Negative Self Talk
Negative self talk. Who can relate? Such a phoney. I am worthless. You will fail at that. Why even bother? You are a pig eating that extra piece of cake…
I think this is familiar to us all on some level or another. One common question I get asked is, “How can I stop negative self talk when I see my reflection in the mirror?”. Has it ever happened to you? You are walking in a shopping centre and you see your reflection. Your mind internally gasps in horror at what you see. You ask yourself, is this really how i look?!
Or, you are getting dressed in the morning and your mind murmurs (or screams) comments about your body being too big, too skinny, too flabby, too disgusting – or anything that is not considered perfect? Is this familiar to you? Or what about harshly comparing yourself to another? It is great to celebrate a quality about someone else, but why do we simultaneously put ourselves down? Negative self talk is the culprit here. This kind of inner talk can be debilitating and affects many aspects of our lives.
I had an eating disorder for over 10 years. I struggled to love my body, felt deeply ashamed and worried that I was not beautiful enough. Trust me, I know exactly how harmful negative self talk can be! From my own personal healing journey around this very topic, I’m going to share 3 simple steps (a process) that will free you from the binds of negative self talk. A powerful and empowering shift can happen when we can make this transformation and live the life we deserve.
What is Negative Self Talk?
Negative self talk is basically any inner dialogue that hinders your ability to believe in yourself and be the best version of you. We all know that self talk in itself is a normal human experience. But the issue arises when this talk becomes critical or negative. In this way, this chatter does not serve us and essentially reinforces irrational beliefs. Some examples might be –“I know I look awful today'”, “You failed because you are a loser” or “I am nothing compared to these people”.
What’s the Big Deal?
So what is the big deal I hear you ask ? Well, negative self talk can be toxic to many aspects of our lives. In particular, it can create limitations in thinking, perfectionism, trigger feelings of depression as well as cause relationship and health problems. Further, these negative thoughts might generate emotions that cause unhealthy eating choices, emotional eating or binge eating.
Additionally, our thoughts race a million miles an hour unconsciously from one random thought to another. In this way, we have no idea what we are even saying to ourselves most of the time! It is true that we would never talk to a dear friend or family member the way we internally talk to ourselves. So why do we do this crazy thing?
Overcoming negative self talk has been a core part of my healing. As a result, I want to share with you what has worked for me and transformed my life.
Step 1: Create Awareness
Step 1 involves noticing what thoughts arise and writing them down. It sounds simple, but we need to generate mindfulness of what is occurring. Write them down on a page in a journal or diary.
You are ugly – write it down.
I am useless – write it down.
Yuck, so fat – write it all down.
Don’t censor it. Be honest with yourself. Obviously, we can not change anything we are not conscious of, so this is why creating awareness will help us reframe. Also, I find it very interesting that we are not very creative when it comes to certain thoughts! In truth, most thoughts come up again and again in all situations and we have most likely been repeating these thoughts over numerous years. A lot of those thoughts have become a habit, they happen subconsciously.
You might even feel an internal block to writing down the thoughts. In other words, we sometimes want to subconsciously cling onto the story we have about ourselves; or feel terrified to let it go. This is why I keep repeating to ‘write it down’. Because this is where the power lies – in separating the thought from yourself physically, as it holds less power this way.
Step 2: Explore Your Values
Next, turn to a new page in your journal. Write down what is important to you – your passion and purpose. Ask and answer the following questions:
What do I value?
How do I want to live my life?
What makes me happy?
How do I want to feel?
What are my passion and purpose?
What do I want to achieve?
In psychology, this is called ‘Value-Based Living’. We can not get anywhere if we don’t know where it is we want to go, or if we believe it does not exist. Thus, it becomes critical that we verbalise and create this destination we want to go. Write these values and goals around your house. Maybe pin them up in the places where most of the negative self-talk happens.
Put up pictures and photos. It is important to write these affirmations and values in first person and in present tense. For example, “I am worth it!“, “YES! I can do this!” and “I am confident”.
Rocking Chair Exercise
If you feel stuck in this process, and need help to uncover some values, try the Rocking Chair Exercise. Close your eyes. Imagine you are 100 years old, sitting in your rocking chair looking back and reflecting on your life. Think of the things that need to happen now for you to look back on your life and think “WOW you really lived the life you wanted!”.
Step 3: Align the Current and Future Self
Lastly, this final step involves bringing the current and future self together. When you hear negative thoughts, go immediately to what you are trying to achieve or value. For example, consciously shift your focus to values and goals. “Where focus goes, energy flows!” (like Tony Robbins says).
Above all, it is important to not resist the negative thoughts. So, don’t tell yourself “Don’t think that thought”. Simply acknowledge they are happening. Then, think about what you want to be thinking. Therefore, it is not about fighting the thought, but observing and creating a shift.
You Might Feel like a Fraud…
Now, I will be honest with you. This will feel odd at first. You might even feel like a fraud. When you first attempt this, your mind will resist and it will feel strange because it is something new. Our mind likes to feel comfortable and is perfectly content with the habit it has created. In this way, growth is uncomfortable, so just keep going (consistency is the hack), because your values will eventually become the dominant thought and feeling.
Finally, remember to sort out your social media feed before you begin these steps! Otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure. Unfollow the fake rubbish that makes you feel anything less than worthy.
This empowering 3 step process involves creating awareness, defining goals and values, and interrupting and re-writing unconscious thoughts to manifest the future we want (and deserve). So, go out and do all the amazing things you were destined to achieve. Play! Create! Be the Light! Transform! Life is too short to worry about how we look, what we don’t have, or obsessing over food. This merely wastes our time and stops us from doing what we want to be doing. Above all, the world needs you.
Letting go of our addiction to these negative thoughts will bring us back to the truth. You deserve to be free! I am a big believer in us all being creators of our lives. Check out my video about how to manifest your dreams! Or, to read more about my personal journey, click here. For more awesome and inspiring Tony Robbin’s quotes, click here