As humans, we are usually our own harshest critic. You’re probably familiar with that voice in the back of your mind telling you that you’re not worthy of accomplishing your goals. This voice is a liar, and it contributes to feelings of depression and anxiety. The sad thing about this voice is that it’s your own inner critic talking. If you want to move forward toward your self-development goals, you absolutely must watch out for negative self-talk. The tips you’ll read in this article will provide you with the tools you need to overcome this “stinking thinking” and turn it around to become a message to yourself that allows you to shine.
In order to break the habit of putting yourself down, you must first be aware of when you’re doing it and why. Try to pay attention to the times throughout the day when you feel badly due to a message you’ve delivered to yourself. You will usually be alerted to these instances by the way in which your body reacts. For example, some people feel muscle tension in their shoulders when they begin to feel angry or stressed. When you notice a symptom such as this, make an attempt to determine what you’re feeling and what has led to the feeling. In some cases, it may be an outside source such as a comment made by a colleague, but often the emotion could be caused or exacerbated by your own internal negative messaging and reaction to an outside event. Write these things down for at least a week, and then look for patterns such as triggers or situations surrounding your negative self-talk.
Advising you to take it easy on yourself may seem like simplistic advice, but you absolutely must start to cut yourself some slack if you want to overcome the toxic habit of delivering self-limiting messages. It might help if you consider whether the things you’re saying to yourself are words you would share with someone you love. Chances are pretty good that you never would do such a thing. You probably strive to be kind and supportive of the people in your life. Why not try the same strategy when talking to yourself?
It’s easy to convince ourselves we’re not worthwhile or that we have some fatal flaw. During times when you’re feeling especially down on yourself, reach out to friends or family for a reality check. Checking in with the people who care about you can remind you of all your positive qualities and that you’re simply having a fragile moment, which is a very human thing. Listen to what others say to you during these times without argument or objection. These people are in your life for a reason. If they didn’t think highly of you, they wouldn’t stick around. Trust their judgment.
Note the Positive
Everyone has good things about them. Yes, even you. Though you may be resistant, force yourself to write down at least ten positive traits, skills or characteristics about yourself. It can be a physical feature, a talent or something unique about your personality. Just keep going until you’ve developed a list of ten items. Refer to this list any time you’re feeling bad about yourself for a little pick-me-up when you need it most. Challenge yourself to add to your list regularly. If you do, it won’t be long before you may actually believe yourself.
Overcoming negative self-talk requires patience and dedication. It’s not easy to move past a lifetime of toxic messaging. It is, however, a much-needed step on your road to self-fulfillment.