You may be blaming yourself for outcomes that weren’t your fault or generally just looking at the negative as opposed to the positive side. Most people who experience negative self-talk have been creating the pattern for years, since childhood in many cases. It is a condition that develops over the years and continues to get worse if you don’t try to change. This form of negative self-talk can create anger, frustration, guilt, and a whole slew of other emotions.
The good news is that it’s never too late to change your negative self-talk to positive self-talk.
How to get started on a road to positive self-talk
Listen to yourself
Take some time to listen to your inner voice. Do you spend time dwelling on negative thoughts, or are you supportive of your discussions? It’s good to take time to write down any negative thoughts so you can reflect on them and determine what made you feel the way you did and how you would change that going forward.
When you have a negative thought and write it down, ask yourself a few questions:
- Is this something that I am overreacting to?
- How accurate is what I’m thinking?
- Did I label myself negatively? (I’m stupid, fat, etc.)
If you say yes to any of the above, it’s time to change your thinking process.
Replace the negative
Now that you’ve written down your negative thoughts and asked yourself some questions, it’s time to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. How you change your thought process from negative to positive will make all the difference in your life.
“I can’t believe how poorly I did in that sales presentation. There’s no way anyone will ever buy from me”.
Instead, replace the negative with a positive. “I need to do a bit more research before my next call to make sure I’m fully prepared moving forward. If I’m more prepared, I’ll sell more”.
Cut the negative people out
I call this getting rid of the “deadwood”. If you want to practice positive self-talk, then surround yourself with positive people. You can’t possibly be positive when everyone around you is complaining about one thing or another. If you can’t 100% remove them from your life (i.e., family members), then limit your time with them. In the end, you will be happier because of it.
Practice being grateful
Sometimes it just takes some perspective to “right the ship.” Be thankful for what you have because many times, it is better than most people. Remembering what you are grateful for daily will create a more positive attitude and therefore lead to an increase in positive self-talk.
I admit sometimes it’s hard for me to see people with more beautiful things than I, or a brand new car when I’m driving an 8-year-old Honda. Instead of comparing yourself to others and complaining about what you don’t have, be happy for what you do have! There is always someone worse off than you. I know that’s not easy to believe when you feel like things are not going well, but it’s the truth.
For more on how to stop comparing yourself to others, visit Psychology Today!
Believe in yourself
It is of the utmost importance to believe in yourself. If you set yourself up for failure, then you will fail. There are no two ways about it. If you have any doubt, then you will not progress forward. If you don’t believe in yourself, then no one will and never give up!
Remember it’s ok to fail
As much as not believing in yourself holds you back from succeeding, so does the fear of failure. People who are afraid to fail never challenge themselves and fail to grow. It is in our moments of failure that we learn our most important lessons. Instead of focusing on the negative of the failure, use it as a learning experience to mold your future.
“It is in our moments of failure that we learn our most important lessons.”
The past is the past
Yesterday is over! Focus on the future and don’t dwell on past mistakes. Take the negative experience, learn from it, build on it, and move on. Now focus on all things positive in the future. Don’t waste space in your heart and mind for the negative talk.
See yourself being successful
Imagine success and being positive. Tiger Woods would imagine his golf ball being in the hole already and then really just needed to figure out how to get it there. He sees himself as being successful and strives to achieve that goal. If you envision failure, you will fail. Imagining yourself being successful will create a positive mindset, therefore, increasing positive self-talk. And as always set goals to keep you aimed toward success.
By following the steps above, you can change your negative self-talk to positive self-talk. You will begin to see a change in your life, including increased happiness, focus, and success!
What do you do to keep your self-talk positive? Let me know in the comments below.