Cindie Chavez ©2019
Last week I wrote about the power of deep listening – an important part of good communication.
This week I’ll address another seemingly “silent” communication activity that has extremely “loud” results – the conversation in our head. Mental chatter – especially negative mental chatter.
Our communication with our self might just be the most important conversation we practice, especially when we understand that our stories create our experience.
Coaches often refer to negative mental chatter, denigrating self-talk, judgments, and unhelpful narratives, as “gremlins” or “gremlin voices”. Gremlins are always telling us some version of “you’re not good enough.”
And even though these communications only seem to be a conversation with oneself – there are corresponding experiences that play out in our everyday lives, including those experiences we have with other people. As within, so without – the Hermetic principle of correspondence.
Often what we “hear” someone else say about us, or to us, is actually some version of what is going on in our own head.
I often refer to what I call “the magic mirror” – the idea that the entire universe is reflecting back to us what’s going on in our inner world. All of our experiences are telling us something about our self.
Any couples coach can tell you that what one person says is often completely different than what the other person hears.
Bob and Jane go to couple’s coaching to deal with differing ideas about finances. The coach asks Bob to talk about how he feels. Bob says, “I’m more of a saver than a spender, so sometimes when Jane spends more freely than I would I feel nervous.”
The coach asks, “Jane, what did Bob just say?” Jane replies, obviously offended, “He said I’m terrible with money!”
Now, given my fondness for the magic mirror – I would make a guess that “I’m terrible with money” is a story that Jane tells herself fairly often, a gremlin voice that now is not only something she hears in her own head, but is hearing from others – whether they are actually saying it or not.
In this way, outside voices can effectively let us know what our “gremlin voices” are saying.
I used to think that this magic mirror idea was the same as “you reap what you sow”, or “what goes around comes around” – the idea that if I was polite to people, people would be polite to me, if I was caring, people would be caring to me, if I was generous, others would show me generosity, etc.
But that’s not always the case – sometimes we don’t receive in kind what we’re giving. Sometimes we’re compassionate to someone and they choose to be a jerk to us. Sometimes we’re honest with someone and they choose to lie to us. Sometimes we respect someone’s boundaries only to have them trample on ours.
That can seem confusing, especially if we’re believing that what we put out will always come back to us.
However, the “magic mirror” isn’t just showing us what’s on the surface. The magic mirror has an extreme magnifying aspect. It has an uncanny ability to show us what’s beneath the surface, it shows us how we are treating ourselves.
There is an idea that “we teach others how to treat us.” We do this by creating and maintaining strong boundaries.
We also teach the Universe how we desire to be treated – and we do this very effectively, setting the example by the way we treat ourselves. We set the measure.
And this is where the magic mirror comes into play…
If someone is dishonest with me, I ask myself if I’m being truly honest with myself.
If someone is disrespectful to me, I check my level of self-respect.
If someone ignores me, I ask myself if I’m putting myself at the bottom of my list of priorities.
And, how about when we perceive that someone is thinking or saying something less than complimentary about us? That’s when we check our inner dialogue to see if perhaps it lines up with what we think we hear. Is there negative mental chatter that has become so loud that I’m now hearing it in my outer world too?
Here’s one of the best exercises I know to vanquish negative mental chatter. It’s called “mirror work” and completing 30 days of it can create miraculous results. To do this we use an actual mirror, instead of a metaphorical one.
Here’s the simple recipe: Each day as you find yourself in the mirror, in a place of privacy, – such as your normal morning routine (brushing teeth, washing, shaving, applying makeup, etc.) – give yourself a quick pep talk, with the same love and care that you would give to a child going off to their first day at a new school.
Look into your own eyes. Tell yourself you love yourself.
If you do this in the morning, encourage yourself that you’re going to have a great day, you’re proud of yourself, you have confidence that you’re going to do well. You’re a rockstar!
If you prefer to do this in the evening, remind yourself of the things you did well. If it’s been a less than stellar day, encourage yourself that you did your best and tomorrow’s another day. Recall some of your past successes. Remind yourself that everything is going to be okay.
Many people report that this exercise is very hard at first. They have trouble looking themselves in the eye and saying kind things. They feel embarrassed and stupid. They want to look away.
From personal experience and from hearing many clients report back to me, I can tell you that it gets easier. Keep going.
And as you keep going you’ll realize that your story is improving, the gremlin voices are much quieter, and your lived experiences are seeming to be much more in line with your previous wishful thinking.
More by Cindie:
Cindie Chavez is known as “The Love & Magic Coach”. She is the creator of MOONTREAT™ – and she has some great free stuff for you at her website: www.cindiechavez.com
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