Overcoming Negative Self-Talk
Written by: Veronica
Being a self-critic isn’t a problem. Of course you want to improve and be better than who your were yesterday. It is a problem when you become your own worst critic. Being your own worst critic cripples your self-esteem and prevents you from being happy with yourself and everything that you do. Most of the time your negative self-talk can hold you back from accomplishing tasks or goals. It’s difficult to better yourself when you’re constantly comparing yourself to others, beating yourself up over mistakes, and constantly picking at everything you do. These habits are habits you need to get rid of.
Over time, putting yourself down becomes normal. That negative voice is constantly there making sure to remind you. Trust me, I knew that voice all too well and it still continues to pop up. It felt as if those thoughts were digging a grave for my self-esteem and it just kept getting deeper. I soon realized how unhealthy this behavior was and immediately wanted to know how to fix it. Here are a few things that I’ve been doing to overcome negative self-talk.
1. Practicing Mindfulness
Mindfulness is simply paying attention to your thoughts without judgement and this can feel awkward at first. Before I started practicing mindfulness I would try to suppress the thoughts and in the end it did more damage than good. It’s like having to confront a person after a huge argument; you don’t want to do it, but you know it will help solve the issue. So how do you confront a problem when the problem is your own negative thoughts? This is where mindfulness comes in. Next time you experience a negative thought ask yourself, “would I say this to myself as a kid”? You wouldn’t go to a child and call them “stupid” or “ugly” because you know it would damage their self-esteem. The same way you would be cautious of critiquing a child is the same way you should be when critiquing yourself. Being a aware of your self-talk gives you the chance to stop it immediately when it occurs. It allows you to toss out the negativity and bring in positivity.
2. Writing Down Affirmations
Whenever you get those “I’m not good enough”, “I’m so stupid”, “who do I think I am?” thoughts take a second to process what you are saying to yourself. Take a minute out of your day to write down an affirmation in a journal. Even if you are not fully convinced about what you are writing, write it down. Every morning when I wake up I pick up my journal and pen and write a daily affirmation; something short and simple to start my day. Affirmations are for you to declare who you are and get rid of the negativity. Every once in a while I will go back and read some of my affirmations. They became a part of my morning routine and it’s a good way to start off the day.
3. Taking It Day-By-Day
Your thoughts don’t define who you are as a person. Sometimes negative self-talk can come from negative things people have said to you. You begin to think that maybe what that person said is true and you begin to believe it. Overcoming negative self-talk isn’t something that you practice once and everything is fine. Take it day-by day. Next time you get frustrated with yourself make sure you pay attention to what you are saying to yourself. The thoughts you have internally can reflect on the outside. Just like most things, it’s a process and during this process you will see yourself grow as person.
It’s not easy dealing with negative thoughts. They still pop up, but I know that it’s better to address them and not let them consume me. Remember to always be patient and kind with yourself.