Have you ever listened to the words you use when you speak to yourself?
That little chimp on your shoulder, that little inner voice, who is constantly giving you unsolicited advice whether you ask for it or not. And have you ever noticed that it rarely tells you anything positive, and if it does, it’s more likely to be affirming that staying in your comfort zone really is the best choice you can make? It is your own inner critic and unfortunately it is also your harshest critic.
If one of your friends spoke to you the way you speak to yourself, you would soon stop meeting up with them. Who wants to spend time with someone who is so negative, constantly pointing out your biggest failings and foresees everything you do as a potential disaster? In reality we are with this critic 24/7, and we can’t block them, defriend them or tell them just to shut up – because its ourselves.
And one last thing, because this critic is ourselves, we constantly believe all of the words we hear. We would never lie to ourselves would we? Everything we tell ourselves must be true, mustn’t it?!
It’s just a safety mechanism
It’s worth pointing out here that when we speak to ourselves in this way, it is always coming from a place of fear. A fear of something new, or of something changing. Or perhaps a fear of not being good enough or of failure. We will look back on past events in our life to reconfirm this sense of fear and dread. And our brain and imagination are very clever, because they will always show us something to back these beliefs up.
When we fall into the trap of believing what our self talk is telling us, it creates a limiting behaviour and a pattern of taking the safest path. It also stops us from making the changes we need and trying new things. We need to look back instead and remember the times that change has been good, when a risk has paid off and how amazing we felt when this happened.
it’s time to change the words we use
So, rather than telling yourself why you can’t do something, or that you are a failure or that something is bound to go wrong, block that conversation. Just like you would block someone who is harassing you or bullying you or constantly putting you down.
Instead learn how to reframe how you speak to yourself. Be kinder and more compassionate, and have a go at being your own biggest cheerleader. Imagine if you were talking to your best friend or your child, and they were struggling, what you say to them to encourage them, to help them keepgoing, to boost their self-confidence?
5 ways to speak more positively to yourself
‘I’ve overcome challenges before, and I can handle this too’
Remind yourself of past accomplishments and challenges you’ve successfully navigated. This positive affirmation reinforces your resilience and capability to overcome the current difficulty.
‘I BELIEVE in my abilities, and I will find a solution’
Affirm your belief in your own abilities and problem-solving skills. This statement encourages a proactive mindset, helping you focus on finding solutions rather than dwelling on the problem.
‘I AM STRONG AND CAPABLE, AND I CAN HANDLE WHATEVER COMES MY WAY’
Reinforce your inner strength and capabilities. Remind yourself that you are equipped to face challenges head-on and emerge stronger on the other side. Again think of what you have dealt with in the past.
‘This too shall pass; I am in control of my response’
Acknowledge that difficult situations are temporary and that you have control over your responses. This positive self-talk promotes a sense of empowerment and helps you stay calm amidst stress. Will this be an issue in 6 months or a year from now?
‘I deserve self-compassion and kindness’
Practice self-compassion by affirming your worthiness of love and care, especially during tough times. Treat yourself with the same compassion and kindness you would offer to a friend facing a similar situation.
Positive self-talk is a skill that takes practice. By consciously using these affirmations and speaking kindly to yourself during times of stress, you can build mental resilience and foster a more positive and encouraging inner dialogue.
Go on, be your own biggest fan! Cheer yourself on and give yourself words of encouragement and compassion. And when you notice that inner critic trying to butt in, gently but firmly, block them.
And please remember if you need help, or someone to cheer you on as you navigate yourself through a difficulty, then please reach out.