How to Stop Speaking Harshly to Yourself

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Health Assured team

19 June 2017

Recently, I read an interview with author Danielle LaPorte where she stated that she never speaks meanly to herself. “Not ever.” This blew my mind. Because even though I write regularly about practicing self-compassion and embracing ourselves, I still struggle with harsh self-talk. I’m guessing you do, too. It might not be all day every day. Your cruel self-talk might slither in after you make a bad decision, after you hurt someone’s feelings, after you make a mistake at work, after you have an “unproductive” day, after you fail a test, after you don’t achieve a goal. You might say things like: What’s wrong with me? How could I be so stupid? How could I be so incompetent and inept? I can’t do anything right. Of course, I didn’t do well. I never do. Of course, I messed up. What else is new? Figures… “There are many reasons why we speak so harshly to ourselves,” said Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, a therapist in private practice in San Francisco. Two of the most common reasons are: to motivate change and to defend against vulnerability, she said. Many people think “that if they aren’t hard on themselves, they will be lazy or never change.” People also use harsh self-talk to avoid doing things that are scary, to manage expectations, and to find a sense of control, she said. Shinraku shared this example: You’re looking for a new job. But you don’t apply for challenging positions to protect yourself from possible rejection. You tell yourself you’re simply not smart enough. Excerpt from Psych Central, read the full article here.

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