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How to talk to yourself so that you’ll listen…

I talk to myself all day long.

Yes, as in say things, respond to them and then respond back again.

No this is not a mental health condition. This is something we all do as humans.

It’s as if I’m having a running conversation with myself. Relaying anecdotes. Replaying Conversations. Replaying the replays. Replaying the replays of the replays.

It’s exhausting.

The irony and beauty is that this so called ‘problem’ of self- talk can also be the ‘solution.’

Yes, you heard right. Self- talk is the solution to self-talk.

Simply put, replace the NEGATIVE self-talk with POSITIVE self-talk and bingo you are your own counsellor.

I read a powerful meme recently,

If you had $86400 and someone stole $10, would you throw away $86390 away for revenge? Or move on and live? Right, move on and live. See, you have $86400 seconds each day. Don’t let someone’s negative 10 seconds ruin the remaining $86390”.

Imagine self-talk being utilized to overcome anxiety, cope with stress, push away overwhelming feelings of depression, give you the confidence to apply for that job or nail that presentation!

I like to use self-talk in 3 ways:

1. Problem solving with self-talk

When I talk to myself I like to say “what advice would you give to someone in the same situation as you?” Or “ imagine you were a wise Rabbi, guru or sage, what would you say?”

One that I love is “if you raised your magic wand and the problem was fixed, how would it look?”

This could spring forth thoughts of what am I reaching for? What am I trying to achieve? Are the obstacles surmountable? How can I move forward?

These powerful techniques enable you to find your own solutions, as opposed to listening to someone else’s advice, which probably won’t help in any case.

Remember when you learnt to ride a bike or drive a car? In the beginning you were concentrating on every single movement. After a while you drove effortlessly without thinking about what you were doing.

The same is true with positive self- talk. After a while of consciously thinking in this way, this skill becomes habit and habit becomes your instinctive way of thinking.

You may even find after a while the negative thoughts are fewer and far between.

2. Self- talk to change my view of the situation and resulting emotions

How often has someone said or done something that has turned your day on its head. You can’t stop thinking about how upset you are by their comments or actions?

How often have you read a message on Whatsapp or Facebook that has infuriated you?

How often have you felt that a situation is just unfair?

We’ve all had these experiences. They are a part of everyday life.

So how could I change these negative thoughts and calm down?

The answer is simple yet takes patience and practice.

Change the narrative. Find a way to change your view of the situation and then feel better about it.

I am a teacher. Imagine a colleague said to me “you had a tough time with that class? I can’t understand why. They are angels for me.”

The resulting emotion?

You guessed it. Hurt. Offended. Feeling bad about myself.

Imagine if I tried to change my view of the situation by thinking why my colleague may have said this?

Maybe she was having a bad day and projecting her own negativity towards me? Maybe she feels insecure and is envious of me? Or maybe this is her manner and I can’t change someone else’s personality or behavior, but I can control my reaction?

I don’t know which one the right answer is.

But I do know that I will pick the one which I can live with and makes me feel better.

Disclaimer: luckily for me I work with an awesome group of colleagues😊

3. Using self-talk to promote self-belief

I once attended a PD where everyone was asked to think of 3 of their weaknesses. We were then asked to think of 3 strengths. The brilliant part was the question that followed, “which was easier to think of?”

Try it.

Without batting an eyelash everyone agreed thinking of weaknesses was quick and easy yet thinking of strengths took time and more effort.

Why are we so self- critical?

We are our own biggest critics.

The presenter than asked “what are 3 things your friends or family may say you are good at?

This was easier.

Don’t underestimate the power of transforming ‘negative self- talk’ into ‘positive affirmation’. Using self-talk to brainstorm your strengths is outright confidence boosting.

Did you know that athletes use positive self- talk to improve performance?

Did you know that artists use positive self- talk to create masterpieces?

Did you know that business executives use positive self- talk to reach goals and achieve success?

Did you know that YOU can also use POSITIVE self- talk to improve your inner dialogue and improve your life?

Until next time…

#innervoice #positivechange #confidence

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