Self, Put a Cork in It!

So I’m hearing voices. All the time. In my head. Now don’t go walking away or humming the “Psycho” theme on me. I’m not the only one and I know this for a fact.

Self-talk. It’s what pumps you up one minute (or has the potential to do so) and what tears you down into tears and self-doubt the next. It’s incredible how one voice can be so multi-layered – good and evil all rolled into one.

But then again, it represents that part of us – the supportive, rah-rah cheerleader that lies deeps within us to bring ourselves and others UP-UP-UP and…the negative Debby Downer aah-poop-on-everything doomsayer that looks to rain on our parade, your parade, his parade and everybody’s parade, if you let her.

So which are you? If you’re like most of us, a little of both, and your mood waking up in the morning and circumstances in your life most likely come into play to influence the formula of your character cocktail for the day. I used to be much more of a downer growing up, I believe. As I’ve gotten older and learned that plenty of other people have far worse problems than me and began reading the obituaries every day, it dawned on me. I’m still here on the planet – I might as well enjoy myself and the company of others a little bit, huh?

But self-talk still has this nagging ability to get the best of me as I’m sure it does you, too, sometimes. The question this week is in what way and how can we manage that. Well, ahem, actually the question posed was —

What is one self-talk “tape” playing in your head that may be holding you back from doing all that you think you could be doing? And how can you transform this “tape” into a more positive and encouraging voice that drives you?

Did you take a few moments to think about this and analyze where your biggest self-talk culprits lie? I’ll try my own hand at it.

*******************

Appearance. I’m now at this age that’s so caught up in how many wrinkles I have showing, how white my teeth are and how well I’m able to hide my flaws, hide my age, hide my weight, hide-hide-hide, that sometimes I don’t even want to venture out to go to networking functions. I know that I have something to offer the conversation and could absolutely take a lot away from these events, but I let that loud a-hole on my right shoulder try to convince me that I don’t really have the right outfit to wear, I’ll probably look too fat in it anyway, then there’s that sweating I always do (probably from some fear, from just naturally sweating – I’m Greek, you know (we do that) – and who knows, maybe even perimenopausal reasons, too. It’s certainly possible. I can let this little punk convince me that my presence at the event offers me absolutely no value to anyone else or that the benefits I might reap from going are not nearly as plentiful as the horrible impression I’ll make physically.

Here I am, age 42, and when it comes to hanging out with the cool kids, they still scare the shit out of me. And I’m not even sure how cool some of them are anyway.

So what do I do or what have I been doing? For me, I need a support system. I’ll do my damnedest to recruit someone with me who I know will bring out my more garrulous, carefree side out into the fray. In the past, I simply asked a friend but sometimes that friend was as much a shy, fearful wallflower as me. I’ve learned that for these scary opportunities that may slip out of our fingers if we’re not careful, it can be helpful to arm yourself with a shot or two of fearlessness…and for me, this usually means a glass of wine and at least one person there that I know to start talking with to subside the noise from that pesky right shoulder. Perhaps it’s a bit woosy on my part to go with a “defense” force to tag-team with me but as long as that person is getting something out of the event (and I would never invite someone if I didn’t think they would), then I don’t see the harm in tapping into their energy and bravery a little bit. That’s what friends are for anyway, right? And sometimes what they supplement in courage and confidence that I don’t have, I can pay back through a fun event outing or even an introduction or connection or two with other folks I know who could be helpful to them in their own personal or professional quests. Again, I ask you…isn’t that what friends are for? I do believe that’s what Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder were crooning about? Oh yeah, and Dionne Warwick, too, but frankly I don’t think of her much after seeing her season of Celebrity Apprentice a few years back.

Now it’s your turn? What self-talk is gnawing on your earlobe, camping out on your right (or left) shoulder and overall, being a real pain in the ass? What are you going to do to shove a sock in its mouth and take advantage of opportunities you might otherwise miss if you listened to it?

Speak up and be heard. No, really! Chime in…

Cheers to finding that daily spark in your life!
Chris

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