Updated: Apr 26, 2019
I’ve been talking a lot about this subject, mostly to myself, because the subject is on self-talk. Let’s admit it, we all talk to ourselves, if not out load, at least in our heads. I happen to be one of those who do verbalize my self-talk out loud, at least when no one is around.
“It’s OK to talk to yourself, as long as you don’t find yourself saying, ‘Huh?’ to something you say.”
- Zig Ziglar
All kidding aside, I am talking about how you treat yourself with this self-talk. For instance, Tony Robbins would ask his group, “What question do you predominantly ask yourself? Usually the question starts with ‘Why’.
Why do I feel so empty?
Why doesn’t anyone love me?
Why do I screw up all the time?
Why do I always do this?
Why can’t I control myself?
And many others …
My question turned out to be, “Why does this always happen to me?”
Answering ‘Why?’ can be helpful at times, however, if it is a question you ask yourself over and over, you are validating what the statement proposes. Asking, ‘Why do I feel so empty, validates that you do feel so empty. You might say, “Kevin, well it’s true, I do feel empty.” Sure, when you are asking the question you probably do. Do you feel empty all the time, though? Do you feel empty every minute of the day? I’m sure that for most of you, there are times when you are doing something or being with somebody, the emptiness goes away. However, continuously asking the question, will lead to you feeling more and more empty.
My question, “Why does this always happen to me?”, implied that that something ALWAYS happened to me. Now, obviously I was not asking that question when something miraculous came into my life. No, it was when things went wrong. My question implied that I had the worst luck in the world ‘all the time’. This of course, was not true, but I did notice the question helped make it a self fulling prophecy at times.
One way to deal with these types of questions is to challenge them. Most may have a generalization, and even if they don’t, the generalization of always probably applies. You can stop and ask yourself. “Do I always feel so empty?” or “Is it all the time that I can’t control myself? Are there times I can?” these kind of challenges can help.
Tony Robbins suggested to get in the habit of asking a different, yet empowering or constructive question. For my question of “Why does this always happen to me?”, I replaced it with “How can I find a better way to do this?” and sometimes I would simply ask, “What would be a better solution?” These take me out of the ‘effect’, no control side of the experience to the ‘cause’, take control side. It’s feels so much better to ask that question.
What new questions could you ask yourself?