Our goal is to encourage clients to be compassionate and gentle with themselves when it comes to where they are in their organizing journey. What I often hear from their self-talk as we are organizing is not always kind, and I try to bring awareness to what they are saying about and to themselves.
My favorite question to ask them is “would you say that to your best friend if they were struggling?” The answer is always “of course not!”. I think it’s common for many of us to say things to ourselves that we would never say to someone else that we cared about. I’m not sure why this is so prevalent, and I don’t have evidence to show if this is more common with females (which is the majority of our client population), but it’s disturbing to hear (and yes, I admit that I do it too!). Think about the emotions that surface when we say these negative things to ourselves. Sadness, frustration, fear, anger, despair. How can someone work positively towards a solution if those feelings are swirling around inside?
So, instead of clients beating themselves up because they can’t make decisions or are frustrated that they “let things get so bad”, what can they say to themselves instead?
“I am frustrated with myself that I struggle with organizing, but I am getting help and learning new techniques.”
“I let things slide for the past ____ months/years, but I can’t change the past. What can I do now to resolve it?”
“What habits can I create so that my day is not so chaotic?”
“How can I be more compassionate with myself in this moment?”
Half of the battle is being aware of what your self-talk is, and it’s not always easy to tune in to that voice in a removed way. Can you practice being an observer of your thoughts, without blame or attaching a judgment to them? Most of us have patterns of what we tell ourselves, so paying attention to what we mutter under our breath or even say out loud can guide us to recognize these patterns and look for ways to turn them into something more positive and forward-thinking.
What self-talk do you use, and is there a way to change it into something you would compassionately tell a loved one?