A simple 10 minute guide to amazing self-talk
We each have many thousands of thoughts every day. Many of them come in the form of self-talk. How you talk to yourself is important for your confidence and self-belief but incredibly; it is often overlooked. Self-talk is a soundtrack that’s constantly playing in your head, and its impact is dramatic. The conversations you have with yourself help determine your emotions and actions. Think about it for a minute; if you are consistently beating yourself up, how can you ever expect to feel good about yourself or believe in yourself? And, as the old question goes, if you don’t believe in yourself, why would anybody else?
Discover The Fundamentals of a Positive Mindset
What are the consequences of negative self-talk?
One of the most common problems you will see from those with poor self-talk habits is that they consistently seek the approval of others. They are willing to give on their own wants, needs and desires in order to gain the approval of others. This is an incredibly unhealthy habit which leads to a severe lack of enjoyment and fulfillment along with a great deal of stress, anxiety and worry. And, it often stems from a lack of self-belief and self-esteem; evidenced by negative self-talk.
Dealing with negative self-talk
Do not underestimate the power of negative self-talk. If you are consistently reinforcing low opinions of yourself, you will come to believe them and act as if they are real. You may not even be aware of the full extent of your negative self-talk but when you’re armed with a little knowledge, you can make some really positive changes.
The following points will help you to learn about the different types of self-talk and how to use them to your advantage.
Self-Talk in General
1. Raise your awareness
Self-talk is so natural that you may not even realize what you’ve been saying to yourself all these years. With any change that you wish to make in your life, you need to become aware of the full extent of the problem before you can set about changing it.
The first step is to become conscious of the commentary you create about your life. Whenever you find yourself in a negative mood, pay attention to the things that you are saying to yourself and how they make you feel. You will soon begin to realise the level of damage that you are doing to yourself.
2. Disrupt old patterns
Just because you are saying it to yourself, it does not mean that it must be true. Do not be afraid to dispute your self-talk (yes you can have a little argument with yourself). Challenge any unduly harsh criticism by telling yourself, out loud if possible, that those comments are untrue and you are over reacting.
Self-talk is also a tool for making changes. For example, if you are beating yourself up about a lack of knowledge or skill, you can use this as an opportunity to create a learning plan for yourself and improve your knowledge and skills.
Note: if you are not prepared to tackle the knowledge or skill deficit, then the issue must not be that important for you so, let it go.
A friend of mine regularly beat himself up about not making the most of his schooling. I asked him if he was prepared to go back to education (at night) and he said ‘No’. I then asked him how it served him to keep beating himself up about something which he was not prepared to do anything about. He soon realised the folly of his behavior and he has since made some improvements.
3. Conduct a reality check
Assess how your self-talk measures up to what’s really happening around you. There’s a big difference between burning one slice of toast and being a failure in the kitchen.
Disputation is a powerful tool. Do not just accept what you say in your self-talk. Challenge any negative thoughts until you have developed a more realistic viewpoint. You don’t have to force yourself to be optimistic about everything but you do need to avoid undue negativity.
4. Talk it over
Feedback from others is also valuable. See how your impressions compare to what your coworkers or partner say about you. You must remember that you cannot be truly objective in your own life, thus making it hard to be completely realistic. Friends tend to be more objective (though not always) and will generally be more realistic in their assessments.
Gaining a 360-degree view on yourself, from people whom you can trust to be honest, will help you to be more realistic.
5. Be consistent
If you are negative with your self-talk, it didn’t happen overnight. You will have been telling yourself the same negative messages, over and over again, until you got to a point where you accepted them as true. That is the power of consistency. The good thing is that you can use consistency to your advantage too.
We need to hear a message multiple times before we accept it. So, instead of the negative messages which you have been feeding yourself, choose a kinder, more supportive message which you can give to yourself. Whenever you find yourself been negative, take charge of your self-talk and deliver this message to yourself, repeatedly. Your inner dialogue will grow wiser with practice and your self-talk will gradually become kinder.
6. Regard yourself as a friend
We sometimes speak more harshly to ourselves than we would to anyone else. Instead, talk to yourself as though you were a loving friend. Seek to be truthful and supportive with yourself.
1. Build up your strength
Motivational self-talk tends to work best in situations that require endurance and confidence. A pep talk can boost your confidence and make you believe in your worth and abilities.
Don’t expect it to happen overnight. Remember that before you truly believe a message, you must receive that message repeatedly. Every time that you are in a position which requires some motivational self-talk, take the opportunity to deliver your positive message. With every use, you will believe it that little bit more.
2. Find your hot buttons
Not every message will work for every person. Certain words resonate better with some than others. To find the right message, you may need to do a little experimenting. Have some fun to find the message that resonates best with you.
Choose words that invigorate you. You may want to call yourself a superhero or remind yourself that you’re awesome.
3. Keep it brief
Don’t try to deliver a rousing speech like Mel Gibson in ‘Braveheart’. It’s a bit like saying ‘No’ to someone. If you provide too much information, you give them something to argue with and pick holes in so, you are better off just saying ‘No’.
When giving yourself a motivational pep talk, don’t give yourself anything to argue with. Using single words and short phrases helps you stay on track. You’ll be more likely to focus on your assets without getting distracted by nagging doubts.
1. Start early
New projects provide an ideal opportunity for instructional self-talk. Coach yourself during the important beginning stages. Be kind, gentle and supportive; just as you would be if you were coaching somebody else.
This provides a great opportunity to be proactive with your self-talk. Because you are being proactive and positive, you will drown out much of the negative self-talk which you may have become accustomed to. Instead of 100% negative self-talk, you will dilute it down with every positive piece of self-talk that you deliver.
2. Be precise
Break tasks down into specific steps. If you’re working on your public speaking, urge yourself to make eye contact, talk at an appropriate pace, and sound enthusiastic during your speech.
It is best to just focus on one or two of these habits with each speech. You will soon find that you do them without thinking about them and you can then focus on a different new habit for the next speech.
3. Visualize success
Picture yourself getting the results you want. Self-talk doesn’t always take the form of words. The images you present yourself with will also deliver either a positive or negative message. When you focus on a positive imagery i.e. achieving your goals, you are reminding yourself that you can do it; that you have the knowledge, skills and attributes necessary to be a success.
Positive visualization is one of the most powerful self-talk habits that you can practice. They say that a picture paints 1,000 words so make sure that you are focusing on positive, empowering imagery.
1. Acknowledge your feelings
Soothing self-talk can help you manage tense moments with more comfort and skill. For best results, accept your emotions instead of trying to suppress them. You can act courageously even if you feel afraid.
2. Create distance
A recent study found that calling yourself by name or substituting the word “you” instead of “I” enabled people to perform better under stress. It’s one way to restore objectivity when you’re feeling pressured.
3. Look on the bright side
Self-talk won’t make life’s challenges disappear. Bad things happen and if you want to continue to grow and thrive, you need to take on bigger and bigger challenges. There will be times when you have doubts and difficulties but these are opportunities to advance yourself.
So how can self-talk help? It can help you respond more constructively. Instead of criticising yourself for a past misstep, concentrate on what you can do better in the future.? It enables you to realise that you are a fallible human being. You understand that just as you have the ability to You don’t have to live with negative self-talk. It doesn’t have to be something which just happens. If you leave your negative self-talk unchallenged, the consequences will continue to get worse, to the point where they cripple your self-belief and self-esteem.
Instead, you can channel your self-talk and start moving in a positive direction. Get in touch with the thoughts that automatically run through your head, and turn them into a steady stream of encouragement. You’ll reduce stress, enhance your self-confidence, and enjoy more success in life.