Today I am adapting one of my latest podcast episodes for you avid readers out there and my precious #gallantgals who are loyal to the blog. The podcast episode was titled, “How to Negate Negative Self-Talk,” and you can listen to it at the very end if you so desire.
Now let’s get to it! Today I am asking the question: How do we get over negative self-talk? I consider this inner critic in all our minds as extremely self-defeating. You know that little voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough? Or that you’re bad at this or bad at that? Every single person has this voice, it’s just that it might be a hushed whisper for some and an already loud voice further amplified by a megaphone for others.
That voice for me can be pretty loud. Recently, I was trying something for the first time in a long while and I was constantly fighting negative self-talk. There was this war raging within me. One side knew that I was simply out of practice and will get right back into the groove the more I practice. It tried to be encouraging and trusting. This voice felt like a little baby’s voice. Something that I had ignored for so long, it has grown weak, and I was straining to hear it.
The other side was telling me that I just wasn’t good enough, that I will never be good enough, and I was simply not cut out for this type of work so I should never try again. That voice was the dominant one and it was one I knew all too well.
So how do we get that annoying voice to shut up for good? Well, to be honest, that voice may always be there, but we are going to tune it down to a barely audible hum with these tips!
Give this name its own identity
A blog I follow called HowIKilledBetty is all about the annoying voice inside our heads that puts us down in life. What she did was name that voice, and as you can tell from the title, she named hers Betty. Mine is named Deena. Do the same for your voice.
Remember, this voice is not you. Distance yourself from it. Accept that you won’t ever get rid of it–this is a squatter that is intent on staying. But if you give it a name, you have some control over this thing rather than being under its control. Sometimes it will be a battle, for sure, but this is the first step.
Protect yourself from the outside in
In a blog post about what you can do to survive a toxic environment when you can’t get out, one of the things I wrote is to negate negativity with positivity. Fostering a more positive mindset is hard, but one of the more active ways to do so would be to say the opposite of whatever you are being told by other people as well as that inner voice. If you find yourself thinking, “I’m so stupid,” shake your head and then say firmly (out loud if possible), “I am bright.”
The thing is that negative self-talk has become a habit and you don’t realize you’re doing this subtle act of self-loathing. Do not let these thoughts leave your body so that they become very tangible. Don’t say these things aloud. Once you do, they’re out there–just hanging in the air. What you want surrounding you is fresh, positive air. You don’t want to be surrounded by toxic air that you’re breathing back into you for your cells to eat up and use as energy for your body. You want refreshing, invigorating air because you want good energy to fuel yourself with.
Be your own best friend
You probably heard this next one before: You really have to treat yourself like your own friend. You have to be the very best friend that you can be to yourself. You would never let a friend put him or herself down that way, so why would you do that to yourself? That voice is not your friend, but you can be your own friend rather than your own bully.
Journal out that negative voice
Another way besides talking to yourself is to write in a journal about your insecurities or flaws. Once you put pen to paper, it becomes a conduit for all negative self-talk, a bridge it can cross in order to leave your crowded brain and to make room for the better things to come.
Your brain has limited memory storage and RAM like computers. Writing out such thoughts can help you dump all the garbage thoughts out, just like when you click “delete” and then “empty trash.” Just like when you monitor your phone’s device maintenance by clearing unnecessary files that had been stored on there against your will. Make room for the positive and the good.
Turn to meditation and affirmations
Lastly, replace negative self-talk with positive ones by listening to guided meditations like The Honest Guys or podcasts like Affirmation Pod. Repeating such mantras or even being told them over and over again can be extremely helpful and life changing. I am still working on this myself. Is the progress a bit slow? Yes. Is it helping, though? Yes!
While Deena is still taking up more space in my mind than I would like, there’s hope in knowing that I have such tools and methods for talking her down. As a quick summary, there’s journaling, positive affirmations, guided meditations, choosing positive environments, and more.
I hope this blog post helps, and you can also download the podcast below to remind yourself of this every morning on your way to work or at night when you’re trying to fall asleep.