3 Top Tips to help create more Positive, Supportive Self Talk
We all talk to ourselves. Most of us talk to ourselves all day, every day. Our self talk plays a crucial role in how we experience life and how we’re able to create change and grow. We can use it to limit, undermine and chastise ourselves. Or we can use it to support, nurture and propel ourselves. The sneaky thing about our self talk is that very often it’s going on and we don’t even realise it. AND we have a tendency to run on patterns of thoughts/beliefs that are outdated and in many cases aren’t even ours. We learnt them at a young age from people who were a big influence on us such as our parents and teachers.
Changing our self talk allows us to change our relationship with ourselves. By creating a more positive relationship with ourselves everything else in our life has the potential to change. We can push ourselves to do more and achieve more than we ever thought possible. We can be kind and supportive to ourselves. When things are more challenging this allows us to recover faster and continue. It also helps us learn to like ourselves more and move closer to being able to genuinely love ourselves.
1- Become aware of your self talk
Becoming more mindful allows you to become more self aware. This means that you start to notice not just the language you use when speaking to yourself but also the tone and emotion behind it. When you become aware of your self talk you can start to make changes to it. You can deliberately choose how you want to speak to yourself.
And it’s not just about ‘thinking’ more positively. It’s important to appreciate the power of the language we choose. For example when we think ‘we should’ do something. Using the word ‘should’ is very restrictive. It effectively cuts out all other options and puts a lot of pressure on you. If you change the word ‘should’ for ‘could’ you open the situation up. You create options and take the pressure off, “I could do such and such” feels very different to “I should do such and such”.
As well as becoming more mindful of the language we use it’s also makes sense to focus more on what you do want rather than what you don’t.
2- Choose to think positively
And I don’t mean ignore the reality of the situation and pretend everything’s alright when it’s not. So this isn’t about donning rose tinted glasses and only ‘seeing’ the good/positive, creating a skewed vision of how things are.
There are so many situations where we ‘choose’ to expect the worst, or needlessly doubt ourselves. We worry about things we have no control over. What if in these situations we decided to expect a good outcome instead, or at least a neutral one. “Everything will work out alright”. What if we decided to believe in ourselves and our ability. “I’ve got this, I can do this”.
Sometimes it may mean changing what you believe about yourself, “I am good enough”, “It’s ok for me to feel loved, happy, relaxed …” This requires more than simply changing the words you use but it’s doable, if you decide that’s what you want to do.
If there are gaping holes in particular skill sets or abilities we can acknowledge that and choose to do something about it eg. read a book on the subject, take a class, learn more etc. In so doing you’re taking personal responsibility, being proactive and growing as a person.
3- Talk to yourself as you would a friend
Very often we talk to ourselves in a way that we’d never, ever speak to anyone else in our lives. We can be really hard on ourselves, use tones and language we’d never use with anyone else. And why wouldn’t we speak this way to anyone else? Because we wouldn’t want to offend them, upset them or have them think badly of us. Yet we feel it’s absolutely fine to speak to ourselves that way. Well guess what, it’s not ok to talk to ourselves that way.
Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a friend, or family member you cared for. Learn to treat yourself with the same level of respect that you treat others with. Create a kind, loving relationship with yourself, as you may already have with friends and loved ones. If you notice harsh self talk creeping in, notice it and then choose to re-phrase it. Or completely scrap it and start again.
Just consider how reassuring you would be when talking to someone else, “You’ll be ok”, “Do you know what a great person you are?”, “You look great/fine, stop being so hard on yourself” “You’ll do an awesome job…” You get the idea. See if you can’t take a similar tone and approach with your own internal dialogue. It’s not going to happen overnight. But if you make changes little by little and you’re consistent, you’ll make really good progress.
The topic of self talk is a big one. These are just a few tips to get you thinking and hopefully help you get started with making some changes (if you want to). Should you find you could benefit from some assistance in changing your self talk, or feel that you have underlying beliefs you can’t change yourself, I can help. Get in contact to find out more.