Keeping Self-Talk Out of the Gutter! Our Words Matter
Updated: Jul 9
LAZY, LAZY, LAZY!" I didn’t often hear that word as a child, but somehow the #selftalk stuck. It became a constant refrain in my own head if I paused for any length of time.
When burnout struck, the thought of being lazy became one of my biggest challenges to overcome. You see, I exhausted all the time…barely able to work, missing out on all the things I would normally do in a day, week
But my biggest problem involved my own brain turning against me and accusing me of being lazy! For goodness sake brain, please shut up! What we say to ourselves matters!
We create our own #innerdialogue and on a subconscious level we totally buy into. Words have the power to heal or make us even sicker and I was doing myself no favours by buying into my new ‘lazy’ label.
The question I ask now is why was I so ready to buy into this #label? Being lazy was the opposite to what put me in burnout and not even part of my DNA.
Evidence would show that I’d lived my life with purpose, a strong work ethic and chosen adventure over comfort at every turn. I scaled mountains for fun on the weekends. I had a ‘go hard or go home’ attitude, but my life was long and it was becoming unsustainable.
Little by little my confidence eroded and exhaustion grew as I fell more and more into burnout. I started shunning people – too exhausting. I spent more time at home recovering.
I valued hard work and achievement so this definitely didn’t feel like the life I should be leading. Ah ha - now we are getting to the crux of the problem! It’s a hard word that one…‘should’. Why do we chastise ourselves over what we ‘should’ be doing when it usually hurts more than helps?
What are you ‘shoulding’ yourself over?
Finally when burnout required extended time off, I fretted that I wouldn’t want to work again and become too used to an ‘easy’ lifestyle. I felt judgement for being weak and that troubling word arose…’lazy!’
But was I being judged? Or was I judging myself?
On reflection, I needed time off to re-evaluate and reset as part of the burnout experience. I was being smart, not lazy! This label was in fact a complete disservice, a #weed buried deep through years of programming and hurting my health even further. So embedded was this weed, it needed yanking before it was loose enough to pull out completely.
What about you? What are your weeds?
We all have them, a version of ‘lazy’ going through our head. That stops us in our tracks or at the very least holds us back from the big stuff in life…realising your own potential or even the simple act of loving and being happy.
As I relaxed into my burnout and recovery (yes relaxing into it is a thing!) I learnt to catch the thought as it went through my mind. At the start I thought it a lot - I was really abusive to myself. Using a combination of logic and emotion I’d refute it’s truth – I’m not lazy, I’m burnt out and I need a new way.
So, what do we do about this?
Though this experience I came up with a #formula for how you can deal with your own weedy language. It goes something like this:
>> Step 1 – Awareness
How often are we not even aware that we’re making these snarky comments to ourselves. This step is about becoming aware of your inner voice.
What are your word(s)?
How can you catch every moment your word comes up?
>> Step 2 – Acceptance
Self-talk is buried deep in our subconscious. With acknowledgement you can analyse it's effect, providing the motivation to change. This step is about accepting your inner voice.
How do you feel when you say your word(s)?
What effect does this have on you?
>> Step 3 - Reframe
With insight into your inner dialogue, you can upgrade your words to be more helpful and accurate. This step is about replacing what doesn’t serve you with more accurate and resourceful assessments.
When it arises, can you acknowledge the thought and let it know it's no longer needed?
What can you replace it with that will better serve you?
This is a #practice – some days are easier than others and like any hardy weed it still raises its ugly head from time-to-time. But it is necessary to clear the path so you can understand what your burnout is here to tell you and move on to greener pastures ahead.
Sarah Vizer is the creator of Beyond Burnout.
As a High Performance and Burnout Specialist she has dedicated her time to supporting our top professionals reach new levels of high performance, without the burnout.
She offers individual and team support for you and your organisation.