The importance of self talk and how to improve it
Our self-talk is so important, it’s our inner voice that talks all day long; sometimes in the background quietly and sometimes so loud that we can’t hear anything else. Making sure our self-talk is kind and helpful (rather than critical and negative) is crucial to our self-esteem and mental well-being.
“You’re so stupid, I can’t believe you did that. Idiot. That’s it, you’ve blown it now, you’re so useless, nobody is going to like you now”.
If you had a friend that talked to you like that, would you agree, or would you think, hold on a minute, that’s a bit harsh and perhaps reconsider if they are really the friend you thought they were?
Simply put, if you are repeatedly told something over and over again, you’ll start to believe it. And that’s the same for how you talk to yourself, too. So, how do we check what our self-talk is like and what do we do if we find it’s not as positive as it could be?
Tips to help improve your self-talk
1. Bring awareness to what you’re saying to yourself
Often, we’re barely even listening to what we’re saying, but the words still sink in, even if we aren’t listening. Can you catch yourself and identify when it is negative self-talk?
2. Challenge your negative self-talk
Can you find examples of times when you have done things well to challenge your inner critic?
3. Can you separate out the behaviour to you as a person?
For example, if you made a mistake with something, can you acknowledge that what you did might have gone wrong, but that doesn’t make you as a person wrong?
4. Can you step back and pretend you are talking to a friend?
What would you say to your friend or someone you care about that would help them?
5. Counterbalance with something positive
OK, so you’ve given yourself an earful, but can you follow it up with something positive? Over time, can you jump from negative thoughts to positive thoughts quickly?
6. Visualise the negative thought and send it away
For example, can you imagine putting it in a box and kicking that box all the way out to space? Our imaginations are so powerful and through this technique, you can learn to stop your negative voice in its tracks so that you don’t engage with it.
7. Find the positive
Can you pause for a moment and find the positive, however small it is? If there is no positive, there’ll always be a learning that you can take from it.
We’ll all have days or times in our lives when we haven’t been our best, that’s just part of being human. But, making sure our self-talk is positive and kind, rather than critical, is hugely important and can influence how you feel and respond to life.
Coaching can provide an excellent setting for you to explore your self-talk and put in motion steps to bring positive change to your relationship with yourself. If you would like to find out more about how coaching can help you, please get in touch.