Article written by Lindsay Richter
My sister and I are business partners at Small L.E.A.P.S. Health & Fitness Coaching and being women in business pose its own set of challenges, let alone, building an online business during a pandemic. One of the biggest obstacles we have had to face is our own negative self-talk. So often we are our own worst enemies because our brains focus on the negatives. With so many added obstacles as women in business, it is important to give ourselves compassion.
During primal times, it was important to our survival to have a healthy dose of anxiety and a focus on the negative ‘what ifs’ as a way to protect us from real and perceived threats. So, it makes sense that now our minds and inner dialogue often instinctually move more to the negative side as our brain is still trying to protect us. However, now-a-days we do not always have to focus on the threats or negative thoughts-we are not being chased by bears or lions daily! Many people experience this kind of automatic negative thoughts on a daily basis. When these thoughts begin to interfere with our happiness, business and day to day life it may be helpful to change those thoughts. The great news is that you have the ability to shift your negative thoughts and incorporate more kindness into your life.
At Small L.E.A.P.S. we have a few strategies we use on a regular basis to build our self compassion and to move away from the negative thoughts that hurt us.
Curiosity vs Judgement
Judgements are often assumptions and not truths, yet they can hold a strong power over us. When you constantly live in a space of judgement you might tell yourself you are “not good enough”, “are worthless” or other harsh self-condemning and self-deprecating statements. When we use harsh judgements towards ourselves it can lead to consistent negativity, low self-esteem and self-worth. It can also lead to anxiety, irritability, anger, feelings of shame, guilt, frustration, all-or-nothing thinking, and feelings of discontent. Overall, it can negatively impact motivation and lower self-love.
Reframing your thoughts is a powerful tool to become more kind to yourself. Coming from a stance of curiosity versus judgement can help you move forward in an empowered way.
Shifting to a curious mindset can help move you to becoming more patient, and understanding. You will develop more empathy, a deeper sense of inner peace/freedom, and self-acceptance. Developing self-compassion and compassion towards others, it can lead to more happiness in your life, and can lessen the negative impacts of your inner critic.
Curiosity does not make assumptions, it doesn’t label things as good or bad, and it listens. When you step into curiosity you are able to observe & reflect. This reflection is to help you learn, identify patterns and move forward; it allows more mindfulness into your life.
To be more curious ask yourself:
- What led to this?
- Is it a pattern?
- What can I learn from this?
- Where do I go from here? What is in my control to change, what is outside of my control?
- Ask why or why not?
Shifting Negative Thoughts
Thoughts only have the power that you give them. Know that it is possible to move towards a more empowering mindset.
When shifting negative thoughts to be more compassionate and kinder, remember to Stop, Observe, Investigate & Swap!
Stop– Take a moment to reflect.
Observe– What is the situation you are in? How do you feel?
Investigate– Is the negative thought true? Is it something you truly believe to be 100% true? If not, what makes this untrue?
Swap– Write out a compassionate statement that is empowering. If you struggle with compassionate statements towards yourself, take a moment and pretend your best friend or loved one is in this exact situation. What would you say to them that is compassionate?
Create a Self-Care List
Self-care can be defined as: ‘a deliberate and mindful act of acknowledging the need for purposeful self-directed health’. People often find self-care activities to be self-healing, relaxing, mindful and enjoyable. Performing self-care activities is beneficial for not only your physical but also your mental health. When there is a lack of self-care there is a higher risk of increased stress levels and challenges with effective coping. By creating and using a self-care list it can help you identify what your needs are and how to nurture them.
Creating your own self-care list will give you a variety of ways to nourish your mind, body and soul. Remember these self-care actions don’t have to be extravagant, costly, or take up loads of your time and can be flexible.
Self-care examples you could put on your own list are:
- Diaphragmatic deep breathing
- Learn to say “no”
- 5 minutes for personal reflection/writing
- Physical movement
- Allowing yourself rest
As women in business, we face so many challenges! We need to provide compassion & empower ourselves. When you have a hard day or find it difficult balancing home life with work, it is important to remember you are human, you make mistakes, you deserve compassion. It is so easy to fall into the trap of negative thinking but by approaching these thoughts with curiosity instead of judgement, actively working to shift your negative thoughts, and creating a self-care list you will be taking the first steps to developing a more self-compassionate mind set. You can do this!
If you would like to learn more about developing a compassionate mind set or banishing negative self-talk, then join our free private Facebook group: Small L.E.A.P.S. Towards Lasting Lifestyle Change! We look forward to seeing you there!
Lindsay is a certified health/life coach with Small L.E.A.P.S. Health & Fitness Coaching and has worked in the health & wellness industry for over a decade. She is a mom of two and is passionate about supporting people on their journey to connect with mind, body & food to feel more confident, compassionate & live a life they love.