Here’s a quick look at this episode, Harnessing the Chatter
In this episode of the Redefining Bold Podcast, we’re discussing
- Identifying the chatter in our heads
- How small things in childhood stay with us
- How to train our thoughts to empower and encourage us
Listen as I share a very personal story from my childhood that stayed with me for a long time, affecting my friendships and self-confidence, and how I have learned to harness the chatter in my head for good!
Hi there! This is episode #7 of the Redefining Bold Podcast. I’m your host Gwen Whitfield from theboldabode.com, where I guide warm-hearted women in their quest for a more organized, cleaner home and a more productive and vibrant life.
Today, I want to talk about how to harness the chatter in your head!
I don't know, but if you're like me, you always have a running dialogue in your head. You know, that voice? It just runs on a loop and never stops talking to you. Sometimes when I'm in the grocery store, I even start talking out loud. I try very hard to bite my tongue as I walk through the grocery store, because it's really hard not to talk to myself. So when I hear someone else doing I, I giggle to myself empathetically. And I don’t feel so bad. Haha
I had a friend one time tell me, as we were discussing this very topic, that intelligent people talk out loud to themselves. So I'm gonna go with that.
But when I'm home I know I talk out loud to myself all of the time. The chatter seems to never ever stop. And that is a lot. I mean there's so much going on in our heads that we never realize. I'm sure I talk to myself about all kinds of things and don't even know I'm doing it.
If we can harness the power of our chatter we can do incredible things. But first let's talk about the detrimental part of the constant voice that loops.
I know I've talked about this in a previous podcast, about how I grew up telling myself really horrible things. I would look in the mirror and tell myself that I wasn’t very pretty, or that I was fat, or that I was stupid and no one liked me.
Now there are a lot of reasons why we might tell ourselves these terrible things. I remember when I was 12 years old, and I was trying to walk to lunch with someone that I thought was my friend and she wouldn't wait for me. She was walking very quickly ahead of me trying to get away. And so I called out to her and said, "Ashley wait up!" But she kept on walking. Now our elementary cafeteria was built on a slope, so they were about five or six steps up into the cafeteria. I remember when she got to the top step she turned around, arms akimbo, leaning forward, with a very angry and serious look on her face. With more malice than I had ever seen from a friend in my entire life, she said to me, "I don't know why you try to hang around us Gwen. Nobody likes you.”
I stood there shocked. Tears began testing my eyes and I blinked and blinked trying to keep them back. I didn't want her to see me cry. Here was a friend that lived down the street, that I played with as a child, who I thought liked me. But apparently she didn't, and according to her no one else did either.
As soon as she could tell that I was genuinely upset, she began to laugh flipped her hair, and said, “Oh I'm just kidding.” Then she whipped around, opened the door, and left me standing there wondering what had just happened.
I realized years later, that she wasn't angry at me. She was angry at another situation. And isn't that the truth of what happens so very often, we displace our anger and point it at people that we feel are not going to hurt us. Of course, that's a very dangerous habit particularly as an adult or parent. But I often think back to that day and wonder, how was she hurting? Who had hurt her?
She never said anything like that again to me, and she rode home on the bus like normal. She sat with me at lunch occasionally, and invited me to her eighth grade birthday party with all the cool kids.
But I have to say, that event definitely made an impact in my life. I've always had good friends, so I know that what she said was not true. But for years there was always just a sense of wonder, who was really my friend and who was just pretending.
But it also played into the loop, the voice that talked to me and told me mean things about myself. That voice kept me from doing some of the things that I wanted to do. And I sincerely regret allowing it to.
So, how in the world do you stop that chatter? And what about not just stopping it, but turn it around, and harness it for good?
You see the first title I had for this podcast, was how to stop the chatter. But wouldn't it be more powerful to turn the voice toward good, and harness it. Absolutely!
About six years ago, I started a meditation class. A friend of mine just invited me to join a group that met weekly and meditated. I've never been involved with meditation before, I've heard about it but thought it was something a little bit weird, or woo-woo, or far-fetched.
But something inside told me to accept this invitation. We spent a year together retraining our brains, and meditating. It wasn't just about being quiet, but it was about filling our heads with thoughts that were positive and productive. Reclaiming my confidence, and teaching myself that I am loved, I am worthy just as I am, and I don't have to do anything in life to attain either love or worth.
Your meditation doesn't have to be 15 minutes sitting in cross legged position, dressed in a white robe, with a guru chanting “oooohmmm”.
Can be as little as 30 seconds, calming your mind and reminding yourself that you're OK. It can be two minutes focusing on your breathing. It can be taking a moment and noticing what thoughts you're thinking.
In fact I think that taking time out to hear yourself is the first step towards harnessing that chatter. You have to first notice it before you can change it. You have to realize the things that you're telling yourself and then decide what things you really want to tell yourself.
So maybe the easiest first step is to write down a few positive things about yourself. Put them on post it notes and stick them on your mirror to remind yourself. Or keep a journal and every day just write a couple of things that you like about yourself. It doesn't have to be 20 minutes of silence to start to change your mind.
It does get easier and easier the more you practice it. Now five years later I can catch myself almost immediately if my thoughts turn on me. And when I hear myself telling myself something I shouldn't, I can instantaneously turn it around and tell myself the truth. That is harnessing the power of the chatter. I'm not going to lie, I still struggle with this but not as much as I used to. And it is helping me do things that I never thought I would be able to do.
Years and years ago, I bought a podcast course. It was incredibly expensive, and I was incredibly excited. I wanted to do a podcast interviewing other bloggers. But the chatter in my head was overwhelming, telling me that no one would want to talk to me, it would be so difficult to find guests every week, and that I would fail.
That is why I am so thankful to be where I am today, harnessing that chatter in my head, and telling myself that stepping out and doing what is in my heart is a win. Writing and creating this podcast, helps me stay focused. It reminds me of all of the good things that I have learned as I share them with you.
I often think back to myself as that little girl, standing at the bottom of the steps, with tears filling her eyes, and I put my arms around her, and I tell her, “you are beautiful, you are loved, and you are OK just as you are.”
I hope that you are able to find a moment in your life such as this, and go up to that little girl or little boy, put your arms around them and tell them that it's OK.
Thanks so much for listening! And I'll see you next time on the redefining Bold podcast.
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