If you stop to listen to yourself, chances are you’ll hear some negative self-talk. In fact, you might begin to recognize that nobody is quite as tough on us as we are on ourselves. It might take the common form of a response to an error: “how could I be so stupid as to make that mistake!’ Or maybe it’s more wrapped up with your physical appearance: “I’m so fat I can’t possibly show up at my class reunion.”
Sometimes we disguise our negative self-talk in joke form. ‘I’m so scrawny; my buns look like party balloons, a week after the party!’ Even wearing the camouflage of making fun, negative self-talk is no joke. It can dim our hope and enthusiasm and erode our self-esteem. Our subconscious mind drives our emotional bus. It has no sense of humor and it believes what we say. If you joke, “I’m huge, I’m enormous,” our subconscious mind says, “Must get to huge and enormous!”
Negative-self talk can also affect relationships and the work environment. Pointing out your personal shortcomings to those who are regularly in your company can not only prove tiresome, it can hold you back when it comes to promotions.
Most of us have constructed a list of things we don’t like about our bodies. Our thighs are too big, our hair is too thin, and can you believe that belly? Think of all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your body appearance. Why not try one?
Here are some tips on how to recognize and rewrite your self-talk:
- Tune in to your comments about yourself. Notice when you say something about yourself that you wouldn’t say to another person. Why treat others better than yourself? When you notice a negative comment, stop and correct yourself with a positive replacement comment.
- Avoid comparing yourself to others. When you find yourself comparing, use a thought- stopping approach turn the dial to appreciation of the other person’s attribute. You can insert a positive thought about yourself as well. When you assess your body and come up short, remember this: If mannequins were women, they would be too thin to have children!
- When your positivity fades, think back to a time when you felt good about yourself. Tell yourself that you can feel that good again, regardless of your age or the condition of your body at this time.
Negative self-talk is a habit. Once you recognize where the negatives are peppered into your thoughts and conversation, you can easily begin to retrain the habit into positivity that will better serve you in all aspects of your life.
- Pam Brooks