Changing the Circumstance Won’t Improve Your Negative Self Talk


One of the most powerful things that we teach in life coaching is that our circumstances never cause our feelings. Ever. 

We are not at the cause of anything.

This is wonderful news because it switches up the power dynamic.

If circumstances were in charge of how you felt, or what actions you took/didn’t take, and what results you get in your life, then we’d all be screwed.

& most of us live our lives that way, our entire lives.

Outside of the coaching world that I’m apart of, I often see the helping professional attempting to help their clients do this very thing, not just on a larger scale, but even on a smaller scale.

Let’s take my history with running as a perfect example.

I have a lot of negative stories about my history with running from my childhood. Terrible memories that I tell from a very negative place. I also struggled a lot with negative self talk when I would run as an adult, and when I trained for two half marathons.

I always thought it was running’s fault for my negative self talk.

That I just shouldn’t run because I have negative self talk while I run.

That I should avoid it.

That it was bad for me because of all of the thoughts running triggered.

I was at the cause of running.

So I decided to stop running because it was unsafe for me because of my negative self talk while running.

But now I know that was never the case.

The only problem was the thoughts I was having about running. I felt better when I wasn’t running, not because I wasn’t running, but because I didn’t have the negative thoughts about myself. If I wanted to run and liked my reason, I could absolutely run if I was willing to do the work on my thoughts while I was running. If I were willing to do the self coaching to eliminate the negative self talk while running. 

Instead, I just quit running.

How often do we do this? Change the circumstance that we believe is causing us our negative thinking. Or maybe we don’t even realize it’s causing negative thinking, we simply think that running is making us feel terrible - and not just physically. 

Time and time again, I’ve stopped doing things because I didn’t want to have to deal with the negative thoughts in my brain, believing that it was the thing I ended up quitting’s fault that I was having those negative thoughts. 

But it was never the fault of those things I quit. Ever.

I just put off doing the work on my own thought life by putting myself in situations that were easy to have naturally better thoughts about them.

I’m not there anymore. I want the tough thought work. I want to be in what I view as challenging circumstances right now in order to go through the work to make it no longer challenging without changing that circumstance at all.

I say bring it on. 

& boy, did I bring it on.