I have a question to ask you: if others heard how you talk to yourself, what would they think? If your children, friends, and family could hear your own self-talk, would you be proud or embarrassed?
And would you ever talk to anyone you love the same way you talk to yourself?
I bet most of us can honestly say we would never want others to know how we talk to ourselves. And we would never talk to anybody else that way. It would likely be too rude, mean, disrespectful, and hurtful.
I know I would never speak to my children the way I speak to myself. I imagine how they would feel being spoken to that way; think about their mental health, their self-image, their self-confidence. All would be very low.
So, why would we speak to ourselves that way?
I’ll admit, I can be hard on myself. If I make a mistake, I tell myself how stupid it was. If I say something I think is wrong, I put myself down. And then worry about how it makes me look to others. But honestly, my self-talk would look worse to others than the mistake itself.
And I realized it was time to make a change in my own self-dialogue.
Negative self-talk comes so easily to me, and so it was going to take some work phase it out. I decided I needed to come up with a plan of action.
Here are the steps I took in order to change my self-dialogue.
1. Become aware of negative self-talk.
You know how they say you can’t fix something if you aren’t aware of it? Well, this is the perfect example! Think about how you talk to yourself. Are you being positive or negative, giving yourself grace or being hard on yourself? If you’ve been too tough on yourself, it’s time to make a change.
2. Check in with your feelings.
Take notice of how you are feeling throughout the day. Do you find negativity starting to creep in? If so, it’s time to be proactive. You can either change what you are doing that is causing the negative self-talk, or, if you aren’t able to do that, change your thoughts and attitude about the situation.
That being said, it is also important to know that not every day will be roses and butterflies. If you’re just having one of those days, acknowledge it, know it’s ok, and move on. The bad moments and bad days don’t last forever.
3. Give yourself positive affirmations.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Find positive things about yourself, and point them out! What do you like about yourself? What are you good at? Or, what is one thing you did that day that was great? Focusing on the positive will help keep the negative out.
4. Don’t be so serious.
Let yourself laugh! Try to find the humor in situations you would normally be embarrassed about. Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes it’s ok (and therapeutic) to laugh about them.
5. Focus on the present.
How many times do we think of something cringeworthy we’ve done in the past and we just can’t let it go? It doesn’t matter if it was yesterday or five years ago; when we focus on those experiences, we let the negative in. Here’s the deal — what’s past is past. Continuing to beat yourself up about it won’t change it. So, don’t! Focus on what’s important, the here and now.
6. Surround yourself with positive people.
Have you heard the saying “you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with?” If this is true, then filling your life with positive people will make positive self-talk come more naturally. When we spend time with others who speak positively, it spills over into our thoughts about ourselves, too!
7. Treat yourself like a friend.
Would you be friends with someone who talks to you the way you talk to yourself? Probably not. So stop talking to yourself that way!
It’s time we start treating ourselves with the same level of respect we show those we love. Time to think about how we are talking to ourselves; to be forgiving and positive to ourselves, like we would be to our own family. Be a kind friend to yourself, you deserve it.