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Why Negative Self Talk Is Bad for You (And How to End It in 3 Steps)

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Why Negative Self Talk Is Bad for You (And How to End It in 3 Steps)

Everyone I have met in my life wants unlimited opportunities, better relationships, a healthy body, a forgiving heart, a sharp mind, amazing skills, and financial security. If we all want these things, why can’t we accomplish them? The answer is simple: negative self talk.

The reason why many of us can’t get there is because we have a critical inner voice inside our head that tends to be negative and convincing.

Our inner voice is trying to convince us that we are not smart enough, strong enough, or good enough to do what we want to do in life. This invisible enemy inhibits us from pursuing the life we deserve, leading to anxiety, depression, and a higher stress level.

If we want to reach our potential and improve our mental health, we have to take control of this inner voice and learn how to tame it and transform it into a positive force.

It is important for us to learn more about this negative self talk before we can tame it to become a helpful positive force. Let’s start with the 4 different types of negative self-talk.

Types of Negative Self Talk

Studies show that there are four main types of negative self talk[1]:

  1. Filtering
  2. Personalizing
  3. Catastrophizing
  4. Polarizing

Let’s go through these one-by-one.

Filtering

You magnify the negative aspect of every situation. For example, you gained three pounds this week. You focus on this, and you ignore that you have lost 20 pounds this month.

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Personalizing

You always blame yourself for everything. For example, you hear that your soccer practice got canceled, and you assume that it is canceled because no one wanted to be around you.

Catastrophizing

You always expect the worst. For example, you have a flat tire in the morning, and you automatically assume the rest of your day will be horrible.

Polarizing

You either see things as perfect or horrible. For example, you got mad at your son and lost your temper; therefore, you are a horrible parent.

Next time you catch yourself talking negatively to yourself, ask yourself:

  • Am I filtering the positive out of this issue?
  • Am I blaming myself for something that I have no control over?
  • Am I expecting the worst of this?
  • Am I seeing things as black and white?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, take a step back and consider what you can do to turn your thinking from negative to positive.

It is important to take control of these thoughts before they become beliefs. A belief is something that you are certain about. The sooner you address these negative thoughts, the sooner you can move your life and business forward.

3 Steps to End Negative Self Talk

It is clear that negative self talk hinders your progress and prevents you from living the life that you deserve. Here are three methods you can use daily to overcome this innate habit.

1. Respond to Your Inner Voice

In a recent HBR article, Erica Ariel Fox stated that the toughest conversations any of us can have are the ones that we have with ourselves[2].

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She mentions a story about Dominique, a high performing executive who has great self-confidence but a critical inner voice. Dominique commands everyone’s attention and respect, but not her own.

Dominique has a serious problem when she talks to her captivated audience. She has an inner voice in her head saying, “Why should they listen to you?” I’m a fraud. I can’t do this.”

Dominique’s inner voice will impact her performance if she does not learn how to turn it to positive self talk.

It is clear that Dominique is filtering out all of her positive abilities and polarizing the situation. She has a lot of good things to offer, and she is not a fraud. So, the author gives her one enormous piece of advice:

“Do not ignore your inner voice, respond to it.”

Many executives do not shy away from having hard conversations with others, but they avoid having difficult conversations with themselves.

She advises people not to ignore their negative self-talk, but to respond to it. If your inner voice says, “That was terrible parenting,” you can respond with, “I’m not a perfect parent, and I’m okay with it.” This will make you feel awkward at first, but it gets easier with time.

Instead of ignoring your negative self talk, try learning to identify and respond to it kindly. Practice positive self-talk every day. Do not allow negative self-talk to rob you of your potential.

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2. Be Kind to Yourself

Do not say anything to yourself that you would not say to your best friend. We often say things to ourselves that are unkind, unfounded, and untrue.

When you are passed over for a promotion, be kind to yourself. When you forget to drop your clothes at the dry cleaner, be kind to yourself. We all make mistakes, we are all imperfect, we all have bad days, but it does not make us bad people.

When Jon Gordon[3] was 29 years old, he was facing a divorce. His wife was tired of his negativity. He made a decision to change. He developed a positive mindset, and he started to drown out negative thoughts with positive words.

This approach saved his marriage and changed his life. He encourages his readers to be kind to themselves and to be positive. Gordon understands that being positive won’t guarantee that you will succeed, but he knows that being negative will guarantee your failure and destroy your relationships.

If your friends cancel a dinner plan, don’t assume that no one wants to be around you. Stop personalizing events, and start framing it correctly. Your friends canceled your planned dinner because they are busy, and it has nothing to do with you.

