When we let the expectations of others or
own unreasonable self-expectations rule,
we silence the power of our Legacies.
Self-talk is an integral and constant of our lives. Sometimes the voice in your head is your own. Sometimes it is the voice of others. They are the recordings we play over and over. Sadly, most of them tend to be negative. “You are not worthy.” “You are not good enough.” “You know that you’re going to screw this up sooner or later.” Occasionally, we may try to sprinkle a few positive messages in like, “I can do this!” “How cool am I.” But they get drowned in the negativity we so often find ourselves mired in, and difficult to overcome.
We start talking to ourselves the moment we wake up in the morning and we do not stop until we fall asleep at night. Who would have thought that we had so much to say? Right? But we do.
When self-talk is positive and helpful, amazing things can happen. When self-talk is negative, life can be much more challenging than it has to be.
Like much of the rest of who we see ourselves as, and who we wish to be, our style of self-talk is a habit that must been molded by our experiences and environment. Just imagine how your life could change for the better if you were able to alter your self-talk into something more supporting and encouraging. You can start living that life today!
1. Make a list of your negative self-talk phrases and attitudes. You guys know me well enough to know that this is where we start all our transformation work: With paper and pen. For 24 hours, record everything you say to yourself that is not supportive, regardless of whether or not you think it is true. Here are a few examples to get you started:
- “He would never want to talk to me or go out with me.”
- “I am not good enough for that.”
- “I could never do that.”
- “Things will never get any better.”
- “I am such a screw-up.”
2. Prioritize your list. Which items have the greatest negative impact on your life and your sense of happiness? Put the list in order, from greatest negative impact to least.
- Prioritizing is important because it will naturally force you to spend your time on the most important, and most damaging, items.
- See: How to Clarify Your Goals
3. Create a new list. Now that you have made your initial list, you are going to improve it. Convert at least the first 10 items on your list into positive thoughts. If you are feeling motivated, you can rewrite as many more as you like.
- Even if you do not believe the new, positive idea, just change it into a positive version. For example, “I could never do that” changes to, “I can do anything I set my mind to.”
- See: How to Create your own Personal, Positive, Life-Affirming Affirmations
4. Change your thinking. Now, let us move on to the challenging part. Each time you catch yourself engaging in self-talk matching an item from your list, substitute the new positive and uplifting self-talk expression.
- Be diligent at all times. Considering how many times you may have said the negative item to yourself, this new practice will require a lot of attention. The good news is that over time, the positive things you say to yourself will become a habit, too!
- See: Think Differently –> Be Different
5. First 10 down? Press on! After you have conquered the 10 most negative items, look at the list and consider how it would improve your life to change those remaining negative self-talk items. You may have formed such positive habits with your first 10 items that the rest of them might not really be applicable anymore!
Self-talk will always be with us, so it will benefit you in the long-run to exercise better control over it.
Anything you hear over and over again, you start to believe. That is the way our minds work.
The first step to gaining control is to monitor your thoughts and feelings.
Then take the necessary steps to change things for the better.
As with all habits, these self-talk patterns can be challenging to change, but doing so will really boost your sense of contentment and happiness.