Do you ever find yourself getting swept into flurries of negative self talk? A triggering situation happens, and you find yourself beating up on yourself, challenging your decisions, and blaming yourself for everything negative that’s happened to you. It can feel like your mind is a terrible bully that you can’t escape no matter how hard you try. All you want to do is stop the negative self talk in its tracks so that you can live in a more peaceful, positive frame of mind.
First, a Word on Self Talk
Self talk is the content and tone of what you tell yourself. It’s the “I can’t believe you ate all those Timbits, fatty!” The “Of course, there you go messing things up yet again.” The “Well obviously something has to be wrong with you given you still haven’t achieved all of your goals.”
These words are incredibly hurtful and when repeated over any duration of time, erode our self-worth. They challenge our beliefs, behaviour, and the true essence of who we are. They attack us in a way that fundamentally shifts our perception of ourselves and the world around us.
The best way I’ve found to overhaul my self-talk is to ask myself one simple question:
What would I say to my best friend if they told me that was their negative self talk?
I’ll give you an example. Say my negative self-talk goes something like this: “Eugh, another blog post that no one has read. Clearly no one wants to read anything you write. Why do you think you have anything worthwhile to say? You should just give up since nothing you do matters anyways.”
To turn it around, I would then ask myself: If my best friend told me that was THEIR negative self talk, what would I say?
In other words, if my best friend came to me and said that she was considering quitting blogging because she felt what she was doing didn’t matter, what would I tell her?
My answer would be something like “I’m sure that must be really hard for you since you put a lot of time and effort into writing posts, and you really want to connect with your readers. Everyone has ups and downs in page views, and no one finds success overnight. Let’s challenge your statements: isn’t it true that people DO read your posts? Isn’t it true that you HAVE written worthwhile posts that have helped people? Look at all of the other indications in your life that you have a lot to offer. Those can’t all be wrong!”
By then internalizing that feedback and realizing its truth, we’re able to break down the power of our inner bully and see things much more clearly.
Why It’s So Powerful
This technique is powerful for a few reasons.
First, it separates you from the “voice”. By attributing the concern (in our example, no one reading blog posts) to someone else, we can see the challenge more objectively. We can then analyze it’s accuracy from a more reasonable standpoint.
Second, it causes us to invoke compassion. If someone close to us shared a concern, insecurity, or fear with us, we would respond with empathy and kindness. We would acknowledge their pain and help them see the bigger picture. And ultimately, fostering a mindset of self-love is something we should be building anyhow!
Lastly, by standing up to the voice, you reinforce your self confidence. My book The Confidence Toolkit goes into much more depth about how to build confidence based on scientifically proven methods. Want to get the first chapter absolutely free? Enter your email address below and I’ll send it to you right away!
Use it Often
The more you practice the technique, the more intuitive it will be, and you’ll find yourself doing it naturally. If you think of yourself as being charged with being your own best friend (as cheesy as that sounds), your inner dialogue will completely shift. Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself credit when credit is due. Don’t allow yourself to put down someone you love and care about.
I hope that helps! Leave me a comment and let me know what techniques you use to be more gentle with yourself.
And don’t forget to sign up below to get a FREE chapter of The Confidence Toolkit today!
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Mimi Keller says
Great post. I bet most people aren’t even aware that their negative self talk can have an impact on their attitude, feelings and behaviour.
Just read this post. Never read your site before but this has changed me. Thank you much.
I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks for your kind comment.