Posted by: Jo Banks
How do you talk to yourself? Is it positive or negative...
Have you ever actually listened to how you talk to yourself? Some people don’t even realise they do talk to themselves, their internal voice is such a part of them that they don’t even question it or know that they even have it, let alone have control over it. However, every action, every single thing we do or say in a day starts with a thought and that thought, whether we realise it or not comes to us in words and/or pictures, followed closely by feelings.
If you stopped for a minute and actually listened to your internal voice right now, what is it saying to you? Most importantly, HOW is it talking to you? Is it kind and loving, or nasty and cruel, is it sympathetic or angry, is it positive or negative? Also notice where the voice is coming from ... is it in front of you or behind you, to the left or to the right, or does it change based on what you're saying to yourself?
Here’s another question, would you let someone else talk to you the way you’re letting your inner voice talk to you?
When I do this exercise with clients, so many of them are shocked at how nasty and negative their internal voice is. For example, I was coaching female client a couple of weeks ago who said that her voice was unbelievably nasty and critical. When I asked her to explain the type of things she said to herself, this is some of what she came up with:
“Stupid cow … why did you do that? You’re useless”
“Oh you’re so fat and ugly, no wonder everyone thinks you're so rubbish”
“Look at the state of you”
“Oh my God, can you do nothing right?”
Until I’d pointed it out, she hadn’t realised how horrible she was being to herself and when I asked her if she'd allow others to talk to her that way her reply was, “Are you kidding? No way!”
We have a choice in how we speak to ourselves, yet so often we stumble blindly through our day wondering why we feel stressed and upset at the end of it, totally oblivious to the fact that we have a choice in how we think, positive or negative and how we talk to ourselves, positive or negative.
Now that I’ve pointed this out to you, if you are one of those people who speak negatively to themselves you will be much more aware and notice that you’re doing so and STOP IT! Here's an easy exercise to do if you're prone to negative self talk.
Changing Negative Self Talk Exercise
When you hear that negative, critical voice, simply change the tone of the voice to that of Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck - my particular favourite is a whiney 13 year old - and you'll quickly notice that the voice loses it's power almost instantly. You just won't be able to take that voice seriously.
Another great way to stop it is the moment you realise you're doing it tell yourself (out loud if possible) "STOP IT!"
Positive and negative thoughts cannot co-exist and neither can negative self talk and positive. It’s impossible. It may take a little practice at first, but you’ll soon get the hang of it. It may even feel a little strange saying nice things to yourself at first, but by regularly noticing your inner voice and correcting it when it’s negative, you’ll soon (without much effort) notice a much more positive you. In fact, the more you practice it, the more the positive thoughts will become the predominant ones and you’ll recognise those negative thoughts instantly and change them quickly.
People are under the misapprehension that it’s difficult to change the habits of a lifetime, but it really isn’t. That’s just something we tell ourselves in order to feel better about keeping those old unhelpful habits. It just takes a little practice and can make a massive difference in your becoming a happier, healthier you. For those of you who are already positive and talk to yourselves in a positive and nurturing way, that's brilliant ... pass it on!
If you'd like help in changing any negative self talk or thought patterns, contact us for a free no obligation consultation about how we can help.
Visit the website for Jo Banks' first book, Thoughts Become Things now available in paperback and Kindle formats.