From the moment our feet hit the floor in the morning we are inundated with the thoughts and opinions of others. I know I am not the only one that has checked my e-mail or twitter while enjoying my morning coffee. While all that external noise can affect the way we feel about ourselves, our biggest influence is our own thoughts. Today in part three of the series (part one – part two), I will explore fighting negative self-talk as a pillar of self-care.
You live with your thoughts so be careful what they are” Eva Arnington
What have you said to yourself today? Was it motivating? Was it helpful? Or was it limiting and degrading. Your thoughts determine who you are. They are the source of your words, actions, habits, character and ultimately your destiny. The conversations you have with yourself can be damaging or positive. They determine how you feel about yourself and how you move through life.
Honest self-analysis is necessary for growth. The damage occurs when the internal conversations turn overly critical. You think you are pushing yourself to success, grinding to be better or achieve more. But, when your inner thoughts constantly say “you are not enough”, it has a negative effect on your perception of who you are and what you can achieve. Focus on the messages from your inner voice. Do you notice any common themes? Are you over critical or supportive of yourself? Would you say those things to your best friend?
Replacing your negative thoughts with positive ones doesn’t mean losing touch with reality. We all have opportunity to improve and challenges we need to face. Positive self talk is not lying to yourself or ignoring the truth. It is changing the language of your inner conversations. Those who have a positive self-talk language are generally more confident, motivated, and productive.
Our thoughts determine the action we take. Change our thoughts, change the action. While on the quest to live your best in all areas of your life, using a positive self-talk language will drive your actions and help you reach your dreams. When we get positive with our self-talk, we look at events in our lives differently. And feel better about ourselves.
Here are a few steps to help change your self-talk language:
Our thoughts occur so quickly we might not notice of how negative they are. Start by slowing down and paying more attention to your self-talk. This week, make a quick note each time you use negative self-talk. Jot down what happened and what your thoughts are (Went shopping /I am too fat nothing will fit, Account overdrawn/I am awful with money). When you are aware of your inner hater you will be in a better position to defeat her.
Your negative thoughts can also come from external influences. It is important that you identify those factors in your life. Your self-talk language can become negative when you surround yourself with negative people. Limit your exposure to those friends and surround yourself with energy from people who will empower you.
Start noticing the good things about yourself. No matter what the hater in you says, you do have positive traits. Reminding yourself of the things you do well and of your accomplishments reinforces our belief in self. It provides the confidence you need to move forward in your journey.
Create a list of three of your positive traits. Choose something that is clear and concise. Throughout the day recite the list aloud with feeling. Place I in front of each statement. “ I make healthy choices, I successfully balance my budget etc. ” Initially you may feel silly reciting your affirmations. Remember the power your negative thoughts had on your life. You had come to believe everything they’d said. Your mind takes orders from your repeated self-talk. Practice is important.
Fear can also cause negative thoughts, but they show up a little differently. We are afraid of taking chances. Afraid we will fail. Afraid we will lose the current comfortable state. So, we convince ourselves that we like things just the way they are. You try to convince yourself that you are happy. But there is this gnawing feeling that you are selling yourself short.
Listing the pros and cons of the new course of action and writing down specifically what you are afraid of can alter your perspective and help you change your self-talk.
Creating a positive self-talk language is not going to happen overnight. Breaking the habit of negative self-talk may take a while, negative thoughts will pass through your mind from time to time. The goal is to train your thoughts to naturally be more positive. The reward is worth the work. You will feel confident, productive and empowered to live your best life.