Our Inner Dialogue can be our Source of Confidence

kitchen table conversation

“There is no value judgement more important to man than the estimate he passes on himself. The more you like  yourself the higher your self esteem will be.” – Nathaniel Branden

Pema Chodron writes that gentleness with oneself is a root of confidence.  She calls it an “unconditional friendliness with yourself”. It’s not difficult to practice it, if we like everything about ourselves. What is difficult: to stay present and open with oneself when we don’t like what we see.

How can we practice “unconditional friendliness”?

Pay attention to your inner dialog; what words do you use to talk to yourself?  Is it “oh, you did it again / here we go again / I can’t do anything right”, etc?  You really want the words and thoughts to be kind and supportive as much as possible. Pay particular attention to what you say to yourself when you feel down or when you are not making desired progress in some area of life.

When you notice the negative self-talk, stop.  Fire your inner critic (sometimes we need to do it daily)  Invite in the most patient, loving, forgiving side of  you and even give yourself a pep-talk. The great thing about the practice is that it all happens in your mind. But as a result you will also have a deeper understanding of other people – Pema says.

What negative messages do you hear most from your inner critic? What would you love to hear instead?