Let’s talk about how you talk to yourself. Yeah, you talk to yourself ALL THE TIME! You probably say things like, “I’m so dumb, I can’t believe I forgot my keys,” or “I’m such a lazy person for skipping the gym today.” Silly statements like these may seem like no big deal, but psychology shows us that they are a HUGE deal as they have an effect on a person’s confidence and self-belief. You may not have noticed, but in those two statements, you just labeled yourself as “dumb” and “lazy.” Are you really dumb and lazy, or were you just forgetful and tired? This soundtrack of thoughts that you either say out-loud or mentally is called self-talk, and it matters if you want to live with less stress, anxiety, and worry. Transform your negative self-talk to constructive self-talk and notice how your confidence and self-esteem flourish! The following steps will help you recognize your own self-talk and guide you in how to engage in constructive self-talk.
1.Become aware of your own self-talk
This step may seem easy, but it actually takes effort to bring your attention to your thoughts. When you engage your awareness, you begin to notice your everyday thoughts. Notice how many times you label yourself or other people. Also recognize the phrases you think when the day becomes stressful and overwhelming. For example, when worry rushes through you, are you thinking, “This is too difficult, I can’t do it.” If you’ve never brought your awareness to your self-talk before, this is going to be eye-opening! Stay AWAY from judging your thoughts, just be AWARE. Pretend like you’re a spectator at a baseball game, except don’t yell at the umpire. (Maybe that was a bad example... you get the idea!)
2. Get ready to confront old thinking patterns
Once you become aware of your self-talk and recognize the thoughts that are dragging you down, it’s time to make a change! As you will begin to notice, not everything you say to yourself is true. Challenge yourself whenever your thoughts become mean and correct them when they are false. Be realistic with your situation and have your thoughts appropriately reflect your life. Our minds are quick to generalize one situation and make it the billboard of our life. You make a mistake at work and suddenly you’re the biggest failure in life who will never be successful. Stay consistent in your efforts to confront your self-talk and it will get easier! If you still feel like your thoughts are really wreaking havoc on your life, maybe you need some extra help and that’s okay! Find a mental health professional in your community who can assist you on your journey!
3. Be your own friend
Treat yourself as you would a friend you really love. We can quickly become our own worst critics, belittling every little thing we do to the point where nothing seems to be good enough anymore. Just STOP! Be kind to yourself. Be supportive and caring especially when life gets tough. Sometimes when someone isn’t readily available to care for your emotions and needs, you’re all you got.