We all have our own inner dialogue and oftentimes we’re not very compassionate in the way we speak to ourselves. What if instead of this negative chatter, you could rewrite the story inside your head and use the power of positive self-talk to create meaningful change in your life? What if you learned to talk to yourself like someone you love?
Do you realize how much you talk to yourself on an everyday basis? Maybe you’re not talking to yourself out loud, but we all have our inner chatter. We all have that little voice inside that creates a constant dialogue and unfortunately we’re often not so nice to ourselves with the things we say.
How often do you find that voice inside your head saying something that starts with “I am” and ends with something less than flattering?
How many times does it actually end with something awful? Something you’d never say to someone else, especially to someone you love?
“I am fat.”
“I am selfish.”
“I am so stupid.”
“I am a bad mom.”
“I am not good enough.”
But if your inner self-talk is so powerful, why not rewrite the story you’re telling yourself? Why not make it work for you?
Why not talk to yourself like someone you love?
The Power of Positive Self-Talk
The way you lead your life starts with your thoughts and the conversations you have with yourself inside your head.
In simple terms, your thoughts trigger your feelings and emotions and you wind up acting a certain way based on those feelings. This in turn affects how you interact with the world around you and respond to events in your life.
Thus your self-talk is powerful and can affect you both positively and negatively. But, the good news is that you have the ability to control your inner dialogue and use it to create a positive impact in your life.
Do you talk to yourself like someone you love?
Take a beat and think for a minute about what you’ve said to yourself today.
Was it critical, focusing on your flaws and what you think you might have done wrong? Or was it supportive, bolstering your self-esteem and treating yourself kindly?
There’s no denying that we all have things we’d like to change about ourselves. I think self-improvement is a great thing for which to strive and you know I’m all about personal growth and development.
However, I also recognize that there must be a balance between self-improvement and self-acceptance. It’s ok to recognize your flaws and identify where you want to do better, but obviously it’s not healthy to constantly berate yourself in your mind for not being good enough.
I believe this fine balance between self-improvement and self-acceptance can be achieved through cultivating self-love.
Self-love is the intersection of self-acceptance and self-improvement. It’s loving and accepting yourself as you are, but also still challenging yourself to become better, all the while showing yourself grace when you fall short.
So it’s ok if you’re not happy with everything about yourself, but rather than being your own worst critic, come from a place of self-love and learn to talk to yourself like you would someone you love.
By doing so, you’re harnessing the power of positive self-talk to foster thoughts and feelings that will bring about the behaviors needed to live as the best version of you.
“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”― Brené Brown
Learn to Identify Negative Self-talk
In order to create a more positive inner dialogue, you must first learn to recognize when your self-talk is veering toward the negative.
Some common types of negative self-talk are described below:
- Personalizing – You believe everything is your fault.
- Filtering – You solely focus on the negative aspects of a situation, ignoring any and all of the positives.
- Catastrophizing. You automatically expect the worst will happen and rarely look to logic to persuade you otherwise.
- Magnifying – You blow things out of proportion, making a big deal out of minor obstacles or problems.
- Polarizing – You see everything as good or bad. There’s no middle ground for processing and categorizing life events.
Try to identify these triggers so you can anticipate and be ready to combat your negative thoughts.
Retrain your brain
Once you can begin to identify your type(s) of negative thinking and triggers, you can then start to work on shifting your thoughts and inner dialogue to be more positive.
There are various ways you can do this, including reframing your thoughts. When you catch yourself being overly critical or negative, stop and try to replace the negative statement with something positive and also accurate.
Negative thought: I’m so lazy I can’t even manage to clean up the kitchen.
Positive reframe: I cooked a lovely meal that nourished my family last night and I will get to the clean-up when I have a moment later today.
Do you see how you are reframing that negative self-talk into something constructive (and true) that you would not hesitate to say to a dear friend? This is how you begin to talk to yourself like someone you love.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your brain paints a picture that is not always reality. So when you find your inner dialogue telling a dismal tale, stop and check in with yourself. Ask yourself if these negative thoughts are really true. If not, let them go.
Adopt a personal mantra
As I mentioned above, learning to use positive self-talk to create meaningful change in your life starts with having self-love and allowing it to guide you to form the best version of yourself.
Meet yourself where you are (self-acceptance) and use positive self-talk to propel you where you want to go (self-improvement).
A powerful way to do this is through positive affirmations. Affirmations are brief positive statements that you repeat to yourself on a regular basis in order to allow them to take root in your mind. Through repetition and consistency, they can help reprogram your brain and combat negative thinking.
I’ve found it really meaningful to adopt a few affirmations for myself that I deeply resonate with and I use them regularly. I will say them to myself when meditating, write them each day in my journal, or focus my energy on them when working out.
I’ve actually adopted and adapted a mantra from my favorite Peloton instructor. If you are a Peloton member, then you may have heard it before:
I AM. I CAN. I WILL. I DO.
Sometimes I say it just as it is, but most of the time, I add to it, as you’ll see below.
I’ve adapted these 8 words into statements that are meaningful to me personally. These statements incorporate self-compassion and self-acceptance, but also drive and perseverance and they motivate me to move forward.
Perhaps some of the below affirmation statements I’ve made from this mantra will resonate with you too.
I AM (meet yourself where you are now)
I am trying.
I am driven.
I am focused.
I am intentional.
I am good enough.
I CAN (what are you capable of?)
I can do hard things.
I can strive for more.
I can be who I want to be.
I can set goals and achieve them.
I can accomplish what I set my mind to.
I WILL (what will you do to get where you want to go?)
I will take imperfect action.
I will continue moving forward.
I will maintain focus and energy.
I will sit in the discomfort of uncertainty.
I will keep pushing every day to get where I want to go.
I DO (what do you do once you get there? How does your life look?)
I do act with intention.
I do have a joy-filled life.
I do love wholeheartedly.
I do live fully and without reservations.
Why You Should Talk To Yourself Like Someone You Love
Your words and what you say to yourself are more powerful than what anyone else can say to you.
Since we all talk to and also inadvertently listen to ourselves, it seems a no-brainer to learn to use our inner dialogue in a way that can benefit us and evoke the change we want to bring about in our lives.
Of course learning to combat negative thinking and use positive self-talk is not an overnight process.
It takes time and effort to form new habits, but over time you will see how talking to yourself like someone you love can create meaningful impact and drive you towards being the best for yourself and everyone around you.
Did you like this post? You might enjoy these as well:
Carly is a wife, mom, and former fashion industry executive turned blogger, who is on a journey to live life as the best version of herself. Through her website, littlevoicebigmatter.com, she shares practical advice and heartfelt insights to inspire and support women in motherhood, relationships, wellness, and life.