Fun fact, not everyone has an inner voice. As someone that’s always had one, that seems weird. My daughter taught me that. She learned it in school. Have you ever thought about the way you talk to yourself? That inner voice inside your head that runs its mouth. Sometimes it says nice things and sometimes it’s not so nice. Often we don’t even realize what it’s saying until it’s said.
Self talk is essentially the thoughts inside our head that is directed at ourselves. There are 2 types of self talk – positive and negative. Positive self talk is your inner dialogue that makes you feel good about yourself and everything that is going on in your life. Negative self talk is your inner dialogue that limits your ability to believe in yourself and your abilities.
Negative self talk looks something like this. Blaming yourself when something had happens. Magnifying negative aspects of a situation and ignoring the positives in that situation. Saying or thinking you’re not worth it. Believing there is no use in trying. Saying or thinking you can’t do it. Believing others are better than you. Believing you are not good enough. Thinking your opinion doesn’t matter. Thinking that you’ll never get better at something.
Positive self talk looks like this. Knowing you have the opportunity to learn something new. Taking a chance on yourself to learn something new. Trying again when you fail or make mistakes. Having the power to change your mind. Knowing you are proud of yourself. Remembering that no matter the outcome, you learned a lot from whatever you did. Being proud of how far you’ve come. Knowing you are worth it. Knowing you are good enough. Knowing you can do it.
Both positive and negative self talk affects you. Negative self talk increases your risk of mental health problems, decreases your motivation, limits your thinking, and increases your stress. It also challenges your relationships because you tend to stay quit about things and issues go unresolved. Whereas positive self talk improves your mental health, reduces stress, boosts confidence, and gives you better coping skills.
How can you change your negative self talk into positive self talk? Identify the areas you need to change – start with one small area in your daily life (work, relationships, etc). Check yourself when you are having negative thoughts – stop and evaluate your thinking and the way it is affecting you. Be open to humor – allow yourself to laugh or smile at the situation and not take it so hard. Surround yourself with positive people – they can offer helpful advice and positive feedback. Practice saying positive things to yourself. Be willing to be imperfect. Start a gratitude journal – this helps you think of a glass half full instead of half empty.
My top favorite is name your inner critic and give a funny voice. I love this because once I adapted this, everything changed for me. It may not work so well for others as we’re all different. I named mine Leonard. No idea why, it’s just been a name I’ve always loved. It sounds a little like Stitch, but not at the same time. It’s a voice I’ve used to talk to my daughter that always made her laugh, which started to make me laugh every time I used it. Saying the things my inner critic said out loud in Leonards’ voice took away all its power and made it ineffective. When I’d use the voice I’d laugh and rethink what I was saying.
Working on yourself is a never ending process. You will always be a work in progress. There’s nothing wrong with that. Your thoughts become your actions. If you constantly doubt yourself, you will stop yourself from living your dreams and doing all the things you want to in life. If you believe in yourself, you can do anything you set your mind to. Your negative self talk is wrong and your inner critic is lying. You can do it. You are worth it. You got this. Changing your way of thinking isn’t going to be easy. Take it one day at a time. One situation at a time. Do this for you. You deserve to believe in yourself.