Are you a negative self-talker or a positive self-talker? I tend to be a positive self-talker, but that's not to say I don't have my moments when a little negative thinking slips in. But, I don't let that go too far before I squash it like a bug! Over the years, I've worked hard to banish negative self-talk and today, I want to share with all of you lovelies six different ways that YOU can work on improving the conversation you have with yourself in your head!
I’m not pretty enough.
She’s funnier than I am.
They don’t like me.
I can’t do it.
What's the point? Why even bother trying to do _____?
I don’t deserve it.
Do any of these sound familiar? I bet they do. I bet on any given day one of these sentences, or a variation of, has crossed your mind.
It’s what you are telling yourself as you move throughout the day. I bet some of you don’t even realize you’re doing it.
Now, think about these sentences another way... What if your best friend said these things to you? What if it was your husband or boyfriend? Would you stay with them? (I sincerely hope you wouldn’t!! I hope you’d tell them to kiss it as you walk out the door, then turn and ever so cutely, sashay on outta there! But that’s a topic for a different day!).
Or…would YOU say any of these to someone you loved? (Again, I sincerely hope not, and if you would, well…ummmm…you’re not really a nice person. Just sayin'.)
So…why do we, as women, continue to say crap like this to ourselves??
In case you didn’t realize it, this is what we call negative self-talk and it is NOT GOOD to engage in this kind of thinking!!
It’s hard to walk through life not giving into these types of thoughts. Why? Because we are flooded with images of “perfection" on a daily basis, so to hold your head high and tell yourself that you are smart or pretty or totally deserving is almost like swimming upstream against the tide.
Also, as young girls, most of us were taught modesty and to praise ourselves was considered boastful (and probably not very 'ladylike').
Puh-leaze! Personally, I think there's nothing more awesome than a woman who knows her own value, accepts her own faults, respects herself, and owns it!
Another thought…have you ever noticed when women get together they tend to commiserate and connect by making self-deprecating comments ("ugh…I need to lose 5 pounds for these jeans to look right”)?
Personally, I've never understood this line of conversation, but I'm always amazed when I'm chatting to a group of women at a party and this happens every.single.time. They all start listing out their faults and what they've failed at! (It's usually at this point, where I quietly slip away and go hang with the boys since they never do this and it's a lot more light-hearted and fun!).
LADIES, THIS HAS TO STOP!!
It’s not only terrible for our own health and self-image, but if you have a daughter/niece/god-daughter/whatever, guess what…they’re picking up on it and that’s teaching them how to, not only look at themselves, but how to behave around other women.
Aside from just feeling better about ourselves when we avoid negative self-talk, there are also numerous other benefits of doing a 180 and practicing positive self-talk...
- Less stress
- Longer life span
- Less likely to suffer from depression
- Ability to better handle difficult situations and phases of life
Tips for Banishing Negative Self-Talk
Tip #1 | Be conscious of what you’re telling yourself
Like I said earlier, I’m betting a lot of you don’t even realize you say all of these bad things to yourself, so the first step is to start listening to yourself. Once you’re conscious of it, you’ll likely be surprised and possibly horrified at what you tell yourself on a regular basis!
Tip #2 | Intentionally tell yourself the opposite of the negative thought
After you start to realize the negative self-talk, its time to stop them in their tracks!
When you catch yourself saying something negative to yourself, stop the thought immediately and consciously and intentionally choose a positive thought instead.
For example, let's go with what is probably THE most common negative self-talk women say to themselves..."I look fat in this outfit." Now, I'm not here to tell you to not try to lose a few pounds if you really feel you need to, but what I want you to start doing is to stop focusing on the negative!
Instead of telling yourself that you look fat, try finding something about you that you do genuinely like...your eyes, your hair, you shapely calves, whatever! Look at that specific attribute and tell yourself that you have amazing [fill in the blank]. That will do wonders for lifting your spirits and redirecting your focus to what you DO like!
If necessary, get yourself a cute ponytail holder and wear it on your wrist and every time you catch yourself making one of those comments, snap it on your wrist as a little Pavlovian reminder! Then follow up with your positive replacement thought!
