How we talk to ourselves is incredibly important.
How we talk to ourselves is reflected back in how we feel about ourselves. Our self-talk directly affects our happiness and success.
It goes without saying, if you walk around telling yourself you’re a failure or a loser, you’re not going to be overflowing with confidence and self-love!
While we are aware that words like failure and loser can cause damage, what we need to remember is that sometimes everyday words or actions can also have a negative impact on our lives.
These words or actions might seem subtle but they can do real damage.
Let’s look at three aspects of our self-talk that can harm us and look at how we can turn them into positive self-talk.
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Watch out for always and never
How often do you use the words always and never? More importantly how often do you use them in a negative context?
Let’s look at a couple of examples.
I’ll never get out of debt.
I always ruin my relationships.
While always and never might seem fairly ordinary at first glance, we have a serious problem if we start believing them.
If you believe you will never get out of debt, you might have a hard time sticking to your budget. You might not even have a budget in the first place because you don’t see the point since you believe you will never get out of debt.
Always and never can shroud us in a feeling of hopelessness. Hopelessness erodes at happiness.
Thankfully with awareness and monitoring, we can stop ourselves from being dragged into the always/never pit. Every time and I mean every time, you hear yourself thinking these words you need to act quickly and do some positive re-framing.
Re-framing means rephrasing your words, which in turn will help to realign your thoughts.
Instead of saying I’ll never get out of debt – think more along the lines of I’ll pay off $500 in debt this month. Having a more positive and focused attitude is likely to drive you onto positive change. A positive attitude might have you reviewing your finances for other ways to minimize costs and get the debt paid off faster.
In a nutshell, you need to replace a negative thought with a positive one. Every time.
Positive repetition is the key. After all, repetition is often how negative thoughts get stuck in our head in the first place. By using repetition in a healthy way (think for us instead of against us) we can enhance our positive self-talk.
I noticed when I started monitoring the words always and never in relation to my self-talk, it also helped me minimize the use of these words in conversation with other people.
If you are struggling with self-doubt (which will definitely be affecting your self-talk), I can recommend an excellent online course that can help. The course is How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence run by the wonderful Mel Robbins over at CreativeLive.
I took this course in early 2018 and it was a game-changer for me. You can read my review of the course to see how it can benefit you.
Related post – Words to Stop Using to Move Your Life Forward
Stop swearing at yourself
I swear. I’ll be honest about that straight up.
While I am prone to the odd cuss word now and then, there is one form of swearing that I have stopped.
I don’t swear at myself.
This wasn’t always the case. In the past, before I started paying attention to my self-talk, if I made a mistake I would sometimes call myself a ‘stupid b*tch’. It goes without saying, verbally abusing myself made me feel worse, not better!
Once I started monitoring my self-talk, it didn’t take long to understand what an unhealthy practice this was.
Swearing at yourself is being disrespectful to yourself. It’s putting yourself down. It is name-calling and let’s face it, there’s far too much name-calling out in the world already, so we don’t need to pile more on ourselves.
We are most likely to swear at ourselves when we are frustrated, disappointed or angry.
Again awareness is the key to stopping this behavior. Once you realize you are talking to yourself in this negative way, rephrase your wording.
Rephrasing isn’t about pretending something didn’t happen or going into denial over a problem. It’s about being kind and caring to ourselves when we need it the most. When we make a mistake, it’s about working on fixing the problem or at least minimizing the damage caused by our action, instead of berating ourselves.
Another important point with swearing is that you should not be swearing at other people.
It’s highly disrespectful and extremely hurtful. I remember many years ago, a boyfriend swore at me in a manner dripping with anger and venom. It was hurtful and something that I remember to this day.
Swearing at someone like that can’t be taken back (no matter how many times you apologize). Don’t go there in the first place.
Swearing at someone in an abusive manner hurts them a great deal and while you might think that’s what you want at the time, this sort of behavior also takes away a piece of you. Tearing into someone strips away at your dignity and decency.
If you want to improve your positive self-talk, make sure you are not swearing at yourself or at other people.
Related post – 10 Behaviors That Stop You Growing as a Person
My life sucks! My life’s a mess!
Do you ever use sweeping generalizations? We often fall into this trap when we are feeling overwhelmed or facing a challenge (or two or three!) Of course, the problem with saying these things to ourselves over and over again is that we start believing our own negative press.
We all feel stuck at some point in our lives, so feeling stuck is nothing to be ashamed of.
The more we tell ourselves we are stuck or that our lives suck, the more our life will suck because this way of thinking puts us in a negative state of mind. A negative state of mind doesn’t lead to making the best decisions.
Whilst feeling stuck it’s not a great feeling, it is something we can work on and move through.
The key is to ditch generalizing and get specific about what actions we need to take to get our lives moving forward the way we want them to.
Turn your generalizations into a to-do list. Bear in mind this needs to be a very specific list.
The items on this list need to be your top priorities. They are the important actions you need to take as soon as possible that will make you feel better about yourself. Completing these priorities is an important step in moving your life forward.
Related post – When Do You Let Your Mind Wander?
Through awareness, monitoring and making some modifications to your self-talk, you can dramatically improve the way you feel about yourself.
Taking your positive self-talk up a notch will have you feeling more confident and ready to take on your next big adventure or project!
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