9 Tips To Change Your Negative Self Talk
One of the worst defeaters in life is all in your head. It’s the nagging, judgmental chatterbox telling you, “You’re stupid.” “You’re lazy.” “No one cares about you or what you have to say.” “You’re never going to amount to anything.”
Any of that sound familiar? I know I’ve heard a few of those quietly hindering me from moving forward.
It took two failures of the licensing exam before I finally decided to stop the destructive voice. I decisively took the time to examine my thoughts and make sure I would pass my final test.
I explored my history and determined where the belief originated. I discovered it was a combination of several key influencers in my childhood. The one that sticks out the most is my 9th-grade French teacher.
One afternoon at the end of class she stopped me to ask, “Do you have a learning disability?” I was horrified that she asked such a question. I was getting a “C” in her class, and I guess that wasn’t good enough for her. The underlying message that “I’m not smart enough” and, “I am not a good test taker” stood with me even into my forties.
Here are nine powerful tips to tame your inner critic sooner rather than later.
- Examine your behavior. Look at events where you aren’t getting the results you desire. Are you not taking risks or holding yourself back? Your performance is an excellent opportunity to listen to your internal monologue.
- Write down your negative chatter; i.e. “I don’t matter.” “I will never succeed.” “I’m horrible at math, relationships, blah, blah, blah.” Fill in your personal record.
Name it to tame it.
- Name your inner critic. Call it your gremlin, saboteur, or negatizer. Choose a name that resonates with you.
- Create a dialogue with your inner critic. Talk back to your gremlin with compassion. Try using a saying such as, “Oh, there’s that silly voice again.” Or, “I know you don’t want me to fail, but if I don’t try, I’ll never have the chance to succeed.” “Getting a “D” on one math exam doesn’t mean I am horrible at math. “One exam is not an overall indicator of my competency in arithmetic.” Make your dialogue personal and memorable.
- Use humor to dim the background noise. “Whazzzup little demon” “You back to break me down again?“ Well, my super powers can blow you out of here and you where you belong.” Use something silly and humorous to bring light to the subject.
- Externalize the voice. It’s not you. The message is an unkind saying passed to you. Give it back. Tell it to go away. “Shut the $@!) up.” Find your personal avenue to discard of the mind trash.
- Conjure up an image. Show compassion to your negative voice and thoughtfully put it where it belongs. Visualize a chest where you store all your damaging thoughts. Lock it behind a closed door. Create your unique visualization where it is safely stored and locked away.
- Replace the negative with a positive dialogue and back it up with past accomplishments. For example, “I am intelligent. I have passed and aced many exams in the past. There is no reason why I can’t do it again.”
- Create a step-by-step visualization of yourself succeeding and accomplishing your desired task. Make sure to go through the whole process from beginning to end. Here is an example as you prepare for a computer exam:
a. Imagine yourself walking into the test taking facility
b. Envision sitting down with both feet flat on the floor as you ground yourself and familiarize yourself in front of the computer
c. Picture yourself taking several deep breaths and give yourself positive affirmations
d. See yourself answering each question correctly and confidently until to reach the end
e. Conceive an image of you finishing knowing you did your best, you worked hard, prepared, and knew the material.
f. Lastly, leave the computer room confident that you passed.
As with any event that is new or where high expectations persist, there is pressure to succeed. You don’t have to let your negative internal dialogue hold you back. You can create positive, affirming self-talk that has your best interest in mind. Go for it. I know you can do it!
“I believe that every person is born with talent.” ~ Maya Angelou
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