You may not realize it, but as you go about your day-to-day routines, you are subconsciously and constantly evaluating and interpreting the circumstances that you find yourself in. It’s as though you have that voice inside you that instructs you on how you handle every situation. Such inner voice is called self-talk. While it can be helpful and reasonable at times, it can also become self-defeating and destructive—this is called negative self-talk.
Negative self-talk can lower your self-confidence, self-esteem, happiness, and keep you from accomplishing your goals. It is among the most common issues for which a person struggles to look for solutions: either to get rid of it, reduce it, or be fully in control of it. If you are among those people who are constantly looking for ways to effectively get rid of negative self-talk, take notice of these tips.
1) Think and rethink.
Say that you spilled coffee on your suit in the middle of a meeting. Before you criticize yourself for being such a “sloppy idiot,: take a breather. Think hard: are you really the clumsy idiot you claim to be? Replay the scenario. Maybe your elbow was accidentally hit by a fellow while you are on the process of drinking your coffee. Or maybe the handle was slippery. Sometimes, the best way to get rid of negative self-talk is to think of the thing or scenario that makes you feel utterly shameful. Going over it twice or thrice can stop you from destructive negative self-talk, according to psychologist Amy Johnson.
2) Erase your prejudices.
A lot of low self-esteem (and consequently negative self-talk) has to do with prejudices against yourself. Prejudices reflects the bias of the speaker (or thinker in this case). It does not reflect the reality of the situation. When you have prejudices against yourself, you are discounting or distorting your accomplishments as just pure “luck” and will be overly harsh on yourself when things do not go right. Learn what unfair opinions you have of yourself and learn to fight them by thinking objectively about it. A good way to gain a fair perspective on your talents and abilities is to see through the eyes of others. How would you judge yourself if you were someone else? Another way of fighting your against your own prejudices is thinking about how you would think about others with the same abilities, talents, and accomplishments.
3) Accept your imperfections.
Face it: Nobody’s perfect. The best way to harbor good vibes is to stop striving for very high standards. Not only will this bring in positivity it your life, it can free your mind from the anxieties that can lead to depression, among many other mental problems. According to Brene Brown, a professor from the University of Houston, almost all of the successful CEOs and athletes she has interviewed do not link their triumphs to perfectionism, but rather the acceptance of their faults and the will to move on. These, according to Brown’s interviewees, are the things that have brought them to their much-yearned success.
4) Build self-confidence.
Self-confidence is an important element of mental health. Self-confidence is sometimes synonymous with self-esteem. But there is an important distinction. Self-esteem is the degree in which you value yourself. Self-confidence is the belief in your skills and abilities. Although self-esteem is extremely important, confidence is the foundation in which self-esteem is built.
So how can you build self-confidence? You can do so by doing more and trying new things. The more you do, the more competent you become—and thus the more confident you will become. You will find that self-confidence is often the cure for many of your negative thoughts and prejudices. Self-confidence will instill that “I got this” attitude in you.
5) Replace it with positive self-talk.
Instead of punishing yourself with unhelpful negative self-talk, train your mind to conduct positive self-talk instead. Why brood over negative things when you can dwell on happy thoughts? Rather than telling yourself that “I am fat and nobody will ever love me,” try going with “I am unique and I love myself!” This constructive pep-talk will usher positivity in your life – something that will keep you happy for as long as you live.
You surely can conquer the urge to play those negative thoughts and demean yourself. Apply these tips every time you catch yourself jeopardizing that ounce of positivity that you have within you.