Tip #3 | Keep a gratitude journal, with a twist
It’s always good to note things you are grateful for…it makes you more appreciative of life and the small things. I encourage you to do this as a life practice because there are so many benefits.
But, if you are working on building up your self confidence or just need a boost in your positive thinking when you’re having a bad day, I recommend keeping a self-gratitude journal. This little journal is all about you!
On the first page, I want you to write in big, bold letters “NO NEGATIVE COMMENTS ALLOWED”.
Every single day, jot down things that YOU did that day that made you happy or made you feel proud of yourself. Also include any accomplishments that you achieved, no matter how big or small…they all count!
This is your feel good journal and it’s for your eyes only. This isn’t to dump all of your emotional baggage out onto the pages…do that in your regular journal or your best friend/therapist.
This is for GOOD thoughts and self praise ONLY. I would also suggest including any positive quotes that empower or inspire you since the point of this book is to help you see yourself in a whole new light (check out my Pinterest board for some awesome Self-Love quotes to get you inspired!)!
The reason for keeping this journal is two fold…the simple act of writing down your accomplishments, skills, talents, and anything that honors your awesome-ness will get you in the habit of seeing these and acknowledging them! If you write it down enough, you will start believing it. Also, if you are having a bad day or a bout of low self-esteem (it happens to all of us), you can whip out your self-gratitude journal and boost yourself right on out of your funk!
Tip #4 | Don’t allow yourself to be around negative people
This one is a tough one, but if you surround yourself with negative people, then guess what…they’re going to rub off on you! You don’t have to dump your friends (or family!), just try to limit your interactions with them.
However, if someone is routinely putting you down or saying negative things about you to you, in that case, I do recommend trying to cut them out of your life (obviously, this is a huge step and depending on who this person is, I realize it might not be quite that simple, but do what you can!).
If you are constantly hearing others put themselves, or others down, or have people routinely putting you down, then you’ll never be able to stop that line of thinking within yourself!
Strive to surround yourself with positive thinkers. It really does make a difference!!
Tip #5 | Compliment others
You may be wondering why I’ve added this one to the list when we’re talking about banishing negative self-talk! Well, there’s a method to my madness (or at least, that’s what I like to tell myself, bwahahahaha!).
The benefits of this one are two-fold. First, let’s say you notice a co-workers awesome shoes. You could notice them and not say a peep. OR, you could look at her, smile and say, ‘wow, those are awesome shoes!’. You know what will happen when you do this? Unless she’s a total you-know-what, she’ll likely bust into a big smile and thank you (or possibly tell you a long winded story of how she acquired said shoes).
What you probably won’t realize is you just boosted her day and possibly made her day. If she’s working on any self-esteem issues, you just helped her out and made her feel better.
Complimenting others also has a positive effect on you! So, you walk away feeling good for making someone else feel good, which in turn will boost your mood and make you feel like a rock star (and you can add this to your self-gratitude journal!).
I’m also a big believer in karma…if you dish out the good stuff, it will come back to you two-fold.
Tip #6: | Take care of yourself
If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not likely to have a positive opinion of yourself. Are you working out regularly? No? Then get on that. Eating healthy? No? Start making some changes.
The point here is not to go on some crazy diet, it’s to lead a healthy life. Working out not only boost your endorphins, but how can you not feel like badass when you’re squatting 50lbs (or 100lbs or whatever is awesome for you!)?
I know when I’m in a workout rut and can’t get to the gym for an extended period of time, I feel crappy about myself. Once I’m back on the horse and working out, I instantly feel like I’m thinner and that I look better even though I haven’t lost a single pound!
It’s all in the mind…so take care of your body to take care of your mind!!
At the end of the day, negative self-talk is destructive and it holds you back. Having a positive self-image and self-esteem will open up so many more doors for you and will allow you to not only enjoy your life, but to get the most out of your life!! And you know what? YOU are worth it!!!
So, if you are guilty of a tad too much negative self-talk, it's time to squash it and set yourself free!
Your turn! Do you find yourself falling into the negative self-talk trap? What are your tips for fighting back against it?