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Last Updated on August 7, 2019

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

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

Everyone I 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, how come we can not accomplish them?

I think the reason why many of us can’t cannot accomplish them is because we have a critical inner voice inside our head that tends to be negative and convincing. We have a negative self-talk.

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 is harmful and it inhibits us from pursuing the life that we deserve. It leads to anxiety and depression.

If we want to reach our potential, 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

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are f4 types of negative self-talk:[1]

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

Filtering

You magnify the negative aspect of every situation. For example, you gained 3 pounds this week. You focus on this, and you ignore that you have lost 20 Lbs this month.

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.

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Polarizing

You either see things as perfect or horrible. For example, you get mad at your son, and you 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 can become beliefs. A Belief is something that you are certain about, and you have no doubt that it is true. 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. So let me share with you three methods that I use in daily basis to overcome this innate habit.

1. Respond to Your Inner Voice, Don’t Ignore It

“Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take its place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it.” Beverly Engel

Erica Ariel Fox wrote a brilliant article in Harvard Business Review about negative self-talk.[2] She stated that the toughest conversations any of us can have are the ones that we have with ourselves.

She mentions a story about Dominique, a high performer 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 they should listen to you?” “I’m a fraud”, “I can not do this.”

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Erica Fox realized that Dominique inner voice will impact her performance if she does not learn how to turn it to positive self-talk.

It is clearly 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 advice,

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

Erica Fox found out that most executives do not shy away from having hard conversations with anyone, 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, “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, respond to it kindly. Practice positive self-talk every day. Do not allow negative self-talk from robbing you from your potential, and to leave you feeling powerless.

2. Be Kind to Yourself

“The way you choose to think and speak about yourself (to yourself and others), IS A CHOICE! You may have spent your whole life talking about yourself in a negative way, but that doesn’t mean you have to continue that path.” Miya Yamanouchi

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 for 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.

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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 canceled a dinner plan, do not assume that no one wants to be around you. Do not personalize everything. 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.

Be kind to yourself, and stop personalizing everything.

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 and stay positive.

3. Stop Trying to Be Perfect

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” Leo Tolstoy

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.

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 these negative self-talk, stop trying to be perfect.

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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, when you catch yourself with negative thoughts, think of all the things you are grateful for family, friends, home, car, health, everything.

If you want some inspirations 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.

You’ve got this!

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.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Mentally strong people have healthy habits. They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life.

Take a look at these 13 things that mentally strong people don’t do so that you too can become mentally stronger.

1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves

Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.

2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power

They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.

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3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control

You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.

6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks

They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.

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7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past

Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it.

However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.

8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over

Mentally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.

9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success

Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.

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10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure

Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.

11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time

Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive.

They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.

12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything

Mentally strong people don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.

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13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.

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Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

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