One time at work a customer told me she had spilled her coffee on the floor. While we were cleaning it together, this lady apologized for being so clumsy and kept putting herself down even when I told her that it’s okay and it happens to all of us. I offered to make some more coffee for her but she left saying she doesn’t deserve it. She seemed so miserable that I wanted to give her a hug.
Truthfully speaking, what she said hurt my ears, and got me thinking about self-talk. We all are clumsy sometimes and spill our drinks, that is totally okay. Spilling a coffee is not a big deal. Putting yourself down for it, that is a big deal in the long run.
Do you ever notice the way you speak to yourself? Is your inner voice kind and forgiving, like talking to a friend? Or is it rather negative, do you put yourself down or imagine worst possible outcomes in many situations? Both options probably sound familiar – we as humans are not just one thing and can change over time. It matters which side you tend to lean towards more though. It’s quite necessary to think about these things because the voices inside our heads have an impact on our self-image. Your mind is listening to itself all the time.
In the best possible situation you could be your own biggest motivator and inspiration, a friend that helps you live a healthy lifestyle and achieve the things you want. In the worst situation you could be your own enemy – studies show that negative self-talk can lead to mental health issues. However, studies also show that positive talk could be a way to heal from them and improve your life satisfaction and health overall.
You are literally the only person you are obligated to live with. There can also be times when you really have no one to count on except yourself, so you really need to know how to pick yourself up when you fall. That’s why it’s crucial to build a good, powerful mindset. You can’t expect yourself to bloom in success and happiness if you don’t create the best possible environment for the flower – YOU – first. Your mind is your superpower after all – don’t you think it deserves to be treated well?
If it’s difficult for you to do that, maybe it’s useful to think about where that talk comes from.
Where does negative self-talk come from?
I feel like whenever we have problems, we should always look for the reasons behind them – only then we can truly deal with them properly. However, the reason behind many of our problems is very often not that surprising or exciting or easy to deal with. It’s the big ol’ boring one – insecurity. Where does insecurity stem from then?
According to this article written by Psychology Today, the three most common causes for insecurity are 1. failure or rejection, 2. social anxiety and 3. perfectionism. In a more simple way, it seems like it’s about your reaction to 1. what life does to you, 2. what other people do and 3. what you do. All that is indeed worth a whole another post, but working on those things can massively improve your self-talk for sure. (How ironic though that while writing this, my own perfectionism was definitely strongly present. It just shows that dealing with insecurity is a journey, for everyone.)
But negativity can come from outside of you too. It’s difficult in a way that it’s an infectious habit. When you get infected by negativity, it starts growing inside of you and can impact your self-talk – even your whole attitude towards life. Maybe you’ve heard people say negative things about you which can lead to social anxiety, or maybe they have said negative things about themselves, other people or life in general. Maybe you’ve been compared to others and their achievements all your life and have grown to envy others. No matter what type of negativity, it’s only a thinking habit, and all habits can be broken.
You can’t control what happens to you. You can’t affect what people think or say about you, or what they are doing with their lives, or what their attitude towards life is. You also can’t fix anyone else’s problems with insecurity. What you CAN do is focus on you: the way you think of yourself and how you speak to yourself. You need to understand that you are good enough no matter what people say, no matter what other people do, no matter what you do, and no matter what happens to you. Maybe it’s time to treat yourself with some self-love and positivity.
Time for positivity – but how?
Firstly, positive self-talk doesn’t mean suppressing whatever negative talk there might be and pretending that you only think of yourself as the finest person in the world and that life is full of rainbows. The key is to be aware of whatever is going on in your head and mindful about the thoughts you decide to give attention. You can choose whether you listen to the record that is currently playing.. or not.
Positivity is not a sunshine other people see and others don’t, it’s something you choose to focus on. You can always choose to focus on your good qualities and everything you’ve done right, rather than the opposite. You can choose to remind yourself that you are actually a very good human being in the larger scale of things and you are worthy of kind words. You also need to practise it often, it takes time to create good habits.
How to start? Well, whenever a negative thought comes along, put your foot down and choose your side. Choose to say, “HEY! I’m not dumb or weak, I’m actually doing the best I can right now and that is enough.” Or when the voice inside you says that everything’s a mess, you can remind yourself that one bad day doesn’t mean it’s a bad life. Make sure that your surroundings support your path to a healthier and happier version of yourself too.
A good rule is, treat yourself like you would treat a friend. You deserve good things from yourself, especially in your weakest moments. How lovely would it be to have a cheerleader inside your head at all times? The places you could go with that amount of encouragement and mental power, huh!
But the joke is, that is possible. It is achievable. You just gotta be mindful of your thoughts and maybe even have a serious talk with that inner voice first.
What’s your inner voice like? What are your thoughts on self-talk? Tell me in the comments!
PS. If you don’t talk to yourself at all and it’s quiet in there, I guess that’s good… but you could be missing some fun and inside jokes haha. 🙂