not-so-great or downright awful scenarios. It might sound something like, "That gorgeous girl, Samantha, is going to be at the wedding and she's a size 2 and will look amazing and all of the attention will go to her and that one guy that I was hoping would notice me will notice her instead and I'll die alone." We've all had this runaway train of thought before which leads to nothing more than low self esteem and a tummy ache...not to mention, really bad energy. Now multiply that by every nasty thought we have about ourselves (and others) on a daily basis. We should take inventory and ask ourselves what % of our waking hours do we dedicate to these negative hits and compare that to how we physically feel. Do we feel alive or are we tired? Do we operate with a clear head or do we feel fuzzy most of the time? Are we motivated or do we drag? Do we tend to let frustration or impossibility be our initial go-to thoughts or do we feel comfortable that a solution is out there and look towards possibilities. Once we can see with our own eyes how our dialog impacts how we feel, then we need to vow to ourselves that we are committed to moving the needle towards better thoughts so we can feel better.
There is quite a bit of research being done at the Institute of Noetic Sciences where the power of thought and/or intention and the effects those thoughts not only have on our bodies but also our environment is center stage. Even without a PhD, none of us can argue that cleaning up our dialog, both internal and external, is an excellent idea not only for our mental well-being, but for our physical and emotional state of being as well.
The big question is how can we change our dialog from talk-sick to well-speak? It starts by recognizing that the bad habit (no different than smoking) of perpetuating talk-sick dialog to ourselves or to others exists in the first place. The second step is to catch ourselves or interrupt the thought the moment we're having it to loosen the relationship of that thought-network in the brain. The third step is to replace the negative thought with something better. Consistency is key, here - we can't just do it once, we have to catch ourselves and replace the unwanted thought with the better thought every time (or at least 90% of the time if we allow room for being human). The great news is, it doesn't take nearly as long as one would think before our internal and external dialog changes become more automatic. Then the fun part really begins which is noticing how well we feel in our minds, bodies and our energy once well-speak becomes the new normal while watching the benefits start to appear in our lives.
Many years ago, I watched a movie that contributed to my movement away from talk-sick. The movie is called What the Bleep? Below is a short video clip that does a wonderful job of highlighting the important points I'm mentioning in this blog. My hope or intention is that this message assists you in moving away from talk-sick to well-speak - a journey worth taking, I assure you!
-Dawn Marie. © Copyright, 2015, The Zen Room