Tips for Defeating Negative Self-Talk
What if we only let the voices inside our heads speak to us the way we speak to dogs?
When we talk to dogs, we are enthusiastic, positive, and sweet. What if we only allowed our self-talk in a positive way?
“Who is the best person ever? You are!”
“Such a smart decision! Who makes good decisions? You make good decisions!”
“Are you the best leader? Yes, you are! Yes, you are!”
“Who is beautiful and handsome and charming?”
“Want to play the business game today? Let’s chase all the great business!”
“Who wants to make business calls? Who is the best at making business calls?”
“Who is going to go get that business? You are! Yes, you are! Let’s go get that business!”
You get the idea. – You are caught up in a cycle. You know the one. You have been talking down to yourself for a while. Words in your mind point out your flaws and mistakes.
Negative self-talk can be insidious. It gets in your head, courtesy of previous experiences and negative input from people who do not always mean well. Once there, it sometimes plays the same song on repeat, growing somehow. If you listen to the negative messages, you discourage yourself. Your dreams seem impossible. You convince yourself that goals cannot be achieved.
The voice in your head is you, so control the message. Put an end to the negative self-talk finally.
Easier said than done? Not necessarily. Try these techniques:
Find the Calm – You cannot reach your full potential when you are feeling overly emotional, vulnerable, and unhappy. Find a quiet place and sit down to take a few deep breaths. If you can, meditate or try a mindfulness exercise until you can reach a peaceful place internally.
Dig into the Roots – Ask yourself what those thoughts represent. Where did this come from? Is this from an expectation you put on yourself at some point, or does it come from someone else entirely?
Drop Unreasonable Expectations – Are you trying too hard to be perfect in some regard? Is there a more reasonable expectation you can put on yourself in the place of this thought?
Turn The Talk Around – What is the positive counterpoint to this thought? For example, if you are worried about how bad you are with money, remind yourself of a time when you saved up for something you wanted, or think about a time when you paid off a debt and how good it felt afterward.
Create Tiny Habits – Replace one prevailing negative thought with a positive one. What is the new thought you want to repeat instead of the negative thought? How can you make that thought a habit?
The more you react in a new way to an old stimulus, the quicker a new habit is formed, and the old reaction disappears.
Just Stop – In the end, the only way to get rid of a negative thought is to consciously put a halt to it. Once you have gone through these steps, tell yourself to stop when the idea comes up again, and keep telling it to stop until it goes away completely.
You do not have to listen to negativity, but sometimes it becomes so firmly entrenched you might have trouble dislodging it by yourself. When this happens, do not be afraid to ask for help. Talking to a trusted friend or counselor can help you lay this negative chatter to rest once and for all.
And maybe, just maybe, start by talking to yourself the way you would talk to a dog.