Can I be honest? I struggled with negative self-talk for a long time. And it got worse as I approached 40. My self-talk, the inner voice that talked non-stop, was always negative. It never stopped.
It would even turn a compliment into something negative.
Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say a colleague said, “You look nice today.” My inner critic would turn it into, “I guess you didn’t look nice yesterday.” Does this sound familiar? I can’t be the only one.
Negative self-talk can lead to depression, anxiety, stress, and anger. Left unchecked, unhappiness and despair will become your new normal. Challenge your negative self-talk or it will control you.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the average life expectancy of a woman is 81 years old. Girlfriend, you are middle age. Stop beating yourself up. You got a whole lot of living to do!
Decide today that you will change the way you talk to yourself. I know. It feels like an impossible task. But guess what? I did it and you can too! Here are some strategies to get you started.
Observe Your Self-Talk
Observe the running commentary in your head. Is it mostly neutral, positive, or negative?
Let me break it down.
- The neutral voice narrates events, i.e., I am reading a blog post.
- The positive voice is motivational, i.e., I believe my life will get better.
- The negative voice is critical, i.e., My life will always be horrible.
Let me go deeper.
Uncover the Root Cause
Do you know where your negative self-talk comes from? Begin to find out. Examine it.
Mine started at a young age. It came from the verbal and nonverbal feedback that I received from adults. These adults had expectations that I didn’t meet.
And you know what happened?
I internalized their negative thoughts about me. Yup, I sure did. It led to an obsession with perfectionism. My negative self-talk was rooted in feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. I had a paralyzing fear of being judged by others.
Here is the bottom line.
Negative self-talk is self-defeating and self-destructive. It will increase your feelings of self-hate and lead to negative emotions.
Identify Your Triggers
Begin to track your negative self-talk. Learn how it operates. Become aware of its triggers. Be proactive. Have an action plan.
Facebook used to be a trigger for me. Scrolling through everyone’s highlight reels made my negative self-talk spiral out of control. Because I was doing a lot of self-work and seeing little to no results. This made me miserable. Then I discovered the unfollow and snooze features. Use them if you need to.
It all boils down to this.
Thoughts have consequences. Negative thoughts will influence your behavior and create your reality.
Challenge Your Negative Self-Talk
Listening to my inner critic made me an empty shell. I was constantly depressed. Nothing mattered. I was just existing. Can you relate?
I read dozens of self-help books. But struggled to apply what I was reading. I was up one day and down the next. Does this sound familiar? I kept seeking answers because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Here is what happened next…
I came across the affirmation ‘You Are Enough.’ Those three little words struck a chord with me. I used those three little words to challenge every negative thought.
I thought I struck gold, but I had more to learn. The thought would always return, so I kept reading and seeking answers.
That’s when I discovered that feelings are the language of our subconscious mind. Jackpot!
Do you see how huge that is?
Feelings are the secret sauce that makes your affirmations work.
Manage Your Thoughts and Feelings
I worked on being the embodiment of someone who knew that they were enough. I felt confident. I felt worthy. I began to love and accept myself. Finally, true change started to happen.
Practice being your future self until you become your future self.
“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone.”Maya Angelou
Don’t believe me? Let’s examine the opposite. What happens when your negative self-talk says ‘No one loves you?’ You attach feelings of sadness, loneliness, and worthlessness. Your words and feelings create a full
existential crisis meltdown.
Learn to be intentional about your thoughts and feelings. Look in the mirror and encourage yourself on a daily basis. Here are some affirmations to get you started. Say them, feel them, and manifest them!
- I am enough!
- I am happy.
- I am beautiful inside and out.
- I am confident.
- I am successful.
- I love and accept myself.
Some days will be easier than others. Stick with it. Repeat the affirmations until they become your truth.
There is no magic pill or magic wand. Girlfriend, you will have to fight for this. It is important that you know this upfront. Have realistic expectations.
Be Patient with Yourself
Real change takes time. This isn’t a race. Your life is long. It took me a while to replace my negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Stay focused on the end result. Visualize how amazing your life will be.
Start where you are. Create a new relationship with your mind. Take it one day at a time. It will take a firm commitment, patience, and work.
The goal is to get to a place where your self-talk impacts your life in a positive way. Forgive yourself quickly if you entertain a negative thought. Don’t beat yourself up. It happens to the best of us. Acknowledge it, learn from it, and keep it moving.
Be KIND to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Encourage yourself. Your best life is waiting! You got this! Take Action Now!
You are enough!
How do you challenge your negative self-talk?