Open Negative Self-Talk Equals Open Self-Damage.
Ok, so to keep it brief, I have spent the last 12 hours with someone who does open negative self-talk. I definitely see how and when she uses it, and in literally every case, I am thinking exactly the opposite about her, how awesome she is. It’s amazing. At the precise moment that to me, the external “validation” perhaps, am totally admiring her for her presence – and in this case it is actually hard for me to separate that in her because we have so many matching issues that it scares me to think about where I’m at in my own life. When I am here, it is hard for me to feel good about some of the things that I do/are happening in my own life. When I witness her, it is an out of control situation, yet when I allow those exact things in and around myself, it is consciously metered, or rather I put the effort of changing those things into other “more important” things. It is interesting to see how that priority needs to shift a little. Those things that irk me actually scare me. I can instantly see as I write this how much that chips away at my confidence and my opinion of myself, and many of those things are controllable – self-care, my home environment, boundaries, communication, talking instead of listening.
Anyway, I think the world of my friend, and she is one of the most underappreciated people I know. It shows in her environment and it shows in the things she says about herself that she allows that, and in fact creates that underappreciation. I may actually go so far as to say that is true, esp given the moments she inserts a self deprecating comment.
Last night, after a really lovely evening, really lovely, and I was particularly inspired by her greatness, in fact I was totally connected to her current success and loving that she is being seen and valued by her employer (for a change). And then she said “the thing” about herself. I can’t actually remember what it was, but it literally popped the glowing bubble around her, and I instantly saw the “tiny” her, and I was so disappointed. I could feel it in my body. In addition, I had the most palpable feeling of dismissing her. I didn’t dismiss her openly, of course, but I felt that feeling go over me like a wave, and my body language definitely changed. I did not wave my hand, but I know I closed my eyes and turned my head away from her. I KNOW that.
This is really important information.
Even in a conscious interaction (mine, not hers), I DISMISSED her in my heart, and my body shifted in such a way that she would have felt that. Because she self deprecated in exactly that moment, she instantly created a feeling of raw disappointment in me, and MY BODY let her know she is foundationally disappointing to me.
That’s not actually true – she’s not at all disappointing to me – but my point is I confirmed for her her insecurities. I gave her proof that the negative comment she said about herself is true.
The most important part of this for me, was noticing that if she had NOT said “the thing”, I would have been allowed to enjoy MY opinion of her, which is sincerely a bit elevated. I look up to her.
Thank you for going through and explaining this – it’s incredibly important information. I appreciate the place where you notice the mirror of your actions in hers, because I do that too. I realize, sometimes belatedly, that the things that might ‘disappoint’ me in someone else are often my fears of expressing those same traits or habits. It’s a difficult moment and yet can be such a powerful tool for awareness and change.
As I re-read your post, I think about those times when I might diminish myself in front of others, people who do hold me in high regard. I think that being vulnerable and transparent is important, but I need to be more choosy about who I let that guard for, as I think I do it too often, with too many. I am looking for solutions, so I tell the truth, but in those moments this could undermine the very opinions I need – those people who would advocate for me. They may be less likely to do so if they “see the ‘tiny’ me” as you put it. Very interesting. It sounds like a bit of a hard moment for you, but it has really opened up something about negative self-talk, I always think of it as being internal, and you have shown how it manifests and potentially damages externally as well.
Very insightful. Thank you for opening my eyes to this process.