Many times, I am at networking events or events at my daughter’s school and people will tell me how together I am. How they admire me. And I’ve got to tell you that is very nice to hear right up until the brain chatter starts. When the voice says, “Oh they don’t know you at all.” Or “Seriously, you don’t have it together at all.” This is hard to write about because who wants to really admit to others, on the internet no less, that you have this negative chatter in your head.
Last week I was at a networking event and the brain chatter was on overdrive. I was questioning everything I’ve been doing. Questioning every decision. Second guessing myself. There was almost no room left for positivity in my mind. Later I came home and brought it up to my husband who tried to offer some advice. But the chatter was so strong everything seemed like he was reinforcing the chatter. Let me pause here and say that is so far from who he is. He is my biggest champion. And don’t tell him I said this but he is just about always right about things. I can’t bring myself to say always.
Okay so back to that day. All I heard was “You’re doing it wrong.” “You’re messing up.” “See you knew you couldn’t pull this off.” “Oh, and by the way, you’re a bad wife and mom too.” Thanks, brain chatter.
Here is the crazy thing about brain chatter that we all must remember. It is always WRONG! Did you hear me? It is always WRONG. There is no truth in it at all. That voice, whatever you choose to call her, is trying desperately to work against you. Before I referred to that voice as brain chatter I used to call it Negative Nancy. Then I got married and my mother-in-law’s name is Nancy so that didn’t seem like a good idea. I like the idea of brain chatter much better than giving that voice a real name. I find it makes it much easier to tell her to shut up.
But knowing that the voice is crazy wrong and stopping it from influencing you are two entirely different things. So, I thought I would share some of the tips I have gathered from others that I find helpful in shutting down the brain chatter. I am also hoping that in writing this I can shut down my own brain chatter and get back to doing what I need to do.
- Stop it as soon as it starts. The first step is shutting down the chatter as soon as it starts in your head. Don’t give it a chance to take hold. Sometimes I actually do tell it to shut up. If you are around me and hear me mutter shut up it isn’t directed at you. Sometimes I focus my mind as quickly as I can on my Positive Proclamations. I am a great mom. I am smart. Go through your list until the negative thoughts fade.
- Bring in reinforcements. Have a couple of people on speed dial that are your go to people. So, when the brain chatter is at its strongest they can jump in with you and tell you all the ways it is off base. This may seem silly at first but sometimes you need to bombard yourself with positivity while the brain chatter lobs the negative bombs at you.
- Remember it is a process. Even the people that seem the most put together still have doubts and battle the brain chatter. And if you are just starting the process of fighting it off, remember it is just that a process. Being able to shut it down quickly doesn’t happen overnight. You must practice and build yourself up so that you can recognize it and stop it.
- Remember you are not alone. Brain chatter wants you to think that you are the only one with these types of doubts but you are not. Everyone has them. Even the most successful people deal with self-doubt.
- Believe in yourself. Sandra Yancey, the founder of eWomenNetwork, says “Confidence is the consequence of courage.” Grant yourself the courage to believe in yourself. That courage will help you push back on the brain chatter.
So, commit to yourself today. I am going to battle the brain chatter. I am going to have the courage to succeed. I am going to believe in myself. I am going to tell the brain chatter to shut up.
By: Amy Matthews, CEO, AMI LC