Stop Negative Self-Talk (365 Days of Spirited Living – DAY 98)
(30 Things To Stop Spending Time On If You Want to Be Successful #7)
“Champions learn how to develop empowering beliefs and invest a substantial amount of time solidifying those beliefs, mostly through their own self-talk.”
— Steve Siebold
What you say to yourself is what you ultimately believe. What you believe is what you will eventually do. And what you do is how people will judge you. Most people don’t realize that as we go through each day, our minds are constantly thinking about our thoughts and forming perspectives about situations we find ourselves in. What we tell ourselves about each situation — whether negative or positive — is how we perceive it.
Psychologists call the voice in our heads self-talk. Self-talk is an important part of the human experience. It involved both our conscious and unconscious thoughts and experiences. Some of the things we say to ourselves is right and justifiable at times, but most of what we say, if we’re not careful, can be self-defeating. If we are bent on telling ourselves negative things, is it any wonder that we will feel negatively and act in defeatist ways.
It is one thing to tell yourself, ‘I need to get on the ball and get organized.’ It is quite another thing to tell yourself, ‘I’m so behind I’ll never catch up.’ If you are sad, depressed, anxious, or feeling gloomy all the time, it may be because you are telling yourself things that you don’t need to hear. It is possible that you interpret situations and read people negatively. It is highly likely that you face the day thinking things are impossible when in fact, they are the exact opposite.
This is why it is important to watch what you allow into your mind. Think about everything you think about, but don’t believe everything you think. Negative self-talk often backfires because it leads us to beat ourselves up over things that go wrong or mistakes we make instead of focusing on making positive changes and improving in areas that we have total control of. You are responsible for your outlook on life. If things are not going well, don’t blame others first, look at what you can do to change.
Studies show that negative self-talk is associated with increased stress, escalated anxiety, higher levels of depression, and a readiness to accept failure. Replaying thoughts that are negative or embarrassing and constantly punishing ourselves for past mistakes and failures is counterproductive. Most times it is not other people beating us over the head with some ill-advised decision we’ve made but it is ourselves who are doing the beating. At some point, you will need to get a grip on your mind, learn from situations, and move on.
We engage in negative self-talk many times when we relate current situations or future possibilities to a past experience. If you are unable to eject past failures from your mind, you will impede current progress toward success. If you’ve experienced some level of success before and are trying to build upon it, but are afraid you won’t be able to do so, you need to check your thought patterns. If you acknowledge negative self-talk for what it is, you can choose to gradually change the way you think to empower yourself to be productive and achieve success.
To cover the mouth of that fatal inner critic, put negative thoughts and words into a box, tie a bow on it, and throw it to the highest shelf possible. When you see that tiny box in the recesses of your mind, it will remind you that its power is very small. Ask yourself if you would tell a friend or a family member the things you’re telling yourself. Embracing your imperfections. Be willing to accept your mess ups and move on. Think realistically. Ask yourself if what you are thinking is really helping you or hurting you; is it making you productive or lazy; is it fact or fiction?
Put everything in proper perspective. When you do this, situations often are not as bad as we make them out to be. The worst thing that could happen is often not as powerful as the best thing that could happen. Think about your goals. Ask yourself if your thoughts are making you feel defeated or empowering you to reach your potential. Recognizing when we’re thinking in a self-defeating way can inspire us to look at things from a different perspective.
Don’t stay stuck. Helen Keller said, “When one door of happiness closes, another open; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” There are far more opportunities available to us than we can immediately see. The key is to open space in our minds to realize them when they come our way. The mind is like a tree; it will grow wherever we allow the roots.
You are only as good as the things you believe and as strong as the things you say to yourself. What you tell yourself holds the power to impact your decisions, your attitude, your beliefs, your success, and your future. Our best friend and worst enemy live in our minds. Telling yourself ‘I can’ will soon turn into ‘I will’ and soon after will turn into ‘I did.’ Don’t focus all your attention and energy and avoiding the negative self-talk. Focus on engaging positive self-talk and you will see the negativity vanish.
“If you wouldn’t say those things to someone else you love, why are you saying them to yourself?”
— Elaina Marie