We all have that inner voice that runs commentary in our heads. It’s subtle and sometimes, it’s so ingrained in us that we don’t pay any attention to it but accept it as a part of us. It’s all well and good if the voices are positive and inspiring, but when they’re negative, they can impact your emotions in ways that you never expected.
Positive self-talk can be a great asset in keeping us motivated and pumped about our lives, but the negative ones affect our emotional health and leave us feeling crappy day after day. Very often, a lot of the self-sabotage that happens is an end result of negative self-talk. Imagine trying to ace a job interview when the voice in your head is constantly telling you that you are a failure who never does anything well. Impossible, right?
Negative self-talk can cause a lot of stress and stop you from reaching your full potential in life. I’ve always said that a lot of emotional states begin in the mind. If you always talk negatively to yourself, there’s no way you will feel good about yourself.
We learn a lot of what forms our self-talk in our early childhood and adolescence from parents, teachers and other adults who had the chance to speak over us. For the most part, we had no influence on what they said and if you were constantly berated and talked down on as a child, chances are that you developed a negative perception about yourself over time.
That’s why I believe it’s so important that parents learn to show unconditional positive regard for their children and constantly affirm them at every chance they get. You’re not coddling them – you’re raising them into being emotionally healthy adults.
The good news is that if you find that your self-talk is negative, you can change it into one that is positive and helps you thrive. It might take a little time and intentionality, but it is very possible.
Here are a few simple ways you can change that negative self-talk to one that is positive:
Make a list of the positive things about yourself
You’ve probably had several voices tell you what is bad about you. It’s time to counter that narrative and start affirming the good things about you. I recommend you make a list and decide to start saying them to yourself every day. Positive affirmations are one of the most effective ways you can change your self-talk. Put them on your wall, on your phone home screen, on the sticky note app on your laptop or even ask your friends to send them to you!
Pay attention to your thoughts
Paying attention to your thoughts will help you recognize when negative self-talk kicks in. And whenever the negativity kicks in, replace it with positive words. The next time your head tells you that you will do a bad job at that presentation at work – counter it with a positive affirmation about yourself. I recommend you say it out loud, after all, you can’t think of a negative thing if you’re saying positive things at the same time.
Surround yourself with positive people
‘Bad energy stay far away’ was one of the wisest quotes ever said. There’s no way your self-talk will be positive if those closest to you always talk down on you. Sometimes though, there’s no way you can avoid them, especially if they are your parents. In times like this, replace those negative words they say to you with your own positive thoughts about yourself. If they say, “I knew you’d fail again”, don’t take it in, instead say to yourself mentally, “I might have failed at this but there are several other things I am good at and I know I can succeed at them.”
Every single day you are awake is an opportunity to improve your self-talk.