Have you ever noticed that your female brain likes to talk A LOT! The constant conversations going on in your brain are mostly unconscious, but are as busy and noisy as Grand Central Station in Manhattan at rush hour.
If we put a cartoon bubble above your head, and were able to see the dialogue in your brain, it would probably look something like this, from the beginning to the end of the day:
- What day is it? Oh, yeah it’s Tuesday. Really? You don’t know what day it is? Come on!
- Why isn’t she up already? This kid is going to be the death of me. I wish I didn’t always have this issue with her.
- What am I going to wear today? You really have no idea how to dress yourself. Just throw something on; it won’t matter anyway.
- This car is so dirty. Just another thing I don’t take care of very well.
- He’s driving me crazy with his micromanaging. I must not be doing a good job.
- She wants to go out this weekend but I don’t want to. I’m such a bad friend.
- Your productivity sucked today! When are you going to get more focused?
- What’s that smell? It smells like grandma’s perfume. I miss her so much. I wonder if she would be proud of me?
- I can’t believe I left so many dishes in the kitchen sink. I’m definitely not my mother when it comes to keeping a clean house
- He didn’t hug me hello. He’s either frustrated at work or he’s annoyed with me. If I had to bet, it’s probably that he’s upset with me.
- When was the last time I changed the sheets? Ugh, this is too much!
As you can see, there’s usually a pattern of observing something and then adding a layer of negativity and judgment on top. Your inner critic often connects one thing that isn’t necessarily a problem, and matches it with another thought that makes it into one.
You may not have an inner dialogue this negative, but I bet if you paid attention, it would come pretty close. The bubble above your head is like an audiobook narrator, reading the story that your unmanaged mind tells you about yourself and your life.
On the one hand, there’s nothing wrong with having an inner dialogue because it’s just your brain’s way of interpreting and processing your daily experiences. It’s the way your brain makes sense of your unique life, making it possible for you to function in your world.
On the other hand, if it goes unnoticed and unsupervised, it can be like mindlessly getting on a bus everyday, not knowing where the bus is going, and winding up in undesirable destinations. This is when self-talk and an unmanaged mind can hurt your accounting career as well as keep you from being the mom you want to be.
Although relationship experts suggest that it’s important to learn to listen more and talk less, when it comes to self-talk, the opposite is true. In order to have what you want in your life, you need to learn how to take charge of your self-talk by consciously rewriting and directing the conversation.
This week I’m going to discuss why you should talk more and listen less when it comes to your female brain, and how to take charge of your self-talk.
Why you should talk more, and listen less to your brain
Your adult female brain is like a giant Google map of superhighways, country roads and untouched, open grassland. Every thought you’ve had since you were a child has been creating neural pathways/roadways, making it easier to get from point A to point B.
Every repetitive thought begins to create a roadway in your brain; by thinking the same thought over and over, you eventually create a superhighway. That practiced thought then becomes a belief that your brain doesn’t question, unless it’s directed to, by you.
The amazing thing about your female brain is that it also has the ability to change its physical structure, creating new superhighways of beliefs, and allowing old ones to become impassable. Your brain’s ability to rewire itself is called neuroplasticity and is incredibly powerful when it comes to having the life and the business you want.
The reason this is so important to know is that when you take charge of your self-talk, you consciously modify the roadways of your brain. Basically you have the amazing ability to rewire your brain throughout your entire life; this means nothing is fixed and permanent, unless you want it to be.
As you make new, more helpful roadways, the old, less traveled ones are pruned away. This pruning often happens as you sleep, and is like having a cleaning crew that comes in at night to clean up the “office” of your mind.
There are many amazing examples of the power of neuroplasticity but one of the most interesting that I read about involved the recovery of Harvard trained scientist, Jill Bolte Taylor, from a stroke. She is a neuroscientist who suffered a massive stroke, which left her unable to walk, talk or read.
After eight years of hard work, however, her brain rewired itself to the point that she was able to write her New York Times bestselling book, My Stroke of Insight. It was one thing for her to study the brain for a living, but it was completely another thing to have the first hand experience of actually changing her brain.
