The most important conversations you have in life, are the one’s with yourself. That’s the way it is, and it’s not insane. The main question, however, is ‘How do you talk to yourself?’. Usually we’re the most critical of ourselves. We are too quick to judge ourselves for the smallest mistakes. So, we need to transform that negative self talk into loving, supportive and positive self talk. You need to retrain your mind to treat yourself the way you’d treat your bestfriend; that’s what self love entails.
“The only thing that’s keeping you from getting what you want is the story you keep telling yourself”-Tony Robbins
You would never talk to someone you love, the way you talk to yourself. In fact, most of us wouldn’t even talk to our enemies that way. We are solely responsible for everything that happens in our life, good or bad. So, why don’t we celebrate our victories the same way we reprimand ourselves when we fail. The messages you give yourself can either motivate you or hold you back in fear. We live in a time when most of us aren’t even looking forward to our birthdays as we get older. What is it that prevents us from celebrating our own lives? Why are we so harsh on ourselves?
Reason Behind Our Negative Self Talk
For most of us, it goes back to our childhood. How were you treated as a child? Were you told you weren’t good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough? In our society, parents tend to point out their child’s mistakes because they believe it will help the child improve even more. While the intentions are good, it doesn’t always yields the best results. Of course it’s good to know your areas of improvement but you also need some appreciation to motivate you. According to a study, the average child is reprimanded 8 times more than they are praised. Don’t you think this hampers the child’s performance and confidence. And it doesn’t stop there. We grow up to be our biggest critics. Adults process about 12k – 60k thoughts per day and studies show that 80% of them are negative. You can walk away from those negative comments as a child, but you can’t run away from your own thoughts.
“You live the words you tell yourself in your mind.”– Dr. Magdalena Battles
It’s unfortunate that we live in a culture where we find it strange to say nice things to ourselves, where we think we’re crazy if we say “I love you” to ourselves in the mirror. Try this: write down everything you dislike about yourself. See how many you can get. You’ve probably filled sheets jotting down each thing; average people go up to 30 items. Now, I want you to write down everything you love about yourself. That’s a tough one, right? Most of you would be sitting there blank; average person gets up to 7.
Why Positive Self Talk is Important
You don’t have to love yourself in a narcissistic way; rather, love yourself in a way that lifts you up. Positive self-talk implies that you’re telling yourself to believe in yourself, which is reflected in the actions you take. You’re able to take better actions and produce better results, which boosts your confidence. It’s a complete cycle. And you are not getting into this as long as you’re not getting the first step right. On the other hand practicing negative self talk makes you feel bad about yourself, you don’t feel motivated to do the things you need to do and then you feel unaccomplished. That’s the cycle we’re all stuck in.
Think about the best version of you, is it talking to you in a way that’ll build you up or tear you down? Are they confident? Do they believe in themselves? The more positive your self talk is, the more positively you talk to others. Your relationship with yourself is mirrored in your relationships with others. So, if you don’t love yourself enough, you’re likely to attract someone who doesn’t love themselves and won’t be able to love you fully.
Steps to Improve Your Self Talk
I know it’s easier said than done. After all, we’ve been programming these negative self-perceptions into our brains for a long time. And it is not going to change overnight. You won’t suddenly stop having any negative thoughts. But you have to begin somewhere. You need to start becoming more aware of what you say to yourself, consciously switching negative thoughts to positive ones, and perhaps even purposefully reminding yourself of the wonderful person you are. Here are a few things that you should follow daily to improve your self talk for a better life.
1) Be very self aware
Self awareness is literally the first thing you need to develop to improve your life. Be very mindful of your thoughts. Observe your self-talk for a few days. Pay attention when that little voice inside your head starts criticizing you. Consider if you are overreacting or judging yourself too harshly. Are you comparing yourself too much? Notice if there are any recurring thoughts or themes. Write down your most frequent negative thoughts. It’s only when you become aware that you can begin to change your thoughts.
2) Change Your Thoughts
Make a list of everything you like about yourself, no matter how big or small. When you notice negative thoughts in your head, remind yourself of three positive things. They could be things you’re grateful for right now — this helps a lot with shifting your perspectives. You could also simply look at your list and remind yourself of a few qualities you admire in yourself.
3) Make it Visual
Set up reminders. Paste sticky notes of positive affirmations on your mirror or work desk. Again, this may seem strange to many of you, but trust me when I say, it eases your process. Because you are more likely to do something if you have a visual tracker or reminder in front of you. That’s why people use habit trackers or make vision boards.
4) Use Affirmations
Affirmations are nothing but empowering statements that you tell yourself. Find out affirmations that work for you, such as “I am enough” & “I love myself”. These affirmations can also be used as reminders in step 3. Look in the mirror and repeat them aloud. Give yourself the validation you seek from others. This might sound bizarre to a lot of you. But who’s to judge?
How Would You Improve Your Self Talk?
Comment below the steps you’d take to improve your self talk. Follow that habit consistently. It’s always hard in the beginning but after about 6 months, you’ll notice a shift in your mindset. You’d notice that you’d gain confidence and trust in yourself. It’s intentional at first, and instinctual afterwards.