I am in the beginning stages of banishing my own negative self talk. By ‘negative self talk’ I mean that little voice that keeps nagging me about everything I do, telling me whatever I do is not good enough or I don’t deserve a compliment. Negative self talk also goes hand in hand with poor self esteem and Impostor Syndrome.
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My Own Experience with Negative Self Talk
After my first 5k the first thing I said to myself was, ‘it’s only 5k, it’s not that big of a deal, why should you be proud of yourself? People run 5ks all the time.’ But I did awesome during the race, I finished, and I ran more then I ever had before while I was training for the 5k, AND I was a beginner. Even though I didn’t expect much, I exceeded my own expectations.
The same goes for Taekwondo tournaments. Even when winning a gold medal I will have something negative to say to myself, a reason why I didn’t really deserve first place, or telling me why I shouldn’t celebrate, or picking out every tiny mistake I may have made.
I’m working on publishing my own book now. I have the first draft almost complete, but that little voice just will not shut up. The story flowed out so easily during NaNoWriMo, but now that little inner critic is telling me I wasted my time writing this book.
The worst is compliments. When I receive a compliment it is very hard for me to just say ‘thank you’. Sometimes I am able to force myself to tell them thank you, and then in my head I will tell myself they are just being nice or polite, they didn’t mean it, they had to say it.
This kind of negative self talk is very hard on your self-esteem, and can cause stress. I want to stop my own inner dialogue so I am more positive in how I think and speak about myself. That little voice in my head needs to stop belittling everything I do.
Tips to Stop Negative Self Talk
The next time you feel that negative voice creep into the back of your mind, try one of these methods:
- Remember your worth. You are a great parent, you have great kids, you are successful, you are good at what you do, you have talent, you are a valuable member of society, etc. Don’t let negative self talk steal your thunder! Celebrate your worth!
- What would your sister/husband/best friend tell you in this situation? You were just given a compliment by a co-worker on a job well done. How would your sister/husband/friend tell you to handle it? They would no doubt tell you to accept the compliment and move on, you deserve it! Don’t let your brain say something to you that you would never say to someone else.
- Change your thinking. You are in public and something embarrassing happens. For example, you fell flat on your face, in the middle of a crowded mall. Instead of running to hide, ask yourself if anyone cares. Chances are – they don’t. They were too busy watching their own kids, or playing on their cell phones, or worrying about things that are happening in their own lives. Yes, it’s embarrassing! But no one is going to be thinking about it a few hours from now.
- Move on from negative thinking. You realize that you have been calling a client the wrong name for half an hour. Acknowledge, apologize, move on. There is no need to dwell and beat yourself up over simple mistakes. Try and think of a positive that happened during the conversation instead of the little mistake you may have made.
- Don’t let yourself over-think. If you do find yourself dwelling on something, distract yourself. Take a walk, play a game with your kids, call a friend. Don’t throw yourself a pity party.
Resources That Can Help
There are lots of books that can help you specifically with banishing negative self talk, here are a few books I found on Amazon:
- Negative Self Talk and How to Change It
- What to Say When You Talk to Your Self
- Enough: Silencing the Lies That Steal Your Confidence
- Transforming Negative Self-Talk: Practical, Effective Exercises
Your Inner Dialogue Becomes Reality
Although it may seem harmless, letting your inner dialogue constantly put you down can help those little thoughts become reality. Telling yourself that you will always be fat or that you should give up on a hobby because you are no good at it will end up in those thoughts becoming true.
If you are always telling yourself that you can’t do something, you are going to start believing it and stop trying. Telling yourself you will always be fat is giving yourself an excuse to continue on with your unhealthy lifestyle habits. Telling yourself that you will never be good at a hobby you love will result in you never getting better because you end up quitting and never getting any practice to allow yourself to get better eventually.
If you tell yourself something for long enough, it’s going to come true.
Getting Professional Help
If negative self talk is starting to effect your life in a way that you can’t manage on your own, I urge you to speak to a professional. Talking to a therapist, counselor, psychologist, your doctor, etc, could not only help you manage your negative self talk, but the persistent negative self talk may be an indication that you are also experiencing something more serious like depression or anxiety.
If you can’t improve it on your own, a professional can help you manage how you speak to yourself by giving you the tools and support you need to overcome your negative self talk.
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