Always choose to be kind to yourself. If you are having a hard time being kind to yourself, surround yourself with positive, kind people who are willing to support you and provide you with immediate kind feedback when you start having negative thoughts. Extensive research shows that positive people surround themselves with positive friends that help inspire them to be positive.

3. Stop Trying to Be Perfect

If your goal is to be perfect, you will fail. Do not expect perfection.

No one is perfect. Embrace imperfection. The key to a positive mindset is progress and not perfection. If you expect perfection, you will be allowing your negative self-talk to seep back into your mind.

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As a perfectionist, you will strive to keep everyone happy, and that is an unrealistic goal. Every time you have an argument with someone, you will keep replaying the conversations in your head over and over. These conversations will be negative in nature. If you want to stop this negative self talk, stop trying to be perfect.

Most perfectionists keep comparing themselves to other people. This habit is an official invitation to your negative self talk to reenter your mind again. Do not compare yourself to anyone. You will always find others who are better off than you.

Instead, focus on being grateful for the great things that you have.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery expressed this in his bestselling book Airman’s Odyssey:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Be content of what you have, and stop worrying about comparing yourself to others. Always be grateful, and when you catch yourself with negative thoughts, think of all the things you are grateful for.

If you want some inspiration about what to be grateful for every day, here they are: 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

The Bottom Line

Next time you catch yourself being negative, do not ignore your inner voice. Respond to it kindly, and give up the need to be perfect.

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You’ve got this!

More Tips for Living a Positive Life

Featured photo credit: Christopher Campbell via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Luay Rahil

Luay Rahil is a speaker, and the Founder of Lead with Integrity.

How to Find Happiness in Your Everyday Life Why Are You Stuck? 5 Questions to Shift Your Mindset And Get Unstuck Why Negative Self Talk Is Bad for You (And How to End It in 3 Steps)

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Last Updated on December 6, 2021

Feeling Lost? 40 Quotes to Help You Find Meaning in Life

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Feeling Lost? 40 Quotes to Help You Find Meaning in Life

Sometimes, we carry with us ancient wisdom that has been whispered through generations where we find strength for what we need. Other times, we sense our happiness and sanity have been swept away, and we float rudderless in our space. We wonder if we’re heading in the right direction and feel doom rather than the transformation. In these moments, we may need some feeling lost quotes to help us find inspiration again.

During the times when we feel lost, it’s too easy to forget the comfort of good times and wade through the fluff that separates us from the pack.

I often work in leadership and have to test my limits and inspire those I’m leading. One of the quotes I keep in mind by T.S. Elliot is:

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

Knowing how you will perform in a crisis, personally or professionally, can help you get through tough times. The people who tend to work best in a crisis or stay calm in stressful times are those who are honest and forthright.

We often try to find sense in our lives with logic, reducing perceived risks by increasing control. The problem with control is you can hold on too tight, narrowing your options and missing the big picture.

Trying to squeeze action out of undefined goals only increases the pressure. Being happy comes from a sense of self and freedom, not a narrow list you’ve locked yourself into.

Sometimes, we need to observe our life in new ways and examine it with wisdom we doubt we have. Those big successes are done with small incremental actions done every day. Who will you choose to be in times of doubt?

Whether you bookmark this page for future inspiration or show off powerful, inspiring quotes on your T-shirt, coffee mug, key chain, and screen saver, these 40 feelings lost quotes will help remind you of your true essence.

We can reconnect with our priorities and take inspiration from both the ancients and modern visionaries with some of my favorite words below that inspire simplicity and truth.

Feeling Lost Quotes

1. “If you are working on something you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you” –Steve Jobs

2. “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” –Gordon Eadie

3. “One of the truest tests of integrity is a blunt refusal to be compromised.” –Chinua Achebe

4. “The fears we don’t face become our limits.” –Amy Elizabeth

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5. “Be who you needed when you were younger.” –Anonymous

6. “We generate fears when we sit. We overcome them by action.” –Dr. Henry Link

7. “The intangible represents the real power of the universe. It is the seed of the tangible.” –Bruce Lee

8. “Storms make trees take deeper roots.” –Dolly Parton

9. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” –Henry Ford

10. “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” –Vincent Van Gogh

11. “Stop acting so small, you are the universe in ecstatic motion.” –Rumi

12. “A tree that is unbending is usually broken.” –Loa Tzu

13. “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” –Plutarch

14. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” –Plato

15. “Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” –Chinese proverb

16. “To get lost is to learn the way.” –African Proverb

17. “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” –Zig Ziglar

18. “Do you know who you are? Don’t ask. Act. Action will delineate and define you.” –Thomas Jefferson

