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.
My mind consistently focused on the negative side of every situation. This negative mindset led to a long battle with depression, and unhappiness became my new normal.
So what’s the solution?
Decide today that you will change the way you talk to yourself. It’s time to ditch the negative self-talk and be your own cheerleader. Why? Because it’s time to start living your best life. You may want to check out this article on Redefining Happiness at Midlife.
Here are some tips to help you change your inner critical voice.
Observe Your Self-Talk
Observe the constant commentary in your head. Is it mostly positive, neutral, or negative?
- The positive voice is optimistic.
- The neutral voice narrates events.
- The negative voice is pessimistic.
Be mindful of how you talk to yourself because you are listening. The way you talk to yourself matters because it creates your reality.
Uncover the Root Cause
Do you know the root cause of your negative self-talk? If not, it’s time to find out.
Mine came from the verbal and nonverbal feedback I received from adults. These adults had expectations I didn’t meet.
And you know what happened?
I internalized their negative thoughts about me, and it led to an obsession with perfectionism. My negative self-talk was rooted in inadequacy and insecurity. I had a paralyzing fear of being judged by others.
Negative self-talk is self-destructive. Listening to your inner critic makes you feel worthless.
It’s time to let go of old negative beliefs so you can move forward.
Identify Your Triggers
Pay attention to your negative self-talk so you know how it operates. Research says social media platforms tend to increase depression and loneliness.
Spend less time on social media if highlights reels are a trigger for you. Unfollow people who make you feel bad about yourself.
Surround yourself with people and things that inspire you.
Self-help books can empower you with knowledge so you can pull yourself out of a dark place. The key is to take what you read and apply it to your life.
Here are some tips to get results from self-help books.
- Don’t read self-help books the same way you read fictional books. Read the table of contents and focus on relevant sections.
- First, read through the chapter. Then, reread and highlight important parts. Last but not least, write a summary of the highlighted parts.
- Create and commit to an action plan.
- Stay focused on your goals.
- Hold yourself accountable to your goals.
- Find an accountability partner.
Retrain Your Mindset
Change starts with self-love. Self-love makes you challenge negative self-talk. Stop saying things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a friend.
Positive affirmations are an effective way to retrain your mindset. Choose a meaningful affirmation and repeat it several times a day. Emotionally connect with the affirmation. Act as if the affirmation is your truth. Feel all the amazing feelings.
Believe the following:
- You were always enough.
- You are enough.
- You will always be enough.
Your thoughts and feelings create your reality, so be intentional about them.
Be Patient With Yourself
Real change takes time. You won’t replace your negative self-talk overnight. The goal is to get to a place where your self-talk positively impacts your life. Stay focused, and don’t give up. Be kind to yourself and take it one day at a time.
How do you challenge your negative self-talk?