In my last journal entry, I wrote about the fact that we women are sophisticated meaning-makers. It also turns out that we’re fairly adept at using our language skills to tell ourselves stories.
I was reminded of this last week when I met with a wonderful coaching client of mine.
She’s highly educated, speaks multiple languages and has raised two extremely accomplished children. But because she’s reached a temporary plateau in her long and successful career, she’s been very eloquently beating herself up. Big time.
My clever client has been telling herself a narrative. And she’s been using her language abilities to make that narrative as nasty as possible. As often happens when the inner critic takes the microphone, the stories she’s been telling herself have been reinforcing her self-doubt and confirming her belief that she’s not good enough. At anything.
And unsurprisingly, this constant barrage is starting to take a toll. This woman, who is so full of potential, is second guessing her decisions and holding herself back from opportunities. Basically, she’s shrinking and that’s also beginning to impact her health and her relationships – both personal and professional.
So today, I thought I’d share the number one tip I gave my client when it comes to using her language to support herself rather than bring herself down. Just in case you’re also using language in a less than supportive way.
Watch your language – my number one tip
Remember who you spend the most time with and treat her well.
Who do you spend the most time with? It’s the one coaching question that I’ve never had a woman answer correctly. Women will tell me they spend the most time with their significant other. Or their kids. Or a work colleague. And sometimes even a parent. It seems very easy to overlook the fact that we spend every minute of our lives with ourselves. And therefore, the way we speak to ourselves, and the language we use when we do so, is critically important. And yet, my observation is that most women speak to themselves in anything but a supportive way. I’m positive that they wouldn’t dream of speaking to anyone else like they do to themselves. And you can imagine what living with that sort of vitriol does to your confidence and self-worth.
Pay attention to words you use in your mind. Try out some loving and supportive language. Choose words that build your self-belief and self-acceptance.
And when you do catch yourself using language that diminishes your confidence, ask yourself my favourite question – is it true? Is there any actual evidence that everyone thinks you stupid? Or that you’re about to lose your job? The usual answer to those so of questions is no. Make sure that you are being objective when you analyse a conversation or situation and consider facts, not just stories.
Even by implementing these few changes, you’ll begin to notice difference that treating yourself kindly makes in your life.
Where in your life do you need to watch your language? Are the stories you’re telling yourself supporting you to achieve your dreams? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below.
And until next time – stay fabulous.
Image credit: Haute Stock