The most potent conversation in life is the one that you have with yourself. Words are powerful, and our running inner narrative we have about the world truly impacts what we think of ourselves, what we think of others, and what we believe to be true.
Did you know that on average, we say about 4,000 words a minute in our head?
If you read my posts on instagram or listen to my podcast, you know that I’m a huge proponent of self-talk and mindfulness. By focusing on these two elements, you can productively direct those 4,000 words a minute while also maintaining some distance from them (meditation practice).
The topic of self-talk is massive. For today, I’m going to focus on non-identification. What the heck does that mean? It means noticing that you are not the results of your actions. Let me explain.
Have you ever gone out on a run, a bike ride, or done a strength workout and had an “off” day? Did you think to yourself, “I’m slow” or “I’m weak?” Have you ever made a mistake and said in your head, “I’m such an idiot! I can’t do this!” Have you ever failed at something and said, “I am a failure!” If so, you are identifying yourself with that action. Pema Chodron says, “You are the sky. Everything else- it’s just the weather.” Your results, like failing at something, being tired or slower on a given day, or making a mistake, are just the weather. We are not those things, but we often identify with them so closely that we think we are those things.
How do you avoid identifying too closely with things that happen? What do you say instead?
If you failed at something, it isn’t permanent. Instead of “I am a failure,” you can say, “That didn’t go to plan this time.” If you are slower or tired one day, you can say, “I’m having an off day” or “I’m tired today.” That’s really different than saying, “I’m slow.” Saying “I’m slow” or “I’m a failure” is rife with self-judgment. It’s a label you don’t need to wear because it’s simply not true.
The results of our actions, our emotions, and our thoughts are not permanent. They are not ever-defining. They are just the weather. That is why you need to keep moving forward. It requires working on self-compassion (yes, acknowledge your humanness) and retraining yourself to avoid beating yourself up. Unhitch your wagon to fully identifying with your failures. (and this also applies to successes and things going well!) You can take responsibility for your failures without failure becoming a part of your identity.