I recently decided I needed to work on myself. Not just my body but my mind as well. I though it would help me with my mood swings and with plans I have for the future. As I discuss things with my counselor and read books I am finding that the topic of self talk comes back again and again. I hadn’t realized I was doing myself such a disservice, and maybe you are doing the same to yourself.
Does these sound familiar:
- “Why should I even bother, I’ll never be able to lose the weight”
- “Who do I think I am, I am not qualified to do that”
- “Some day they will realize what a fraud I am and fire me/stop being my friend/stop listening to what I have to say”
- “I love what she is doing, but I could NEVER do it myself”
And on and on. I know I talk to myself like this often. Even when I am sitting in a position of strength where I really do know what I am doing, I will talk down to myself. It is a huge issue. And one that plagues women more then men.
Initially I didn’t think the work I was doing would help me physically, but now I see I was wrong. This negative self talk is holding me back in my weight loss and body acceptance, as much as it is in my career.
Here are a few ways to work through the negative self talk. Challenge the way you are thinking and come out better for it. I used to resign myself that this was how it had to be. It doesn’t.
1. Reality testing
- What is my evidence for and against my thinking?
- Are my thoughts factual, or are they just my interpretations?
- Am I jumping to negative conclusions?
- How can I find out if my thoughts are actually true?
2. Look for alternative explanations
- Are there any other ways that I could look at this situation?
- What else could this mean?
- If I were being positive, how would I perceive this situation?
3. Putting it in perspective
- Is this situation as bad as I am making out to be?
- What is the worst thing that could happen? How likely is it?
- What is the best thing that could happen?
- What is most likely to happen?
- Is there anything good about this situation?
- Will this matter in five years time?
When you feel anxious, depressed or stressed-out your self-talk is likely to become extreme, you’ll be more likely to expect the worst and focus on the most negative aspects of your situation. So, it’s helpful to try and put things into their proper perspective.
4. Using goal-directed thinking
- Is thinking this way helping me to feel good or to achieve my goals?
- What can I do that will help me solve the problem?
- Is there something I can learn from this situation, to help me do it better next time?
Recognizing that your current way of thinking might be self-defeating (e.g., it doesn’t make you feel good or help you to get what you want) can sometimes motivate you to look at things from a different perspective.
You can conquer your negative self-talk today by challenging yourself with these questions every time you catch yourself thinking something negative to yourself.