The reason this is so important and why you need to talk more, and listen less to your brain, is because by consciously choosing the conversations, you become the boss of your brain instead of the other way around. You’re not asking your brain for permission to do something, you’re telling it what you’re going to do by choosing how you want to think and feel on purpose.
Your self-talk is only a problem if you passively believe the unhelpful thoughts your brain is offering. Having negative thoughts isn’t really a problem, in fact it’s completely normal; the problem is when you believe them and let them take you places you don’t want to go.
The unnoticed, unsupervised self-talk that’s been happening up until now is responsible for how you feel, everything you do and don’t do, and for the current results you have in your life. If you don’t like the results, you have to change the conversation.
In order to change your self-talk conversations, you have to choose to be the driver of the bus, as opposed to a passenger. By purposefully telling your brain what’s acceptable and what isn’t, you can reroute the trip and get to the destination of your choosing.
How to take charge
Instead of just getting on the bus of your mind and being driven around aimlessly, you need to give the driver directions by telling it what to think and feel. For the most part you cannot control the circumstances in your life, but you do have control over how you think and feel about those circumstances, which will directly create every result you have.
When you learn how to manage and master your mind, you literally change the neural pathways in your brain and create new routes to get you where you want to go. When you change the routes, you change the experience of the trip and guarantee you’ll get to your destination.
To take charge of your self-talk you first need to actively observe your thoughts, instead of just listening to them. The reason this is important is because the act of observing still gives you authority, where listening is usually followed by doing what you’re told.
Think back to when you were a child, listening to your teacher; you didn’t question him or her. You listened to what they said, you followed their instructions, and may have even gotten in trouble for questioning them.
On the other hand, being the observer of your thoughts is like being the principal in the back of the classroom. You get to be the watcher of your thoughts, and then decide which ones are the most useful for the career, the business and the life you want.
Becoming the observer of my thoughts is the single, most powerful thing I’ve ever done for my own career and personal growth. By taking an interest in my self-talk, and observing what my brain has been saying, I have been able to make some incredible changes in my life.
To do this, I suggest you spend a few minutes each morning just handwriting down your thoughts. When I work with clients, we call this a Thought Download; downloading your thoughts from your brain onto paper so they can be observed.
A word of caution – you might be a little shocked at first when you see all the negatively biased thoughts your brain has been thinking. That’s why you need to be a non-judgmental observer, allowing your brain to be open and not hide what it’s been thinking.
There’s nothing wrong with having negative thoughts; the problem is when you aren’t taking charge of whether you want to think them or not. Begin to take charge of your self-talk by observing and choosing what works for you, how you want to feel, the actions you want to take and the results you want to have.
Now that you have the awareness of the unwanted self-talk that’s been going on in your mind, it’s time to take charge of the conversation. Here are some helpful conversation starters:
- I notice I keep thinking (fill in the blank), but I could choose to see it like this (fill in the blank)
- I’m willing to be wrong about this
- I’ve got this
- I can figure this out, or I can ask for help
- I don’t give up
- I don’t need to be confused
- Things are always working out for me
- I am the driver of this bus
- I accept this, for now
There is no downside to taking charge of the conversation in your brain on a daily basis. Your thoughts are optional, but if you don’t become aware of and direct them, they will just keep repeating the same route which means you’ll keep ending up in the same undesirable location.
The most important person you can have a relationship with is yourself. So start giving her some more attention, and let her know how much you love and appreciate her by taking charge of your self-talk.
- The bubble above your head is like an audiobook narrator, reading the story that your unmanaged mind tells you about yourself and your life.
- To improve any area of your life, you need to learn how to take charge of your self-talk by consciously rewriting and directing the conversation, instead of just passively listening to what it’s saying.
- Your brain’s ability to rewire itself is called neuroplasticity and is incredibly powerful when it comes to having the life or the business you want.
- Having negative thoughts isn’t a problem, in fact it’s completely normal; the problem is when you believe them and let them take you places you don’t want to go.
- Becoming the observer of my thoughts is the single, most powerful thing I’ve ever done for my own career and personal growth.
- Your thoughts are optional, but if you don’t become aware of and direct them, they will just keep repeating the same route which means you’ll keep ending up in the same undesirable location.
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