Every waking hour of every day, we’re having a conversation with ourselves. This is truly powerful stuff, beautiful someone. The way we talk to ourselves affects how we think and what we believe is possible. It affects how we react to opportunities and new ideas. Self-talk influences every single one of our thoughts, beliefs, and actions.
With this kind of power, it would be great if our self-talk was always positive and supportive. But it’s not. We may say them out loud about ourselves or just repeat them in our own heads, but certain words — I call them forbidden words — do nothing but hurt us, they make us feel hopeless and helpless.
Here are some of the words I’m talking about:
So we say things like:
- “I’m such a loser!”
- “I tried to change the oil in my car by myself. What an epic failure!”
- “I can’t believe I did that. I am so stupid!”
- “You know, I’m just really stuck in this relationship — I can’t get out of it.”
We should also be on the lookout for words like “every,” “always,” “never.” Negative self-talk with words like these baked in is just too big to be true:
- “He/she/they always do this to me.”
- “I never get things right.”
- “It’s always the same story with me…”
- “I am the worst at managing my money!”
- “I’m never going to…”
- “I always mess up my schedule. Every time I try to make plans, they fail.”
- “I’ll never lose weight.”
- “Exercise is absolutely not for me.”
- “There’s no way I will ever be able talk in front of a group.”
Really? Are you truly the worst at managing your money—worst in the world? Do things fall through every time you try to make plans—every time, no exceptions? This stuff isn’t true or accurate, but worst of all it just amps up bad feelings and takes a sledgehammer to your beautiful heart and your amazing dreams.
Relationship strategist Lisa M Hayes says, “Be careful how you talk to yourself because you are listening.”
Your best friend
Make your own list of forbidden words or use mine, and promise, promise, promise that they are off limits. If hear yourself saying them, STOP. Talk a walk, get a coffee, call your Mom.
Practice making self-talk your best friend, a cool, loving person who’s always there for you, always on your side, your greatest fan. This friend tells you things like, “Don’t second-guess yourself…you are so smart…remember that time you…” AND “You’re just as tough as he is…you’re stronger than this situation…you’re so much better than this” AND “You can learn something here…there are some serious upsides to this” AND “Forget what happened…what matters most is what you do next.”
A final thought from Brené Brown, Professor, Author, and Storyteller: “Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”
Because you are.