Improve Your Life #10: Change Negative Self Talk
Self talk is the way we talk to ourselves in our mind. Everybody uses some kind of self talk to consider ideas, make decisions and react to events. Becoming aware of how you use self talk in different situations will help you understand what you really want and improve your entire life.
Negative self talk happens when something goes wrong. It can be either you blaming yourself for what happened or telling yourself that you deserved this negative outcome. In the first case you are downplaying your abilities and in the other you question your worth as a human being. But this is not the way to improve your life. Don’t beat yourself up every time something doesn’t go the way you intended or expected.
I once read that if our boss would talk to us as we talk to ourselves then we would quit immediately. So, don’t beat yourself up, there’s nobody to stand up for you. Encouragement and positive reinforcement are much better way to go about it if you want to achieve results.
1. First start to take note of how you talk to yourself. Notice both positive and negative self talk and understand which happens in what kind of situations. Try to be neutral and just understand what goes on in your head.
2. Think about ways you can replace your negative self talk with positive thinking. If you stumble on a pebble don’t tell yourself how clumsy you are, take note of the event and remind yourself to be more careful on an uneven terrain.
3. Now, gradually replace negative self talk with positive. When you make mistakes don’t yell in your head “Stupid!” or “Idiot!” consider what happened and what you can learn from it (you either win some or learn some). Decide how to be better next time. If something bad happens to you don’t start the endless “Why me?” cycle. We, humans, are smart and we’ll always find and answer to “why me” question and it will not make out day better. Think what you can learn from the experience and understand that this was just statistical probability catching up with you, not a deep flaw in your character.
4. Make a habit out of positive self talk. Get really good at catching yourself when you slip into negativity and your days will be a lot lighter. Don’t forget to give yourself some credit every now and then.
If you hear a voice within you saying, You are not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. ~~Vincent van Gogh
Sometimes I find my kid in a “why me” or “I’m too stupid to do this” cycle. I ask him to apologize to himself and list the reasons why the things he said are not true. You can try this yourself or with your kids so they get the right mindset early on.
Now, for the next few days take note how you talk to yourself and treat yourself with respect you deserve.