By Nabila Nali
By Nabila Nali
Morocco world News
Tangier, Morocco, November 15, 2011
How many times have you caught yourself talking to yourself? You’re not going mad, it’s your own “running commentary” on your life. Often this self-talk happens so automatically that you are barely aware of it. However, what you say to yourself can have a big effect on the way that you feel, and on what you can achieve. Your self talk can be like an internal coach, encouraging you, boosting your confidence, believing in you, and motivating you to achieve your goals, or it can be like an internal bully, undermining you, criticizing you and beating up on you when you’re down.
What is Positive Self-Talk?
Positive self-talk is any time in which you as an individual think or talk to yourself in a beneficial manner. So, talking to yourself, you might be wondering is this, a lesson for crazy people? No, not at all, this is a lesson for all us normal people out there. Constantly you are thinking and frequently you talk to yourself. Positive self-talk is any thought you think of, or any speech you say to yourself that provides a mechanism for improvement or upliftment. Anything you do which detracts from these two things is not positive self talk. Sadly, I must make mention of the type of self-talk that is not positive so that a realization can be made of harmful things thought and said.
What is Negative Self-Talk?
Negative self-talk has a selective memory and only reminds you of your weaknesses and flaws, while leaving aside your strengths and successes. It calls you all sorts of names… “What an idiot”… “You’re so stupid,” “you will never learn won’t you.” It tells you what you can’t do… “Don’t even go there, you’re not good enough” and stops you from trying new things, challenging yourself and growing. Among others (friends, social groups…), the critic tells you, “you are boring” or “you are embarrassing yourself” by bringing back flashbacks of a date, social event or public speech that did not turnout so well.
This negative self-talk will keep damaging your self-esteem and self-worth; and you will believe every single word of it because it has become a part of you.
Okay…knowing that, now what? Simply change the things you say to yourself into something that you’d like to believe that would make you feel better. Ideally you should talk encouragingly to yourself, after all if you do not encourage yourself, who will? The world is full of negative people or those who try to put you down, so to be strong you need a defense.
Gently replace the negative self-talk
I suggest ‘gently’ because there’s no point in adding to the inner stress and discomfort by further criticizing yourself, “I must not say this, etc.” That would be adding fuel to the fire.
Each time you recognize that you are reverting to self-criticism or undermining yourself, pause. Tell yourself that it’s just that old habit you’ve gotten into, and that from now on you’re changing this habit.
Use a very soft and patient inner tone of voice for this
Your inner voice should sound as if you are calming an upset 2-year old! Reassure yourself. Calm yourself. Remind yourself of the rationales and facts of the situation. Remind yourself of the value of handling things in a cool, calm, and confident manner.
Doing this once or twice won’t make a lot of difference. It takes quite a while to replace habits of a lifetime – but it’s definitely worth doing so.
What you say and think to yourself is where your life will go. Every one of us are pilots, charting the course of life that we will each take. This is very real. The course we take is dependent on our view of ourselves and the way we think and talk to ourselves. Sure, there may be good and bad weather at times, but the course remains what is made of it.
Nabila Nali is contributor to Morocco World News.