Don’t Believe Everything You Tell Yourself by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
Negative self-talk is one of the most defeating habits we can possess. Yet, many of us talk negatively to ourselves in our heads constantly, often without even realizing we are doing it. Learning to turn off the negative self-talk can help you to improve your self-confidence, which, in turn will lead you to take risks and make needed changes to your habits. Learning to ditch the negative self-talk may be just the boost you need to get on track with making your goals. Often, it just requires listening to that negative voice in your head so that you can objectively analyze what it is saying to you. To help defeat the negative self-talk, start asking yourself these three questions.
1. Is it true? Your negative self may be telling you things like, “You can’t reach that goal”, or “You’re not good at meeting new people”. Take a minute to ask yourself whether those statements are really true. When you think, for example, about all the goals you have achieved, you’ll be able to quiet the self-talk that might hold you back from reaching the next goal.
2. Is it too harsh? Often we judge ourselves much more critically than we judge others. If the flaw your negative voice is pointing out is a true flaw, it is ok to acknowledge that this is a weakness. But, take the time to consider if you would judge others with the same weakness as harshly. For example, if you have difficult time meeting people, you may shy away from attending networking events that could bring in more business to your company, because your negative voice is saying you’re not good at it. But, if you had an employee with the same weakness, rather than discouraging them from attending networking events, you would probably encourage them to keep trying, saying “practice makes perfect”. Give yourself the same positive coaching on your weaknesses that you would give others.
3. What am I afraid of? Often our negative voice speaks to us out of fear. When you can pinpoint exactly what you’re afraid of, it may be easier to overcome the fear. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of thinking about the worst case scenario outcome, and then thinking about how you would handle that outcome. Often, when you think it through, you realize that the worst case scenario is not so bad, after all. This can give you the confidence to face your fears.
Conquering the negative voice in your head takes practice. Often, we take its word for granted as truth without even considering whether or not it has merit. Once you slow down and consider the truth behind the negative talk, you can begin to silent that negative voice in your head.