One of the most damaging things we do to ourselves is to beat ourselves up with our words. Men, women and children, alike, are constantly putting themselves down in both their thoughts and words.

The constant barrage of toxic messages we feed ourselves sounds like this:

• I’m so stupid
• I’m lazy
• I’m a procrastinator
• I’m fat
• What a klutz!
• I’ll never amount to anything
• I don’t have what it takes
• I’ll never find anyone. No one will ever want me. I should just take what I can get
• I’m so disorganized
• I suck. I’m such a loser
• I’m an idiot

All of the statements above -- and the thousand other similar statements we make to ourselves -- are what a client once called stinkin’ thinkin’. This type of thinking is toxic. It not only starts to slowly chip away at our souls, it also begins to seep into our lives and our relationships.

When I was in high school, I read a line in a poem that said, “What the mind believes, the body achieves.” When we constantly tell ourselves we are ugly, stupid, fat, worthless, etc., we begin to take that persona on—we act as though our thoughts are correct. We also then begin to transfer that negativity to the world. It’s very difficult to be so contemptuous of ourselves without being equally contemptuous of the world. Stinkin’ thinkin’ can spread like wildfire. Before too long, it can drag us down, lead to poor choices and feel like a gray cloud is constantly surrounding us.

It’s time to stop the barrage of negativity in our lives. The truth is...you are precious, I am precious and we all are precious. Each and every one of us is worthy in our own right. We make mistakes because…we are human. We drop things…because we are human. We can’t be perfect at everything…because we are human. Instead of beating ourselves up for our mistakes, we need to have compassion for our humanity. We can hold ourselves in warm regard and learn from our mistakes at the same time.

The days of punitive parenting are gone. Punitive parenting is damaging. It is toxic. We need to learn to parent ourselves with love, compassion and guidance—not ridicule, shaming and brutality. Stop the stinkin’ thinkin’.

If you make a mistake, learn from it and do things differently next time. If you gain weight, love yourself enough to take small steps to treat yourself better. Do not chastise yourself and think that will help. It won’t.

Know that you are a wonderful human being, capable of amazing things. Don’t doubt that…be committed to believe in it. Start today to become your best friend. It’s the only way to a healthier, happier tomorrow (for you and for those around you).

Challenge: For 1-2 weeks track how you talk to yourself. Pay attention to all the stinkin’ thinkin’ that goes on in your head and comes out your mouth. Next, turn each negative statement into a compassionate one. If you say, “I’m fat,” turn that into, “I would like to lose ___ pounds.” You may not call yourself names, speak/think of yourself contemptuously or put yourself down in anyway.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Merlo-Booth is a relationship coach with over 15 years of experience in the field of therapy and coaching. She has worked with individuals, families and couples on a variety of life issues. http://www.relationalcoaching.com.

She earned her Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Pepperdine University in 1991 and has received her coaching training from Coach University. Lisa is the Director of Training for the Relational Life Institute owned by the renowned author, Terrence Real.

Check out Lisa's blog on relationships at http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/