Think back over the last few minutes. What kinds of thoughts have crossed your mind or lingered there? Are they uplifting, encouraging, and helpful? Or are they filled with worry, criticism or judgmentalness?
How about in general? Do you replay negative experiences over and over in your head? Do you wish repeatedly that you had handled a situation differently feeling drained by the lost opportunity? Or do you recognize the lesson learned and move on?
In some cases, self-deprecating thoughts and self-talk may make you feel humble, after all so many of us were taught that “pride goeth before the fall.” We work so hard to avoid labels like vane and self-centered, that we overcompensate by criticizing ourselves before others can. But that negative dialogue can undermine your emotional wellbeing.
On the other hand, self-talk – your ongoing, internal dialogue – is a powerful tool you can use to your advantage. Here’s how:
1. Decide to become aware of the content of what you say to you.
2. Notice if the tone of your inner commentary is predominantly uplifting or depressing, encouraging or discouraging?
3. Whenever the tone turns negative, swing into action and consciously choose another thought that is at least neutral, if not outright positive. For example, someone asks you a question. You think to yourself: “I hate questions like that.” A neutral thought might be, “People have a right to ask questions.” A positive thought could be, “Questions are good! They give me a chance to demonstrate how much I know and how well prepared I am.”
You can train your brain to end negative self talk. If you do, you’ll reduce stress and improve your mental and physical health.
We all live with Labels, Illusions, Excuses and Stories (LIES) that cover up our true authentic selves. The first step to conquering LIES is understanding them. My book “LIES That Limit” is a roadmap to helping you do just that. Available on Amazon starting at $5.95.