What Is Self Talk?
Do you ever listen to the inner voice that always seems to be telling you what to do? Do you feel as if it is evaluating every move you make by providing different and competing opinions and then suggesting possible ramifications and outcomes that may cause you to make the wrong decisions at the wrong time?
All of us have this inner dialogue that makes it difficult to find the voice of reason in our lives. Psychologists have identified and labeled this as “self-talk”. For humans, we must differentiate between positive and negative self talk and then make decisions that improve our lives and make us feel good about ourselves.
Psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne compares self talk to the “equivalent of sports announcers commenting on a player’s successes or failures on the playing field.” We are not athletes and most of the time our self-talk is nothing more than a distraction but it can build up a negative self-image if we believe everything it is telling us.
Most of the time our self-talk is nothing more than a distraction but it can build up a negative self-image if we believe everything it is telling us. Fortunately, you do have control over your inner dialogue.
Dealing With Your Inner Self Talk
When we flood our minds with various thoughts, what we listen to ultimately determines whether we are successful or we fail. Research has found that our inner voice starts when we are very young and continues to influence us as we grow older.
As children, we form these beliefs based on what we are told, shown and what we see. This, in turn, influences how we address ourselves as well as the world around us. Most of the fears and insecurities we have come from our childhood and that inner voice keeps playing out those insecurities and worries in our minds like a movie reel .
How are you addressing yourself?
Are your words negative or positive? Uplifting or depressing?
Do you see yourself how you want to be seen or how the world sees you? There’s a big difference in these perceptions. Improving how you see yourself can help you deal with your inner self-talk
Our inner voice instructs the subconscious to carry out the will of our thoughts. It is this will that can be changed if we are able to question the validity of such instructions. Not everything your inner voice tells you to do is right. You get what you expect unless what you expect jives with what you want then it brings you in balance.
How we address ourselves, whether in the first or third person, affects how successful we become. Talk in the first person (I), you are more critical of yourself and what you do but when you refer to yourself using your own name, your chance at becoming successful increase significantly.
A February 2014 research paper from the University Michigan as written in The Journal Of Personality and Social Psychology found that people who spoke to themselves in their own name performed better under stress and experienced less rumination and shame than those who used the pronoun I. When people imagine themselves as someone else, “It allows them to give themselves objective, helpful feedback,” states Ethan Kross, an associate professor of Psychology and director of the Self-Control and Emotion Laboratory at the University of Michigan.
Identifying Negative Self-Talk
As we go about our day, we are constantly bombarding ourselves with both positive and negative self-talk. The more we skew those thoughts towards the negative the worse we feel about ourselves.
You must challenge your thoughts and listen to what they are saying. Each time a negative thought comes into your mind, be aware of what they are telling you. Use your feelings as a guide to reflect on what your thoughts are doing to your well-being.
When you start feeling depressed or angry, step back and question why you are feeling that way.
Are your thoughts making the situation worse?
Are they playing upon your fears and insecurities?
There are four main questions you must ask yourself in order to challenge your inner self-talk.
1- Do My Thoughts Reflect My Reality?
Are the facts reflected in my thoughts or have I let those thoughts take over my reality. Each thought is a separate choice that is evidence of what is going on around me. My reality is not what I think but what I make. Each thought must then reflect that choice.
2- Are There Alternative Explanations For My Thoughts?
Can I look at this situation from a different perspective? Do I perceive this from a positive outlook? Are there facts that support my thoughts that I may have overlooked? We sometimes take for granted what we think as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth but the real truth is somewhere in the middle, all muddled up with where we want them to go. You must put your thoughts on trial and find the facts and dismiss the circumstantial evidence until you can prove them real or not.
3- Am I Basing My Thoughts On Just Emotions?
Are my emotions ruling my thought patterns or am I trying to be logical here? Emotions can be overwhelmingly strong but you must let go of your emotions and see things in a logical order. You can then analyze your thoughts and replace the false narrative with the truth, whether good or bad and then work on improving what and where your thoughts take you.
4- Have I Directed Myself Toward The Ultimate Goal?
Just what is your ultimate goal and how do you want to get there? Has your thoughts become the voice of reason within your life or do you walk haphazardly towards a fixated goal that may or may not be right for you? Your goal may need to be changed if it doesn’t jive with your beliefs no matter how much you want it. Your thoughts may be forcing you to go down a pathway you know is wrong.
Managing Your Self Talk
Reason brings us clarity is every situation but the vast majority of people use emotion instead. You must recognize that you are always learning and that knowledge helps push you closer to your goals. Learning how to use reason to manage your self-talk is a way to increase your self-awareness and esteem.
All the words you say to yourself, the way you think about yourself and what others are saying to you can leave a big impression on you and the damage may not show up until later on. The idea is to change the type of stories that are playing in your mind. Those mind movies need to show appreciation for who we are.
Your body follows the lead set by your mind and happiness comes from positive self talk. It seems once one negative thought comes along another one follows right behind. Your inner self should be the voice of reason that coach’s you and encourages positive suggestions.
How can you do that when your head is full of crazy thoughts?
Change the way you talk to yourself. Confidence comes from taking control of your mind and learning from your mistakes then filling it with positive self-conditioning. Affirm the positive points of your life until the positive points become the dominant power and force in your mind.
Your mind can take you anywhere you want to go as long as you make full use of your positive self-talk. Those who become successful learn how to manage their self talk in a way that forces them to move forward in life.
When you conquer your inner self-talk you will have the confidence to do anything you want. Go ahead, be the voice of reason in a world that truly needs it!