Have you ever been so hard on yourself, you thought things like “I’m such an idiot”, “I’m no good”, “I will never succeed”? Yeah, me too. People talk about being judgmental of others, which toxifies the mind as well as the soul. Yet, what’s even more lethal is how we so often do this to ourselves, most of the time without noticing it.
Why Is Negative Self Talk Bad for Me?
We all know that inner voice critic, which says things that you don’t necessarily say out loud, like a subtle running commentary in the background of your mind. But wait! This voice is sometimes useful when it keeps us motivated towards our goals. Yeah, then again, once it goes negative, there is no one to protect you from you but you!
The more you second-guess what other people are thinking or how situations will turn out without any evidence, the more you magnify your errors and see changes as disastrous, the less free your mind will be to find creative solutions for your challenges and the more you will question your abilities. Then, you can’t blame others when they start to question your abilities too. This triggers a vicious circle that will cause you to doubt yourself even more and the irony is – it all started in your own head.
How Do I Start?
It takes a mindful person to recognize this habit of negative self-talk – this is the first most important step. To be mindful, is to deliberately pay attention to your thoughts and sensations, in the present moment without judgment. Once you recognize the habit of negative self-talk, the hard work starts. Basically, you need to build your positive self-talk muscle and the only way to do this, is through practice.
How Do I Practice My Positive Self -Talke Muscle?
You monitor your self-talk as if you are another person watching your own self. Pay attention to you as you wake up, when you are cooking, exercising, driving, waiting at a restaurant to be served, aka in all situations. Once you come across negative self-talk, you need to replace it with something positive – or at least neutral. There are various other techniques that can help you, for example when you catch yourself thinking negatively, you just stop the thought immediately by snapping a rubber band that you wear around your wrist. The band will work as a reminder and a distracter. Later when you are in a clearer state of mind, you can re-evaluate how true the thought was, because honestly, most of what we think and feel isn’t actually true.
At the beginning, it may be difficult to minimize your negative self-talk but eventually it will come naturally to you and you might even enjoy that power you develop over your brain. I say we all need to take charge of our minds and develop the habit of talking to ourselves as we do to a treasured friend. After all, how do we expect the world to be kind and friendly to us if we can’t do it ourselves?