One of the very first steps in our healing journey was discovering our negative self-talk. Here at ming+ming, we call it our negative reel.
The constant repetition of doubts and fears plaguing our thoughts is what reminds us of an old fashioned movie reel. The incessant tick, tick, tick, ticking noise in the background while the film reels go around and around projecting how we view ourselves and how we think others may view us too.
With our negative reel running in the back of our minds all the time, we were unconsciously losing trust in our own abilities. We didn’t trust that we had what it takes to meet new challenges and succeed. It deprived us of our courage to take leaps of faith. It robbed us of our self worth. It created massive amounts of negative dialogue that forced us to look for external validation. It kept us stuck and eventually we lost our way because honestly, we didn’t even know we were shit talking ourselves all the time.
Deep down, we felt that something wasn’t right. But we also felt overwhelmed with our daily responsibilities and maintaining others' expectations. We were exhausted, confused, and imbalanced, leaving little energy to evaluate our situation or consider changing our routines.
It took us quite some time to even recognize our negative reels since it was a familiar voice. And it took us even longer to stand up for ourselves and tell our negative reel that we’re not buying what she’s selling anymore. In hindsight, we can now say that this step of identifying our negative reel, quieting it down, and replacing it is the crucial first step to getting unstuck.
Once we recognized our negative reel, we had to rebuild our relationship with ourselves first. We had to build a foundation of trust. It was impossible to move forward and have honest conversations with ourselves if we didn’t trust that we had our own backs.
We knew that constantly looking for others to validate our worthiness only strengthened our negative reel, leaving us feeling out of control. We recognized that the fear projected by our negative reel dictated our decisions and actions by keeping us stuck and too afraid to do anything different. And we were trying so hard to hold it all together but the emotional outbursts, physical ailments, and strained relationships were all markers that something was off.
It wasn’t until further along our healing journeys that we recognized the power of the words we say to ourselves. The voices that sounded just like our own were telling us that we weren’t good enough, no one would care, and we had run out of time to change. These messages were so embedded into our thoughts that we never questioned them as we continued to hold on to our limiting beliefs.
The fact of the matter is that change is hard and we have no control over the outcome. These two factors can make it feel nearly impossible to get off the starting block, let alone move forward with your dreams and deepest desires. And you most certainly cannot go on such a treacherous and difficult journey if your lifelong traveling companion is telling you that there’s no way you are going to make it.
We had to build that foundation of trust within ourselves since it is our own opinion that always surrounds us. We had to learn how to find that inner strength and stick up for ourselves. We had to be the one telling ourselves: there is nothing wrong with you, you can make these changes, you can do hard things and you are worth it.
It was only when we were able to replace the negative reel with loving words of encouragement and give ourselves the grace of forgiveness that we could start moving forward with our first steps to sustainable and lasting change.
Shifting our negative reel gave us the permission to try and fail. It helped us realize that we give others too much power over our thoughts and feelings. It gave us confidence that we are stronger than we know. It helped us acknowledge that deep inside we knew how to get unstuck, but the noise was so loud that it left us confused and disappointed in our progress.
If you can relate to this personal struggle, then we are here to help. Recognizing your negative reel is your first step but we know how difficult it is to differentiate your true voice from your negative reel since they usually sound the same. You are not alone - this is hard stuff - and we’re here to coach you when you’re ready.
In the meantime, keep following along with us in February to help identify your negative reel. We will be sharing personal stories and the tools we used to help recognize, understand and quiet down our negative reels.
Ming-Wai + Ming-Cee