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Negative self-talk is that voice in your head that participates in creating negative “truths” about you that are often times completely false and pretty savage. The habit of listening to this voice can impact your confidence and play a role in the choices you make. Continuously feeding into this negative dialogue can have major consequences. Some of which are an increase in stress, insecurity, and the way we view others and the world. We tend to over-identify with this voice and give it credibility where it isn’t warranted. Here are some helpful ways to address negative self-talk and start reframing negative statements into positive thoughts.
- Identify the part of you that’s hearing the dialogue. We tend to over-identify with that voice and in the process, forget there’s the separate quiet part of ourselves that is always listening to the dialogue, the good and the bad, taking it all in. This is the part of ourselves that as we grow more aware of, we can start to distance from the negative talk and realize that isn’t the truth of our whole self. It sometimes helps to actually say, “This thought…” By doing so, we can lower the stakes of the statement. It’s a thought, not the necessary truth of what’s happening. Negative talk isn’t the reality of who we are or what we can do.
- Sometimes the sheer cruelty at which I talk about myself in my head is enough for me to see humor in it. The shock factor of how negative I can be actually makes me gasp and then laugh. This might be how my brain works but I feel like most other people can see the humor in how outrageous that voice can be. So in recognizing that, I’ve found it easier to let those thoughts go. The creativity my mind uses to really hurt me is scary in a humorous way.
- Another tactic is recognizing the thought and then rephrasing it or turning it into a positive statement. Say the thought is, “I’m a failure, I will never get a job.” Recognize how negative this thought is and acknowledge that actually that isn’t necessarily true. You counter that thought by pointing out a time where you succeeded or a time when you did have/get a job. Recognize that negativity and then attach a positive twist.
- When all else fails, practice gratitude. Thought: “I hate my body” Gratitude: I’m grateful for my body because it helps me move around. “I have acne all over my face” Gratitude: I have a face!
- Be kind to yourself. Recognize that even though the thoughts are there it doesn’t make them true or the reality of who you are/your capabilities. After hearing a negative thought, repeat “but I love myself” and let that thought pass by. We can really be our own toughest critic so it’s important to be kind.
Change negative talk by utilizing recognition, humor, redirection, gratitude, and kindness. This is something I’m really trying hard to work on. I put so much pressure on myself to be fit, have the career I want, chase after dreams, etc. and I find often that I’m giving in to a lot of negativity and it destroys my confidence. It’s something that I come into contact with daily but I have found when I’m aware of it and utilize one of the above tools, I recover much more quickly and it doesn’t ruin an interview for me or an outfit I want to buy. I’m trying to be more mindful because I know how harsh I can be, no other human would ever get away with saying the things I say to myself sometimes. I hope these tips help!