It’s been a while but AlhamduliLahi I’m here now 🙂
Because Mental Health Matters, here’s an article on dealing with negative self talk.
P. S – Although I’m the writer, this article was first published on SheWritesWoman , the first women-only mental health support group in Nigeria.
Go visit their site and follow them on Instagram to learn more about Mental Health and also to speak out, because you are not alone!
Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. It is often skewed towards negativity, and sometimes it is just plain wrong. Negative self-talk can lower your self-esteem, self-confidence, happiness, and keep you from accomplishing your goals.
It is one of the most common issues a person struggles in search of solutions; which could be to get rid of it, reduce it, or be fully in control of it. If you are one of those people who constantly looks for ways to effectively get rid of negative self-talk, take note of the following tips:
- Accept Your Imperfections
You are not perfect. No one is! You will make mistakes and have faults but this is normal. This is what makes you whom you are. You may know or come across a few people who seem ‘perfect’, but this is what they want you to see.
- Know That “It’s Not All in Your Head”
Self-talk is not just mindless chatter. It has a way of creating its own reality. Telling yourself you can do something can make it happen. Telling yourself you cannot do something can make that come true as well. Your self-talks form your mindsets. If you keep telling yourself, “I’m not smart”, soon enough you will feel and think like one who is not.
- Put Things into A Wider Perspective
When your inner voice starts filling your head with negative thoughts, sit down, take a deep breath and relax. Then, listen to what your inner voice is telling you from a wider perspective. For example, there is a difference between two students who failed a class test where the first thinks, “I’m a failure”, and the second thinks, “It’s just one test. I wasn’t at my best. I’ll work harder next time”.
- Don’t Say to Yourself What You Won’t Say to Other People
What you cannot say out loud to other people, banish it from your own thoughts. When your friend spills something on her shirt, you do not tell her, “You are such a stupid slob, how can you spill that?”. Instead, you would probably have a few laughs and move on. You are your own friend so use proper manners and courtesy when talking to yourself.
- Take A Break from Social Media
We often judge our self-worth by what we see in other people on social media. If that voice in your head is getting loud, take a break from social media, reflect and evaluate your life from your own perspective.
- Watch Who You Spend Time With
Remember the old saying, “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are”? The kind of people we associate with tell us a lot about ourselves. Surround yourself with people who think positively, make you happy, and make you feel good about yourself. As much as possible, avoid people who constantly bring you down and make you think bad about yourself.
- Learn to Separate Fact from Fiction
The hard part about negative self-talk is that it always feels true. Even though your thoughts might often be biased or incorrect, you tend to assume that they are facts. Quite often, negative thoughts have to do with prejudices against yourself. It does not reflect the reality of the situation. You should learn to separate what you know to be true and what is false. If you are thinking, “I’m so careless, I’m always forgetting my keys”, analyze that thought. Do you always forget your keys or that happens occasionally? By doing this, you are making clear to yourself where your real problems lie.
- Act the Way You Want to Feel
If you want to be happy, act like it. Before you know it, it will become your reality. It is hard to pretend to be happy when you just want to curl up in bed and forget about the world, but it is worth trying if you want to feel better.
- Build Your Self-Confidence
Boosting your self-confidence tends to increase your belief in your skills and abilities. So how do you build your self-confidence? You can do so by doing more and trying new things. The more you do, the more competent you become, and thus the more confident you will be. Ultimately, the more confident you are, the lower the negative inner voice becomes.
- Talk to Someone You Trust
Whenever the negative thoughts surface, talk to someone about them. Sometimes, love, care and affection can make you feel good about yourself and make the negative thoughts go away.
If you are used to having negative self-talks, do not expect to be an optimist overnight. With practice, your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and instill more self-confidence. You can learn to be more conscious of your negative self-talk as it happens and choose to think about the situation in a more realistic and helpful way.