- Ugh, did I really just say that?
- I forget everything that person just said, now what do I say?
- Why is she looking at me like I’m an alien?
That voice tells you you’re not good enough, it makes you feel like absolutely everyone is judging you (even though they’re not), and it tells you this is just the way you are… Yes, that’s the negative self-talk I’m talking about.
Contrary to what that voice is telling you, it doesn’t have to be “the way you are.”
The reality is that the things we tell ourselves dictates our moods, our outcomes and ultimately…our life.
Today I want to share three ways you can beat negative self-talk so you can start living your best life.
1. Transfer the guilt
Do you ever do something silly or make a mistake and say “Jeez, I’m so stupid”?
You may think this is something really minor, but it’s not. You are creating a generic label for yourself based off of one tiny mistake or comment. Sometimes it’s not even a “mistake” that triggers this, it’s a reaction from someone else or something in your external environment that you’re not consciously aware of.
You are the story you tell yourself.
Next time you make a mistake, try changing your narrative from negative to empowering. So rather than telling yourself you’re dumb, change the narrative to something like “Oops that thing I did was silly, next time I’ll think through it.”
You’ve done two things here:
- First you are removing your SELF from the equation. You did something that was a silly mistake rather than equating the mistake to mean you’re dumb
- The second thing you are doing is deciding how you will take action if that happens again. You have gone from making yourself a victim of “dumbness” to empowering yourself
2. Use mental habits to gain control
Do you close the bathroom door even when you’re home alone? How much mental power does it take for you to brush your teeth as soon as you get up? Not much right? That’s the power of habit.
In the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he discusses the habit loop which consists of the cue, routine, and reward.
Start identifying the cues that make you think negatively about yourself. Is it when you make a minor mistake? Is it when you first sit down behind your desk at work when you don’t want to be there?
Identify these cues and note them down. The next time you’re “cued” become aware of it and actively change the routine of negative self-talk.
3. Change your Vocabulary
- “That person doesn’t like me, they never stop by my desk or greet me.” VS
- “That person hasn’t gotten the chance to get to know me. I’ll be the bigger person and introduce myself when I’m ready.”
Remove words from your mental vocabulary like “wish, could, should, can’t, won’t” etc. Change those words into words like “can, will, I will do this by…, etc.”
Even the simple step of using different words to talk to yourself can transform your confidence. Identify the cues and the words you use. Do your best to change them every moment you get.
In the beginning you may not believe the positive thoughts you’re telling yourself and that’s normal. For starters, simply replace negative words with less harsh ones and then keep on building upwards until you get to positive statements.