When you keep saying bad things to yourself, eventually you will believe them!
Are you aware that you talk to yourself all day long? No, not the mental chatter about all the things and tasks that you need to remember throughout the day. That’s a form of self-talk too, but I’m referring more to the things you say to yourself on a regular basis; and more importantly, the tone in which you say them.
When you make a mistake, do you scold yourself angrily? Do you put yourself down, or call yourself derogatory names? When you have a hard time making positive changes in your life, do you complain what a “worthless” person you are and conclude that you’ll never get anything right?
Negative self-talk can be so incredibly damaging to your self-esteem, especially if it’s a big part of your everyday life. When you keep saying bad things to yourself, eventually you will believe them!
Oftentimes, these messages start as statements spoken by the adults in your life when you were a child. They may have said something negative about you when your actions displeased them, or maybe they had a habit of saying unkind things even when you didn’t deserve it. As painful as these experiences can be, even worse is when you pick up where they left off and keep repeating the same negative messages to yourself over and over!
The good news is that you can change your self-talk any time you want. You just have to know how to become aware of the tone of your messages and consciously replace them with more encouraging ones.
Here are some steps to get you started:
1) Develop an awareness of your self-talk. It may take practice, but if you keep “listening” in to your inner voice, you’ll begin to notice when you talk negatively to yourself.
2) Challenge the negative messages. When you notice yourself saying something negative such as, “You’re such a loser; you can’t do anything right,” stop yourself, and challenge that belief. Is that really true? Maybe you mess up sometimes, but do you ALWAYS mess up? Probably not.
3) Replace the negative messages with positive messages. When you realize you’re saying mean and untrue things to yourself, simply turn it around in your mind. Using the above example, you might say, “Wow, that’s not true at all! I do plenty of things right. It’s true I make mistakes, but so does everyone. I’m a good person, and I try my best. That’s good enough for me.”
Over time, your efforts will pay off in the form of stronger self-esteem and respect for yourself and your capabilities. It probably won’t happen overnight, but the more you work at turning your self-talk in a more positive direction, the better you’ll feel about yourself.
Moira Hutchison is a Mindfulness Coach, Energy Healer and Hypnotherapist at Wellness With Moira. Contact her for information about how coaching can get you motivated and unstuck in your life. Grab Step One of the Get Unstuck Method here.