If there is one thing that can have the most significant impact on how you respond and perceive the world and yourself, it’s your self-talk. It has two types: positive self-talk and negative self-talk. Let's learn which of the two you practice, and how to choose positive self-talk as much as possible.
Self-talk is basically the thoughts that turn up in your mind about yourself as anything happens, for ex: a public speaking opportunity, your reflection in a mirror, as someone starts to speak about you, some form of criticism, a new activity, performing a test, etc.
What do you think about yourself then?
Let’s analyze the way you respond to situations. Which of these statements sounds familiar to your self-talk?
A: “I’m so excited to express my views in front of many people!”
B: “I am going to embarrass myself in front of a big crowd. I don’t want to do it. How do I get out of this?”
A: “Let’s make this day more memorable! I’ll look back on it with a smile as I visit my younger self in the future with this photograph.”
B: “I don’t want to get a photograph clicked. I might not look good. What excuse do I give?”
A: “That is an awesome group of people! I’ll introduce myself to them.”
B: “What will they think about me? I’ll look stupid if I try to talk to them. What if I say something awkward?”
A: “Hm... an interesting job post. It looks like something that I will enjoy. Let’s give it a shot.”
B: “This does sound relevant to me but I don’t have all the skills mentioned. Why would they select me? I shouldn’t apply.”
If your answers are mostly A, then you practice positive self-talk, and if it’s mostly B, then the current state of your internal dialogue is negative.
Why practice positive self-talk?
Someone who practices negative self-talk,
- Takes the blame for everything
- Feels crappy about themselves
- Has low confidence and self-esteem
- Focuses on the negative aspects of every situation
- Expects the worst to happen
- Looks at the world in black and white; there’s no room for middle-ground
The worst part of negative self-talk is that it doesn’t end with one thought. It’ll snowball into a self-sabotaging habit that will make you lose opportunities to grow in every part of your life.
Someone who practices positive self-talk,
- Learns from their mistakes and sees them as opportunities
- Feels confident about themselves
- Believes in their abilities and appreciates their strengths
- Looks at the positive in every situation
- Is optimistic about new experiences
- Is aware that one’s perception impacts how they see the world, that life is full of shades of gray
With positive self-talk, you’ll be confident about yourself, and create opportunities to grow more.
Negative self-talk will pull you away from success, happiness, and self-development and positive self-talk will move you towards it all, with a calm and hopeful mind.
How to practice positive self-talk?
Here are some tips to slowly shape your thoughts to become more positive and kind to yourself:
1. Start observing yourself
The first step is to notice your thought pattern. Observe what you think as any new or unexpected situation presents itself. How do you feel? What is your instinct? Do you doubt and critique yourself?
If you were looking at yourself trying out something new, would you have a skeptical expression on your face, or would you be cheering yourself on? Would you apply the same behavior to a dear friend?
As you become aware of your self-talk, you can start shifting its tone from negative to positive.
2. Say “Stop” every time you start ruminating
This will take effort but consistency will get you through. Every time that you hop on the negative thought train, say “Stop”. You might continue even after that. The key is to keep checking yourself until it becomes natural. Teach yourself to choose the positive side.
It’s important to stay patient. This is a slow process and it’ll support you through your life.
You can do it. Believe in yourself. This is the first step.
3. Practice positive affirmations
Positive affirmations are one of the most recommended ways to practice positive self-talk. They help in training your mind to be kind, hopeful, supportive, and optimistic.
Here are some affirmations to get started with:
- I am worthy of feeling happy.
- Whatever has happened, and whatever does happen, I’m certain that I can be grateful.
- I am in charge of my life.
- I love myself to the fullest.
- My happiness is growing stronger every day.
- My thoughts are filled with positivity and my life is plentiful with prosperity.
- I am grateful for good health at every age.
- I am releasing all of my worries.
- Everything that is happening now is happening for my ultimate good.
- I am capable and calm in any situation.
- Love, happiness, and comfort abide in my soul.
Related: 100 Gratitude Affirmations
We will meet many people in this life. Some may become our friends, some acquaintances, some lessons. Some will have sweet words to say, some bitter. But, no one will be with us in every moment except ourselves.
Therefore, it becomes imperative that we become the greatest companions, best friends, sweetest well-wishers, and the strongest support to ourselves. Imagine if we’re the largest source of comfort and strength for ourselves.
Think of how magnificent life will be, how joyful. Let’s take care of how we talk to ourselves and put in efforts to become a positive influence in our own lives.
Have a beautiful day!
Continue Reading: How to Reframe Your Thoughts Using Gratitude