“You can do it. You’re strong. You’ve got this.” Those are the kinds of encouraging words we extend to friends, colleagues and family members when they’re experiencing self-doubt.
When facing our own challenges, the inner dialogue is often very different. “I’m a terrible public speaker. I take too long to write these reports. Everyone in this class is so much smarter than I am.” Suddenly, the compassion we so naturally and generously extend to others seems to evaporate.
But learning to be kind to yourself is work worth doing, experts say. Replacing negative psychological messages with positive ones can build self-esteem and confidence and may bring results that surprise you in all the right ways. To get there, it all starts with self-talk.
All of us talk to ourselves all of the time. Our self-talk may be in spoken words or unspoken thoughts. It can take the form of feelings, impressions or even wordless physical responses.
The clutch in the stomach that comes when we are surprised or afraid, or the rush that comes with excitement or joy. We are thinking machines that never shut down. Since childhood, we have been watching, listening, sifting, sorting, analysing, judging, cataloguing and storing everything that goes on about us.
All of our thoughts, all of the pictures in our minds, are always tied to something else that we already know about. If you are given a new thought or a new picture you have never thought about or imagined before, your brain will immediately find something else in your mind to tie the new information to, to give it sense, to help you understand.
“Loving or hating the life you are living is solely all in your repeated self-talk.” – Edward Mbiaka.
“Many people are conscious of an inner voice that provides a running monologue throughout the day and even into the night. Cheerful and supportive or negative and self-defeating, this internal chatter is referred to as self-talk,” according to Psychology Today magazine.
This inner voice combines conscious thoughts with unconscious beliefs and biases. This voice is useful when it is positive, talking down fears and bolstering confidence.
But human nature is prone to negative self-talk. This negativity can be unrealistic and even harmful, paralysing people into inaction and self-absorption to the point of being unaware of the world around them.
Self-talk is also particularly important in planning, problem-solving, self-reflection, self-image, critical thinking, emotions, and sub vocalisation (reading in one’s head). It is a way to override our past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with conscious, positive new directions. Self-Talk is a practical way to live our lives by active intent rather than by passive acceptance.
Self-talk is also called an internal monologue, inner speech, inner discourse, or internal discourse.
Most of the people who use negative self-talk are not aware of what they are saying. And few, if any of them, are aware of the power of the programming — the negative programming — they are giving themselves.
If everything you tell yourself about yourself becomes a directive to your subconscious mind, then any time you make a statement about yourself that is negative, you are directing your subconscious mind to make you become the person you just described negatively.
Here are just a few examples of frequently used negative self-talk.
As you read them, see if you know someone who says something similar, or if you have said something like any of these to yourself:
Read the full article here.
Authored by Prerna Dhulekar
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