Conquering Negative Self -Talk
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Low self-esteem can cause negative self-talk. This can further lower your self-esteem causing a vicious cycle where you continually feel bad about yourself. The good news is that you can change the way you talk to and about yourself. When you conquer negative self-talk, your self-esteem will improve. You’ll gain more self-confidence and you’ll feel more optimistic about your life in general.
If you’re ready to break the cycle of negativity, you need to understand these essential truths.
Actions follow thoughts, so your thoughts are important.
Your actions always begin with your thoughts. If you think that you’re destined to be overweight, then it doesn’t matter how many diet books you buy or how many nutritionists you talk to, you’re still going to be overweight. You’ll stay overweight because you haven’t changed your mindset.
If you want to change your life, you have to change your thoughts first. Instead of thinking that you’re destined to be overweight, flip the script. Say to yourself, ‘I am in control of what I eat and how much I eat’. Doing this changes the story you’re telling yourself. You just went from the victim in this story to the victor.
You don’t have to be carried away by negative thoughts.
You are the only one with the power to change your mental soundtrack. Just because you have a negative thought doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. You have the power to change your focus. Instead of concentrating on the terrible day you had, start thinking about a simple pleasure you’re anticipating like getting to change into your warm pajamas tonight or hearing your son’s laughter during a silly bedtime game. By focusing on the positive, you’re teaching yourself to let go of negative thoughts.
Garbage In = Garbage Out
It’s hard to stay positive if you’re constantly consuming negative information. If you really want to change your negative self-talk, then you have to focus on consuming good stuff. You want to read and watch content that lifts you up. Not only will you feel better, you’ll notice that your self-talk is more optimistic when you focus on the good.
Practice positive affirmations.
What you say about yourself becomes your truth. That’s why it can be helpful to practice positive affirmations every day. Start by looking in the mirror and telling yourself, ‘Today, I choose to be happy’ or ‘Today, I choose to fully accept myself’. When you speak these thoughts out loud, they’ll begin to affect how you talk to yourself and how you live your life.
Everyone struggles with negative self-talk at some point in their life. The important thing is not to beat yourself up when you realize your thoughts are negative. Accept that you had a negative thought and replace it with a positive one.