Negativity is one of the worst things for our mental health. Negative self-talk is one of the most dangerous. Why? Because people who tend to talk negatively about or to themselves think that they are just being realistic. And it can be very difficult to convince them otherwise. Until they experience an ‘aha-moment’, negative self-talk will continue to limit their self-esteem to the point where it can get dangerous.
In this post, I want to show you how to end negative self-talk while staying realistic. And why you should do it NOW.
I remember one time when I went out with my friends, I told one of them that she looks great, which I honestly meant. She smiled and told me “Thanks, but you can lie to someone else”. That happened over 15 years ago and I still remember it. Not only does she think negatively of herself, she doesn’t allow others to say something positive. Because she’s being ‘realistic’ and others are just lying to her. Apparently.
Negative self-talk is not realistic
If you think that being judgmental of yourself makes you realistic, it’s simply not true. You just chose to focus on the things you don’t like about yourself and ignore and take for granted the things you do. Now, I’m not saying you should act like everything is perfect and disregard the things you’re not satisfied with. That would actually be unrealistic. We all have to work on ourselves all the time. Keep trying to improve our lives and to become a better version of ourselves. I wrote about this in my post How to know if a guy likes you where I asked you to tell me (or yourself) one positive thing about the person you’re not a big fan of. I’m 100% certain that you would find even more than just one. Because there isn’t a person in this world who doesn’t have something special in her.
When you believe in something, you always look for the signs to prove you’re right. It doesn’t matter if it’s about something positive or negative, if you believe it, you will see it.
Ending negative self-talk, as many other things in life, takes time. You have to make an effort and work on it. It’s like you want to lose weight or shape your body. You can’t just imagine it and say it’s not working. This is something you have to commit to and have it on your mind all the time. Eventually, it will become a part of your personality. This is not a post on 4 ways to end negative self-talk. This is one way which includes all of these steps. So, let’s begin:
If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all
How we talk to ourselves becomes our inner voice. Negative self-talk can bring nothing good. You need to tell yourself beautiful things. So instead of saying I don’t like my hair, say I need to freshen up my hair – don’t focus on the fact that you’re not happy with how your hair looks, focus on how good you will feel when you get that haircut. Instead of saying I’m tired, say I can’t wait to go to bed – imagine how good you will feel when you’re at home in your bed. If you’re not happy with how you look in those jeans, don’t say: I look fat in them, say: I look better in something else. You choose the thoughts that will lead you by telling yourself nice things. This way you’re not ignoring the things that bother you or you’re not satisfied with but you’re focusing on getting them out of your way and on how good it will make you feel once they’re gone. And I will tell you a little secret: sometimes they don’t go away, but they stop bothering you and you even begin to like them. Yes, that is the power of positive self-talk.
Improve your vocabulary
In addition to the previous step, this one is not just focused on negative self-talk but on changing your vocabulary, even when talking to other people, to positive. You need to completely lose the phrases like ‘I hate’, ‘That’s ugly’, ‘This is disgusting’… and change them for ‘I don’t like’, ‘That’s less beautiful than…’, ‘That’s not very nice’… Saying those negative words out loud cannot in any way bring anything positive into your inner self. By constantly using words like “I hate” as a part of your everyday vocabulary, you’re letting that feeling of hate go through your body all the time. And then it reflects on you, it becomes your inner voice and you start to use those words when thinking about yourself. It’s a chain reaction and you’re not even noticing it.
Treat yourself like you would treat a guest
Most people, when they have guests coming, bring out their nicest things. Fine china, special plates that are only used for these occasions, same goes for the tablecloths, beautiful sheets if the guests are staying overnight and the list goes on. And why is it like that? So that our guests would feel good and welcomed, right? I guess it’s not a problem to put an effort in making someone else feel good. But when it comes to ourselves, we pretend like we don’t care, like it’s not important to us.
I often hear sentences like “Oh, come on(rolling eyes), I’m at home, I don’t care how I look, or how my coffee mug looks. I just want to drink coffee and that’s it”. On the other hand, when I see that same person looking all nice and I compliment her, I get an answer that goes something like “Oh(smiling face), I was in the mood to dress up”. The rolling eyes and the smiling face says it all. I guess a little self-care paid off. I care how I feel, too. Even when I’m alone, I use my fine china every day. I don’t have plates or sheets I save for guests. Ikea is full of beautiful and affordable products for our home. I actually like to change those things every couple of years, so I never pay for them too much.
Treating yourself like you would treat a guest reminds you of those special things you enjoy. As time goes, it changes your point of view and makes you see the best of a given situation – like enjoying your morning ritual of drinking coffee(even if it’s just for 10 minutes) out of a beautiful mug that you bought yourself just to make your busy mornings less stressful. And slowly, without even noticing, it results in ending negative self-talk because you stop thinking about the negatives and focus on the things you enjoy.
Show your best
To round-up this list of actions that will help you end negative self-talk, let’s focus on the way you present yourself when you’re out. The quote by Rupi Kaur “How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you” pretty much sums it all up. How you talk to yourself is how you’re letting other people talk to you. Don’t walk around telling people how you’ve heard someone told something bad about you. If you are talking about what other people are saying about you, talk about the ones who said nice things. They deserve more to be spoken about. Show respect for other people – it makes you look confident. Be kind – it makes other people want to be in your company. I wrote about how important these things are in my post Little thing we do are big to other people. But the best of all you can show is a smile on your face. It just makes everyone, including you, feel good.
If your child or a friend would talk negatively about her/himself, the first thing you would do is point out their positive sides. That is exactly what you should do when you start with the negative self-talk.
I would love to read your thoughts on this topic in my comments below.
For more self-care inspiration, you can read my posts How to Live Better by Changing Your Point of View or Be Satisfied With Your Life…Accept it the Way it is or Change it