How many of us are aware that we talk to ourselves more than we realize or all the time? We all do. Our self-talk makes a huge difference for better or for worse. The question to ask ourselves is whether our inner voice is our friend or adversary.
All the self-help gurus tell us to (essentially) affirm our awesome every day. To, as Napoleon Hill puts it, prime our consciousness so much that we create “autosuggestions” of awesome.
For me, I believe self-talk is so important. I myself am really working on how I say things and what I say to myself. ie: I don't say "I worked out today....but didn't do...." I am trying to stop adding the negative to the sentence. I say, "I worked out today!!". I never say I was bad today, I say things like, I made a few higher-calorie choices. I don't start over, I just continue where I left off. I mean, we can never go back and change yesterday. What we can do is move forward and make better choices. Negative self-talk has been and will always be detrimental. We all have a very bad habit of putting ourselves down.
Most people aren’t even aware of the extent to which they accuse, blame, and deny themselves. Many people live with the “tyranny of the should’s.” They order themselves around and second-guess themselves after the fact. There are those individuals who believe that they must push and punish themselves to improve or achieve anything; otherwise, they’re afraid that they’ll end up as lumps on the couch. Never mind that they’re pushing and reproaching themselves into depression by creating greater unhappiness and dissatisfaction in their lives and those of their families.
The power of self-talk can swamp us with anxiety and rumination and overpower us with shame attacks and painful emotions. It can offer comfort and encouragement or make us feel anxious and inadequate. It can provide self-discipline and organization or make us feel overwhelmed and defeated. It can ruin our lives, job opportunities, and relationships, or it can be harnessed to raise our self-esteem, achieve our goals, and uplift our outlook and enjoyment of life.
Although we’ve grown accustomed to these inner voices, they can be changed. It first requires our becoming more aware of them and developing mindfulness over our self-talk. There are a number of steps to reform these voices that include gaining an understanding of their motives and standards and learning to modify and counteract them.
Until you’re acutely aware of your inner voices, you can’t change them. Write down your negative self-talk on a daily basis. Writing down your negative self-talk, including all the “should” and “shouldn’t’s,” will make them more conscious and provide you with choices.
When you catch yourself in negative self-talk stop and switch it for positive thinking. You should also spend time each day and throughout the day repeating positive self-talk.