We all have it. Well, most every human I’ve ever discussed this with, has it: the story you tell yourself as to why you can’t ___________ (fill in the blank). Why you can’t reach your dreams, or better yet, forget about reaching them. The old tape can prevent you from even trying to reach them. It tells you why you can’t have a healthy relationship. Why you can’t live where you want. Why you can’t feel daily happiness. Why you can’t have your favourite pie (just have the damn pie!).
Popular tunes on the Old Tape include hits such as:
- I’m not smart enough
- I’m not thin enough
- I’m just not good at completing things
- I’m too young
- I’m too old
- I’m not popular enough
- I don’t have enough influence
- I’m not talented enough
- I’m not good enough
- I’m not deserving of love
- I’m worthless
- I’m a failure
- I screw everything up, so why even try
I could go on… but you get the point!
A wise woman told me years ago that this is the “Old Tape”. This sneaky little bully is often completely subconscious. It lurks in the background, wishing, waiting, plotting for its moment to come out of the shadows. You may not even know that it’s there. In your weakest, most vulnerable, tear-streaked moment, it jumps out and POW!! – kicks you square in the jaw. I’m here to call it out. We’re going to call it out together, ok? Are you ready? Come, I’ll hold your hand. The Old Tape is not your friend.
Think about it. Tune into a few of the things that your Old Tape tells you. Listen to it. Hear it out. And then we are going to tackle that little sucker to the ground! Does it tell you some of the things listed above? Or does it have its own, special poisonous way of breaking you down to make you feel like a worthless, miserable lump??
The Old Tape must be destroyed!!!
It’s not serving you. I guarantee it. And it’s certainly not helping you to serve and fulfill your mission/purpose in the world. Be honest. Would you let someone talk to your best friend the same way that you let your Old Tape talk to you? My guess is, no. My guess is that if you heard someone talking to your best friend like that, there would be some words exchanged, and they wouldn’t be words you’d want your Mama to hear.. amiright?
Often times, dare I say most of the time, these self-limiting and self-loathing beliefs date back to years and years ago when you were just a little thing. Maybe you were bullied at school, maybe your home life was filled with trauma, maybe your favourite dog died just when you needed her most and it instilled a belief that love equals pain and loss. Take note of the memories that come back as you begin to identify your internal commentary. Once you identify them, you can begin to understand those memories from an adult perspective and begin the process of forgiveness and letting go.*
This internal dialogue can be more damaging and devastating than any insult an outsider could sling at you. The most beautiful thing about this internal voice, however, is that it is mighty powerful. More powerful than anything anyone could ever say to you (see what I did there?).
Think about it, if you could harness the sheer power and influence that your internal voice has over you, do you think it could shift your mood? Do you think it could change your day? Do you think it could change your life? Let me help you out here… Yes to all three!
Here is what I invite you to do:
Create your New Tape.
Decide how you want to feel. Decide how you want to show up in the world. Decide exactly who you want to be. Who YOU want to be, not who someone else wants to see. Decide exactly what’s important to you.
List all of the good things about you. List all of the great things about you. List all of the unique/inspiring/magnificent things about you. Begin to create a new story of how you are, how worthy you are, how your contributions to the world really do mean something, how you inspire others, how you are perfect exactly as you are, that it’s safe to trust others, and that it’s safe to trust yourself.
This is a way of creating personally meaningful affirmations. If you’re on the fence as to whether affirmations ‘work’ or not, just check out how well your Old Tape has been working all these years. It’s filled with negative affirmations and it’s been on a loop for decades! And my guess is that if you’ve read this far, the Old Tape filled with negative affirmations, has been impacting your life negatively. Which is exactly why we are going to flip it on its head.
Create a reel of go-to positive phrases to carry around in the back of your mind. When the Old Tape chimes in, immediately identify it and sling one of your stardust-laden positive phrases back at it. The first step really is to identify when it pops in- like your oh-so-sweet neighbour that wants to drop in every day to talk far too extensively about last nights episode of Scandal…make it stop! Once you have identified when it’s there, it’s easier to make it go away. When you have your rolodex of counter-phrases, you can effectively shut down the Old Tape, until eventually your New Tape takes over. That shiny, glossy, skip-in-its-step, make you feel alive, New Tape. It will phase out the Old Tape, and it will become the funky background beat in the dancehall of your brain.
Need a little help creating your personal affirmations? Here’s a little help to start you off:
- I am deserving of love
- My life has meaning
- I am perfect exactly as I am
- I love myself
- I trust others and I trust myself
- I am strong and capable
- I am intelligent
- I make a positive impact in the world
- I am a beautiful human being
- I create my happiness
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will never ever ever have any negative internal talk, ever again until the end of time. You are human, and we seem to be hardwired for self-criticism. You might find that every once in a while, the Old Tape decides to come out of retirement for one final farewell tour, again, and then again. But you’ll now have the tools and the know-how to escort it off the stage, right quick like. You get the stage all to yourself.