How do you talk to yourself?
By that, I don’t mean talking out-loud while walking down the street, or sitting alone, I mean, what is the tone of your inner dialogue: the conversations we have with ourselves in the privacy of our own mind?
The words we use to speak to ourselves can have a huge impact on us. If you’re constantly putting yourself down, calling yourself names and judging yourself, you’ll eventually start to believe those things about yourself, even if they’re not true. Self-talk can have a big impact on your success. Here are some tips for turning your self talk around.
Be aware of what you’re saying to yourself. You might be surprised at just how often you put yourself down.
The important piece of this step is to be non-judgmental. If you’re already calling yourself dumb, or saying you’ll never get the job, judging yourself further is the opposite of helpful.
It never ceases to amaze me just how unkind we can be to ourselves. And then we wonder why we are unhappy with no peace of mind.
🔥But how can we expect anything else when we talk to ourselves harshly?
🔥How can the mind be settled and calm when we are constantly being hard on ourselves?
🔥Are you calm, forgiving, and kind, or demanding, impatient and a little judgmental?
This is a pattern I see again and again, and it’s amazing the different ways that we justify such behaviour. I once heard someone say the reason they were so unkind and unforgiving towards themselves was because they were always thinking of others!
The ability to be kind to oneself and to others is not mutually exclusive.
I would argue that until we learn to be genuinely kind to ourselves, how could we possibly be kind to others? What we’re likely doing in these situations is fulfilling an “idea” of kindness, rather than coming from a “place” of kindness. In this sense, it is a “learned” kindness, rather than necessarily reflecting our “innate” kindness.
If you’re not too sure what healthy mind chatter sounds like, then I think the following can be a useful rule of thumb:
👉🏻Pay attention to any negative inner-chatter.
👉🏻Now, if you said the same thing and spoke the same way to a close friend, how would you expect them to react?
👉🏻Likewise, if they said the same thing to you, or spoke in that tone of voice, how would it make you feel?
👉🏻The answers will provide a fair idea about how much the mind needs softening up.
👉🏻That doesn’t mean “trying” to be different or thinking “positively.”
👉🏻Instead, it means noticing when you snap at yourself, beat yourself up, or reinforce negative thought patterns.
👉🏻In noticing, you are realizing what you’re doing and seeing it for what it is: a thought or a feeling that’s just passing by – it’s no more than that.
👉🏻In such moments, and as you continue to catch yourself, you will see how the mind softens, how it lets go, and how it finds a new sense of calm and clarity in the most unlikely of places.
👉🏻Acknowledge what you said and remind yourself it isn’t helpful.
👉🏻So often, what we think about ourselves goes unnoticed
👉🏻By becoming more aware of the monologue in your mind, you’re much more likely to be able to challenge those thoughts.
👉🏻I will recommend you to think of those negative thoughts as “unruly passengers in the backseat of the car you’re driving. You hear the noise and ruckus behind you, but you keep your attention focused on the road ahead.”
👉🏻Stop, rethink, and go. In a study it has been found that, students learned that they had to stop saying negative words.
👉🏻Then they had to rethink those hurtful words and change them into go words, which were positive and helpful.
👉🏻Some helpful positive words to add into your repertoire:
👉🏻Can and do. “I can do it.”
👉🏻Practice/help/better. “The more I practice, the better I get. I just need some help”
👉🏻Would like and like. “I would like an interview for the position.”
👉🏻I am or I will. “I am smart. I will write my cover letter.”
👉🏻Next time or sometimes. “Sometimes I get a callback. Next time I will get a chance.”
👉🏻Talk to yourself in the third person. According to a study published in Scientific Reports, “during times of distress or when you’re reminiscing about painful experiences from your past, talking to yourself in the third person—by using non-first-person pronouns or your own name—can help you stay calm, cool, and collected without much additional cognitive effort.” It will probably feel a bit odd at first, but it’s easy to get into the habit of. Researchers think that referring to yourself in the third person helps you think about yourself in the same way you think of others, which helps you zoom out psychologically.
So…..keep talking to yourself in a loving and kind way……
Ms. Jyoti Gupta is a practicing clinical psychologist with 20 years of clinical experience working with people from all walks of life. She has vast experience in, clinical and community interventions, assessment, diagnostic process, guidance and counseling, psychometric testing. For the past 17 years, she has been running her own service platform, ChetnaMindfulness – Center for Mindful Compassionate Living.