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19. “Give thanks for what you are today and go on fighting for what part of you will be gone tomorrow.” –William Shakespeare

20. “Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

21. “One day you will ask me which is more important, my life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life.” –Kahlil Gibran

22. “You were born to be real, not to be perfect.” –Anonymous

23. “After climbing a great hill, one only finds there are many more hills to climb.” –Nelson Mandela

24. “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.” –Maya Angelou

25. “I wash my hands of those who imagine chattering to be knowledge, silence to be ignorance and affection to be art.” –Kahlil Gibran

26. “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” –Japenese Proverb

27. “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

28. “Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out.” — Katherine Dunham

29. “One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day. Similarly, one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.” — Aristotle

30. “There are two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

31. “You got to go down a lot of wrong roads to find the right one.” — Bob Parson

32. “Anger, resentment, and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others. It only changes yours.” — Shannon L. Alder

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33. “To be lost is as legitimate a part of your process as being found.” — Alex Ebert

34. “Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.” — Henry Rollins

35. “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” — Elbert Hubbard

36. “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” — Vivian Greene

37. “Nothing is more beautiful than the smile that has struggled through the tears.” — Demi Lovato

38. “Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.” — Shunryu Suzuki

39. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” — Robert H. Schuller

40. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” — C.S. Lewis

Sometimes It’s Ok to Feel Lost

After looking at these feeling lost quotes, it is easy for someone to be confused. But these inspirational quotes will guide you to hear a voice every time when the risk is high, and you have nowhere to run. It is always easy to choose the shortcut and ignore the voice of the subconscious to do the right thing!

No matter how dire the circumstances might be, you need to make efforts and find ways to uplift your morale. Not making an effort is more painful than the risk of immersing your thoughts in negativity.

When you are feeling lost, it is natural to be confused about the next step. However, you have to determine when the risk of staying in a sad state for a longer period is causing more harm than good.

And don’t you worry, it’s okay sometimes to feel lost and not know where you are heading in your life. We go through various phases in life, and none of them stay permanent. Remember that “Life is a work-in-progress” and this too shall pass. Keeping hope is very important if you want to sail through the tides of life.

Don’t Be too Hard on Yourself

Everyone is fighting their fight in their ways, but none can say – “I know it all.” Life is a constant struggle, and everyone has to push through personally to overcome obstacles.

Whether it is your professional life that’s making you feel lost or your personal life brought about this state of mind, remember that you alone can find the solution. Happiness is a state of mind, and you alone can control the emotions that can bring a change in your attitude when you are feeling lost.

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No one can tell you what your purpose is in the world, and only you have to decide that on your own. The universe has given us life and one that teaches us various things through unique experiences. Some might be good, and some might be bad.

So, don’t beat yourself up or be hard on yourself even if you have not yet figured it out. It’s okay! You don’t owe anyone an explanation about why it is taking so long or why haven’t you been able to figure it out yet. Go at your own pace, and you shall reach where you intend to. Nothing is permanent, and you will find your way out. It’s just a matter of time.

Rather than complaining and belittling yourself, you can try brainstorming ideas to help you move on. Procrastinating and beating yourself up will only drown the motivation and bring nothing of value but just self-pity.

Don’t forget if you set your heart to something, you can achieve it. Feeling lost is not a permanent state, and to uplift your emotions, you need to have faith.

Final Thoughts

Many of these feeling lost quotes have a common core. That is, to take a step back and view yourself in a new way.

Take action and make inspiration a routine. To act creates learning, and that builds confidence, provides direction, and eliminates doubt.

Imagine what you want it to be so that your vibration matches your desire. We can’t snap our fingers to instantly change feeling lost, but we can increase our situational awareness with our emotions and places where our lives have or may take an abrupt turn.

We take inspiration from our daily lives in as many individually unique forms as we are different. Inspiration can strike instantly and sporadically or feel like a trickle that slowly grows into a majestic waterfall crashing through with creative energy. That trickle is what will keep you going in dark times.

When you’re in a place where you feel lost and don’t recognize yourself, allow some inner compassion for the person you are right in that moment[1].

You have the power to create your world, one step at a time, and these feeling lost quotes can help. You choose how you think. Tune in to how you feel and why.

Remember you have the power to be, have, and do anything you desire. Tough times never last, but tough people do.

See what I did there? Another quote to inspire original thought as it applies to you. It’s been said that if you want to test a man’s character, give him power and you will see his true colors. So keep your inspiration on tap for when you need a reminder of your purpose.

More to Inspire You When You’re Feeling Lost

Featured photo credit: Daniel Jensen via unsplash.com

Reference

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