Self-Talk: The Positive, The Negative and Why It Matters

Do you ever talk to yourself? Ever focused on that constant voice inside your head that makes you act or feel a certain way?
Do you think there is power in your words?
The words that you say about yourself have an everlasting impact on your actions- so be mindful of where this kind of self-talk takes you.
For me realizing how true this statement is, helped me pay more attention to the difference of how I could be holding back on things that are good for me or pushing myself forward to accomplish my goals.
Always remember though, while you need to be firm with yourself, there are other times you need to be kind and understanding.
But you always need to realize the impact your words have on your mental health and growth in general.

Self-Talk

What is Self-Talk?

Self-talk is a situation when we are talking to ourselves, knowingly, or unknowingly. In this case, we are talking from inside quietly or loudly.
It is the internal discourse, inner monologue, or emotional speech that gives a person a conscious running of verbal thoughts. It is attached to an individual’s sense of self.
This inner monologue plays an essential role in human life because it determines how we feel and act. It can occur in many situations, and these streams of thoughts can be positive (supporting) or negative (sabotaging).

Self-talk will sound like;

“Oh, I forgot to pick my keys! I will go get them,”
“I think the class is starting in a few minutes. I will hurry!”
The above examples of self-talk are helpful as it keeps us in track with our daily activities. These are positive examples of self-talk because they create a reliable memory of our brain, meaning that our mind is doing the right job.
The next example of self-talk is not helpful and may sound like;
“Oh, I forgot to pick my keys! I forget often,”
“I think I am late for class. I am a time-waster.”
Honestly, I used to use that kind of talk, not knowing how it affects the way I act and view myself.

Can you spot the difference?

We negatively talk to ourselves. Do you think it’s okay to talk to ourselves this way often?
Negative self-talk makes us feel as if someone is secretly criticizing us from inside. Whenever you negatively talk to yourself about yourself, you feel… bad, which drags you down. And sometimes you just believe things about you that are not really true. Don’t make it so it’s hard to rise again, you know?
Positive self-talk helps us cope with challenges, unlike the negative talk.
There are two major categories of self-talk; the positive and the negative self-talk.

Negative Self-Talk

Sometimes we focus on thoughts such as “I am not capable,” I am a failure,” I am not good enough.” It is interesting how our brains remember the negative experiences rather than the positive ones. For example, we remember when we did not perform well rather than when we excelled. This way, we end up fueling our brains to think negatively about ourselves.
We need to realize that negative self-talk can sometimes be a good thing. When it is monitored, identified, and intervened to improve the quality of our lives. You know… it’s like keeping ourselves in check.

We can achieve this by doing the following;

1. Pay attention:
We must listen (carefully) to what we say to ourselves and ask why we are doing so. Identifying negative thoughts helps us understand if these are things that we need to change or just feel that we need to overcome.
Maybe you’ll use some sort of a journal to note the negative words you say about yourself or just pinpoint it on the spot? Whatever works for you.

2. Don’t normalize negative thinking:
We shouldn’t indulge in feeling negative about ourselves unless it’s constructive. Continued negative thoughts lead to guilt, self-doubt, sadness, and hurt.
We need to find ways to deal with our issues, snap out of what’s holding us back, let go of what’s pulling us down and somehow move forward.

3. Don’t stop it completely:
We need a bit of this negative talk to keep us in check. A little criticism can be a good thing. It gives us a reality check and motivates us to be and to do better. Just make sure you’re not entertaining unrealistic and destructive thoughts.

4. Challenge your negative thoughts:
We must challenge these negative words we tell ourselves.
We can always try to answer these questions; Is what I’m feeling about myself, right? Would I use the same words to describe my friends’ behaviours? I mean if you can be mindful and treat people with kindness then I don’t see why you wouldn’t do the same for yourself. Always remember to Be Kind To Yourself!

5. Make changes:
This could be the hardest part. It took me a while. Whenever we find ourselves in that negative bubble, we need to remind ourselves of not just the positive side of our lives but our capabilities to take control of it. You can remind yourself of the things you have already accomplished. You can ask yourself what really makes you happy.
And the best part is to direct your energy into finding solutions instead of feeling sorry for yourself or blaming yourself for things you can’t control.

Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk is the flip of the negative self-talk.
It is not about deceiving ourselves but about the feelings accurate about ourselves.
It is about showing ourselves understanding and self-compassion regarding whom we are and especially what we have been experiencing. Some statements that can describe us positively include: “I can do better this time,” and “I will learn from my mistakes and improve next time.” Remember that the words you say to yourself will determine your confidence in life. The more confident you are, the happier you become.
Practising positive self-talk takes time. It’s like building a habit, as long as you keep practising, it comes naturally to you.
We are all different, and what works for me may not work for you. So try to find your own way of creating this way of thinking.
In case you feel like positive self-talk is new to you, it might be hard to know the effective positive statements to say to yourself.

Here are examples of positive self-talk statements to get you started:

  1. I’m self-aware enough to decide how I feel about myself. (no one else has that power.)
  2. I’m proud of giving it a shot, although it’s challenging.
  3. I’ve learned from my mistake, I’ll do better next time.
  4. I can’t control what other people think about me, but I can control how I view my worth. (and act accordingly.)
  5. Tomorrow, I will try a new thing.

It’s these kinds of statements that puts our mind in the right direction. Be truthful to yourself and find a way to nudge yourself back to the right state of mind, all depending on what you’re dealing with, of course.

Please keep in mind, that it’s not possible to think positively about ourselves all time. That will only lead to something called toxic positivity.
Toxic Positivity the definition of too much of something good turning bad… quickly. It falsifies the true positive take we are trying to achieve in life.
You need to feel what you feel and then try to find ways to deal with it. Be aware and make sure not to hide behind those “positive vibes” instead of addressing the challenges that need to be faced.

Should we practise positive self-talk often?
Yes, we should! There are many benefits of positive self-talk, and the three most common are;
1. positive self-talk helps minimise stress: Studies show that positive self-thinking helps us actively invent coping strategies whenever we face challenges. If you can manage challenging situations in life, then you handle stress and solve problems amicably.
2. positive self-talk boosts our resilience: simply put, high optimism and self-esteem help us accomplish individual goals and recover quicker from unpleasant situations.
3. Positive Self-talk affects our relationships with others: When we are positive about ourselves, people around us feel it too and they will approach us and themselves in a more positive manner.

So, Does Self-Talk Matter?

Yes, I believe it matters. I think we should practice talking to ourselves like good friends. When self-talks are realistic, encouraging, and practical, they turn out to be very helpful.
However, worried, sad, and pessimistic self-talks makes us feel down and curtails us from trying to better our situation. When negative thoughts carry the day, we will undermine our talent, self-esteem, and confidence.
Equipping ourselves with the right positive self-talk means that we can handle the challenges that life constantly throws our way.

Until next time,

Lucie xx

2 Comments

  1. May 16, 2021 / 6:07 pm

    Really enjoyed this post. Toxic positivity is so fascinating to me, I had not heard of this before. As someone who is working to make strides with my mental health this year, I really appreciate the information in this post. Thank you for sharing.

    • May 16, 2021 / 9:27 pm

      Thank you so much, I’m really happy you enjoyed this post. All the best to you, every day you work on making your life better is a great accomplishment, no matter the speed.

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