All of us do it, even though we know it’s not good for our mental health: negative self-talk. Most of the time, we are our own worst critics no matter how much we try to practice positive thinking. The journey away from this and toward personal empowerment is not an easy one, but one that is well worth it. There are ways to eliminate talking down to yourself, and it’s more than just positive thinking.
What are Some Ways to Curb Negative Self-Talk?
Just reading the phrase “negative self-talk” gives a pretty clear idea of what it is, but it can take more than one form. At its very basic level, negative self-talk is any inner dialogue with yourself that causes you to have limiting beliefs about yourself and what you can accomplish. This can look like “I’m not good at this so I’m not going to try it again” or “I can’t ever do anything right.” Statements like these can lead to other negative self-talk symptoms, such as low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, or even depression and anxiety.
Way #1: Notice When You’re Being Self-Critical
Noticing when you’re being critical of yourself and thinking things like “I’ll never be good enough” is the first step in stopping negative self-talk and working toward self empowerment. When you are being critical of yourself, you are not giving yourself the benefit of the doubt and by participating in negative self-talk, you are creating limiting beliefs for yourself.
Way #2: Talk to Yourself Like You Would Talk to Your Best Friend
Think about it: would you ever say anything intentionally mean to your best friend? Of course not! So why would you participate in negative self-talk? Learning how to talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend is a great way to be kinder to yourself and make yourself realize that negative self-talk isn’t beneficial. So the next time you think “I’ll never be good enough,” try to replace that statement with “I’m not prepared right now, but I will be if I keep working toward my goals.”
Way #3: Say Your Negative Self-Talk Aloud
Saying these negative self-talk statements out loud either to yourself or with a person you trust may act as a form of negative self-talk therapy. And, it could make you realize how silly these statements actually sound. By saying “I’m not good enough” out loud may cause an initial reaction in your mind that resists this statement, which is a cue to you that it isn’t true.
Way #4: Shift Your Perspective
This one is definitely easier said than done, and it might be a process, but it will be well worth it. Shifting your perspective from a place of negativity to a more empowering perspective will most likely make you a much happier person. If your negative self-talk is rooted in some sort of problem you’re having, try removing yourself from the problem and look at the bigger picture. This can help the problem seem less intimidating and give your more perspective on how to tackle it.
Way #5: Challenge Your Negative Self-Talk
Challenging your own negative self-talk can be hard, because you’re fighting with yourself. Directly challenging statements such as “I’ll never be good enough to get that job” or “No one actually likes me, they’re just pretending”. And replacing them with statements like “That job wasn’t meant for me and something that is will come along eventually” and “My friends wouldn’t be in my life if they didn’t care about me” is a way to directly challenge your own negative thinking and lead yourself toward self-empowerment.
About Inner Light Counseling, LLC | Self-Esteem Counseling & Brainspotting Therapy Denver, CO
Rachel Moore LPC is a licensed Brainspotting technician offering counseling for trauma, anxiety and caregiver burnout in the Denver metro area. Rachel seeks to encourage self compassion and help you boost your mood and feel better. She has over 10 years of experience working with patients with anxiety, depression, and trauma. Rachel also specializes in helping clients through caregiver burnout. Follow us on Facebook for more helpful tips. Or, click here to contact Rachel and make an appointment. We look forward to seeing you.