What If You Could Overcome Toxic Self Talk?
It’s currently the start of the first class cricket season in the UK.
And if I’m honest, having retired professionally nearly 7 years ago now, this time of year hasn’t got much easier.
I catch myself saying a toxic phrase that I think I’ll deal with for the rest of my life.
What if I was still playing?
What if my back didn’t fracture?
What if I’d done things slightly differently?
Thankfully, I’ve learn’t through my mindfulness practice to be able to put these thoughts aside. Like an old out-of-fashion bag that I no longer wish to carry around, I place it in my cupboard.
It doesn’t mean that it (the thoughts) doesn’t exist, I just choose to move onto something new.
Or something that has evolved.
It’s common for my athlete clients, to have these ‘what if’s’ too.
What if things don’t work out the way I wanted?
What if I’d made a different decision here?
What if the referee didn’t make that call?
What if the opposition had done something different?
It’s one of the worst places to dwell – this thought of ‘what if?’
Whatever happened, or didn’t happen. One thing is true.
Everything happened the way it did, and no other way.
So how do we overcome our “what ifs”?
Like I mentioned, a great help (and one I signpost to a lot) is mindfulness.
The practice of learning to see your thoughts as they occur, to detach from them, and to sometimes ask questions of them.
Here we can learn to understand what we are thinking.
The trouble is, we attach ourselves to these negative story lines resulting in us living in fear, anger, regret, guilt or shame.
But the great thing is while this can happen, with a little effort and direction we can decide another direction.
We can decide to focus on what is true, what we hope for and what we can control.
So ask yourself.
What if the worst thing happens?
What if I can handle it?
And finish by asking: Can I control it?
In the MindStrong Mindset Course the Controllables vs Uncontrollables exercise is one of the most powerful exercises we find members having these a-ha moments.
And through these realisations is that fact that if we can’t control it, we must accept it or we’ll suffer.
So when you catch yourself saying “what if?” be sure to follow it up with something you’re excited about – and show up from that place.
But ultimately – What if it turns out better than I could imagine?
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