Self-talk, whether positive or negative, is your inner voice that says things you seldom speak out loud. How you talk to yourself determines the kind of person you are becoming.
The good news and the bad news about self-talk is that what you say is what you get. Speak critically to yourself and you will think badly about yourself. Speak graciously to yourself and you will think kindly about yourself. Your words will either bless or curse you and only you can control them.
Here are your choices –
Positive self-talk makes you feel confident, poised and assertive. It is like having a happy, optimistic tune playing in the recesses of your mind reminding you to look on the bright side, see the good, or to expect success.
Negative self-talk makes you feel unattractive, dumb, and faint-hearted. It is like having a perpetual moaning lament, a funeral dirge playing in the recesses of your mind reminding you of all the horrible things that have happened or might happen to you.
Which voice is the loudest for you?
Learn how to make self-talk work FOR you not against you. Here are four intellectual tricks you can pull on yourself to halt the nasty, negative, oppressive self-criticisms that hold you back:
Eavesdrop on yourself. Take note of the words you use to describe yourself. Do you say things like, “I look ugly,” or “I can’t learn anything new,” or “I’m nothing compared to those people,” or “I’m not very smart, after all, I flunked 7th Grade math.”
Pay attention to what you are saying to yourself. You may have become habitually addicted to self-criticism, and that self-criticism will keep you from becoming the person God intends for you to be.
Your first step to halt negative self-talk is to know what your inner voice is saying.
Cross-examine yourself. Your negative self-criticisms are likely untrue. Just because you flunked 7th Grade math does not mean you are dumb. It only means you flunked 7th Grade math.
Ask things like: What evidence is there for what I just called myself? Would I talk to another person the way I talk to myself? Are there more positive, uncritical ways I can speak to myself about myself? You want others to tell you the truth, don’t you? You should also want YOU to tell YOURSELF the truth about YOU.
Interrupt yourself. When you face a significant problem and your inner negative voice says, “Here we go again – another opportunity to prove how stupid I am!” Interrupt the negative voice with positive words. The voice may start out saying, “Here you go again,” but you catch yourself about to criticize yourself. Interrupt the sentence and speak out loud, “Another opportunity to solve a problem and be a happy person.”
Promise yourself. You are the only one who decides what your mind focuses on so promise yourself to be kind to yourself. Stop the nasty, negative self-criticisms and replace them with complimentary, up-beat messages to yourself.
Speak gently and kindly to yourself and you will be happier, have more peace of mind, and display a quiet confidence that will impress others.
- 3.4 Protect your mind from shallowness
- 3.6: Protect your mind from Pride