My blog post yesterday focused on the the importance of being more aware of our own inner dialogue. As a follow up to that blog post yesterday, I want to share a message I received from someone in Canada. They read the post and it got them thinking about their own inner dialogue or 'self-talk' and they sent me a message sharing their thoughts. I've included their thoughts in the photo above.
With their permission, I am using their own words as a starting point for today's blog post. As a performance coach, I have had the chance to work 1-1 with many different individuals who have very diverse backgrounds and experiences. Some of these people have admitted to having a pretty harsh inner voice that can be very judgmental at times. But, they feel that this voice has served them well and gets them to take action in positive ways in their life.
Although each person has a unique way in which they navigate their own life, I do want to unpack the idea of expansion versus constriction, as it relates to our own thoughts and self-talk. That is the purpose of today's blog post.
If I'm thinking or speaking to myself in an expansive way, it means there is an openness there. Openness can be revealed in many different ways, but it usually falls under the themes of kindness, compassion, curiosity, and hope. There is a deeper sense of support that comes from within when we are speaking to ourselves in an expansive way.
Constriction is quite the opposite. Constriction implies a sense of being closed down which means that we shut ourselves off from future possibility. No longer are we being curious, kind, supportive and compassionate with ourselves. Our thoughts and words become suffocating and constrict us in many ways.
Well-known high performance psychologist, Dr. Michael Gervais, states that "confidence comes from one place and one place only- our self-talk". This statement is a result of working within the high performance field for more than 2 decades. Michael's work clearly shows that there is a direct correlation between our self-talk and how well we perform.
Taking more action to speak to ourselves in empowering and supportive ways requires that we take control of our own inner dialogue. Rather than taking on a passive approach and just going along for the ride, we can take the steps needed to be the driver of our own thoughts and words with greater consistency in our lives.
If a person feels the thoughts that they have should be there and that trying to have purposeful self talk seems like they are lying to themselves, I would ask them to bring even more curiosity to why they are feeling this way.
I would ask them to reflect on the following questions:
1) To what extent are you surrendering control to your own mind?
2) To what extent do you feel these thoughts are serving you well?
3) To what extent do you believe that you can build the skills necessary to reshape your own inner dialogue?
I'd like the thank JB from Canada for sharing their thoughts as I guarantee they are not the only person who has difficulty using a kind, caring and supportive inner voice with themselves. Many people struggle with this. Opening the doors to deeper conversation can only lead to more growth and learning about optimizing our own performance and living with greater fulfillment.
Please share your thoughts in the comment box below to help continue this discussion. Thanks for reading.
KAUST Faculty, Pedagogical Coach. Presenter & Workshop Leader.IB Educator. #RunYourLife podcast host.