“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”Shakespeare
Human beings are constantly having an inner dialogue that is subtle but incredibly powerful that frequently goes unnoticed yet has the power to influence our attitudes, behaviours, and ultimately, our lives. This dialogue can begin by giving a narrative we hold about ourselves, the environment, or a situation by constantly giving a directive while we are completing a task. We make ourselves the object of our criticism, guidance, or reminders, and our attitude toward life, our self-esteem, and general well-being can be influenced by this internal dialogue, often known as self-talk.
Self-talk is an ongoing stream of thoughts and comments that goes through our minds and impacts our views on how we view the world and our role in it. It is the voice that we hear every day, that affects our feelings, choices, and behaviours making self-talk a persistent and significant force in our life.
What influences our Self-Talk?
Our self-talk, or the internal conversation that affects our thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions about ourselves, is significantly shaped by our childhood experiences and cultural background. It can be influenced by the actions and attitudes of important adults in our early lives, such as our parents, siblings, or mentors. Healthier self-talk behaviours are influenced by positive role models that encourage greater resilience and self-acceptance.
Our opinions about what is regarded as desirable, acceptable, or successful are influenced by cultural norms and values. Cultural expectations have the potential to influence the way we speak to ourselves. These early influences set the stage for how we view ourselves, relate to others, and interact with our environment.
Why is it important to keep a check on our Self-talk?
Research has proven that we have several thousand thoughts in a day, and many of them have a significant effect on us.
A common and unhealthy thinking pattern termed ‘negative self-talk’ lowers our self-esteem, intensifies our worries, and restricts our potential. Self-doubt, criticism, and pessimism are the voices that can make failure and unhappiness into reality. Overgeneralizations, harsh opinions, and catastrophic conclusions are all common manifestations of negative self-talk.
Some examples of negative self-talk are, “I’m not good enough,” “I always mess things up,” or “I’ll never succeed.” This eventually can lead us to feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and even physical illnesses. Negative self-talk fosters limiting beliefs and undermines our self-esteem as we use it more frequently.
On the other hand, self-talk that is positive acts as a motivating and inspiring force that boosts our self-esteem, encourages resilience, and promotes a mindset of growth. In the face of challenges, it is the voice of inspiration, optimism, and self-compassion that helps us move forward. Recognizing our abilities, viewing setbacks as learning opportunities, and fostering a sense of self-worth are all components of positive self-talk.
Positive self-talk examples include sayings like “I am capable of managing obstacles,” “Mistakes are opportunities to learn,” or “I believe in my abilities.” Choosing positive internal dialogue improves our general well-being on an emotional and mental level by equipping us to take on difficulties with vigor and conviction.
Do your inner monologues tend to be negative? A quick check…
- Do you tend to look at the negative facets of a situation by filtering out the positives?
- Do you always anticipate the worst to happen in most situations?
- Do you tend to see things in black or white i.e., either they are good or bad?
- Do you tend to blame yourself or feel guilty when in an unfavourable situation?
Ways to win over your Negative Inner Dialogue and harness the Positive Self-Talk
1. Become aware of your inner critic and identify ways to manage it
Human beings are wired to think negatively as a survival instinct. Check if you tend to magnify and bring your focus mainly only on the worst parts of a situation overlooking the positive ones. Become aware and make a note of the negative verbiage you use for you and change them with an alternative encouraging response. Self-limiting thoughts and negative self-talk can be challenged and overcome by repeated positive affirmations to yourself. Affirmations help you change your perspective and develop a stronger, more confident inner dialogue.
“I believe in myself and my abilities”, “I am worthy of love and respect”, “I have the strength to overcome any challenge” are some affirmations you could use to build your self-confidence, improve your self -worth and become resilient.
2. Check for the triggers and put them in perspective
Keep a check on situations that leads you to the path of self-sabotage. Are you expecting the worst in most situations or, do you tend to blame or consider yourself a failure when things do not go your way? Step back and look at the situation objectively to bring in a different perspective.
3. Challenge your thoughts
Challenge your thoughts when you catch yourself using negative self-talk. Examine them if they are based on facts or just your assumptions and past experiences. Actively modify your internal dialogue and replace unhelpful or self-defeating thoughts with empowering and encouraging ones.
4. Surround yourself with positive people and be easy on yourself
Have people around who positively influence the way you look at yourself and help you to be self-compassionate too. Be nice and understanding to yourself as you would be to a friend. Replace negative statements about yourself with supportive ones. Recognize that everyone encounters difficulties and makes mistakes.
5. Step back and look at the good things around you
Make a list of three things you are grateful for every day which will in turn bring your focus on the positives around you. An expression of gratitude brings a shift in the perspective on how you would like to start your day.
6. Consider online counselling and therapy
If you are finding it difficult to overcome negative self-talk by yourself, our therapists at TickTalkTo can help you through this journey with online counselling. They are just a call or chat away. Download the app now.
Self-talk appears as a guiding force that forms our views, affects our emotions, and directs our actions in the broad expanse of our inner thoughts. Be mindful that this conversation has a significant effect on us, affecting not just our emotional well-being but also our overall fulfilment and accomplishment in life. Use this internal dialogue to help grow as individuals, become more resilient, and experience life more fully by identifying and resolving negative self-talk patterns and actively developing positive self-talk habits. Make a start today and unlock your true potential to embrace the limitless opportunities that life has to offer, by embarking on the transformative journey towards a better state of health.