How To BackTrack & Finish 2020 Strong! [Self Talk]

It could be said that Self Talk and Limiting Beliefs are the same things. There are commonalities between the two though Limiting Beliefs, in my opinion, are more deeply seated and therefore hidden. Self Talk is something we do more consciously, and it is a constant tape running in our minds as we move about in our lives. So, let’s discuss how to backtrack and finish 2020 strong when it comes to our self-talk.

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What Is Self Talk?

According to Wikipedia, Self Talk is an internal monologue. Here is the full description courtesy of Wikipedia:

An internal monologue, also called self-talk, inner speech, inner discourse or internal discourse, is a person’s inner voice which provides a running verbal monologue of thoughts while they are conscious. It is usually tied to a person’s sense of self. Wikipedia

Two important things to observe:

  1. This is our inner voice, in other words, it’s what we tell ourselves
  2. Self-talk is a running verbal monologue of thoughts – this means it happens continuously whilst we are conscious
  3. It is usually tied to our sense of self – it is how we see ourselves

All of these three points make a difference in our lives. Literally, from moment to moment we are continually telling ourselves how we ourselves.
Now, what if you do not see yourself in a positive light? Have you ever thought about that? Just little things. For example, you do something to irritate yourself (leave the car keys inside, or more recently, your mask behind) and your thought process is “oh man, you did it again, you daft critter!”

What have you just said:

  1. you do this often
  2. you are daft
  3. you are exasperating

Is this how you would speak to someone else on a continual basis? I am sure you would not. (If you do, it would be a good idea to seek help with that relationship, it’s not healthy)

We often speak to ourselves in a way we would never speak to another living soul. Words are powerful, you remember the little rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” That is completely untrue. We can do a lot of good or a lot of damage with our words. To others and to ourselves.

Words are powerful, if that was not the case, affirmations would not be as popular or as effective as they are. Many books are written about exactly this. Have a look at this one (excellent) example, by Joyce Meyer:

How To End Negative Self Talk

After listening to a number of talks online, I found this one by Jim Kwik, he starts off by saying “The goal is not to stop it completely, …” that really caught my attention and my understanding of what he has to say is that it is a balanced view. Have a listen …

Simple Steps To Stop Negative Thinking & Self Talk

The first step is to recognize Negative Thinking & Self Talk and we do that by paying attention to our thoughts.

The Bible talks about “taking thoughts captive” 2 Corinthians 10:3. In other words, think about your thoughts, test them, check that they are true.

Just because we think something, doesn’t mean it’s true.

I speak about the Bible because of my beliefs. You don’t need to share the same beliefs as me to see that your own thoughts could be toxic and prevent you from living the best life possible.

Self-talk may have been examined from a Biblical perspective as quoted above, but there are many discussions and books about this topic that have been written without the use of quoting the Bible.

To recognize Negative Thinking and Self Talk we need to:

  1. Examine (or think about) our thoughts
  2. Test our thoughts to see if they are true
  3. Pay attention to how our thoughts make us feel
  4. Get an understanding of when these thoughts arise
  5. Take note of where we are, who we are with, what we are doing
  6. Observe if there is a pattern, is it at a particular time of the day for example
  7. Understand why we have those thoughts
  8. Learn to reframe what we are saying to or about ourselves

A good way to do this is to catch the thought in action, write it down, and then run through the points above when you have the time to be quiet.

Journaling works extremely well because it allows us the opportunity to look at the thought objectively. It is no longer in our mind or muttered under our breath, it is down on paper.

I encourage you to really examine any negative thoughts that flit through your mind … yes, even the fleeting ones impact us. Those are probably the most insidious of the lot (yeah, but, I am not as .. Slim … wealthy … fit … good-looking … intelligent … creative … talented – you know what I am talking about!)

Be intentional about it. Where were you when this thought popped into your mind? Who were you with? What were you doing?

Try to ask these questions as a bystander rather than a participant. Distance yourself a bit if possible.

I was taught a technique to help me deal with a trauma. Maybe this will help you with your thought analysis? If you find that examining your thoughts is difficult emotionally, try this out:

  • Sit quietly and relax.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
  • Allow your breath to flow naturally and rhythmically. In two-three, out two three.
  • Then create a visual bubble in your mind, literally like a soap bubble, but one that does not burst
    • you can go around this bubble,
    • over the top of it, underneath it
  • Whatever is inside cannot get out, it cannot touch you
  • You can observe it without being affected in any way
  • Now, picture the thought inside that bubble

By doing the above, you are creating a protected and safe space to examine the negative thought. As mentioned, I learned to do this because of a trauma I experienced. I literally worked my way through that trauma by observing it, this was far preferable to reliving it.

Not only did that method work extremely well for me then. I have continued to use it since

It may take a bit of practice if you have never done anything like this. Be patient and kind with yourself. Most of all, avoid judging and criticizing yourself – on top of the negative self talk, that would just be counter-active.
Remember the reason we are doing this, to take hold of the thought, understand it and turn the negative self talk around to what is true and positive.

It can seem big and scary because this process may entail us acknowledging some harsh truths. More often than not though, the negative self-talk and thoughts are simply not based on truth. That means they can be managed and turned around to assist us in living more confident and happy lives.

If you are into mindfulness, you will know that this is just a way to be more mindful. To live our lives with intent rather than just randomly.

If we do not take the time to understand ourselves, we become more susceptible to influence and comment from anywhere.

Think about flipping your way through a magazine or social media. If you are not sure of who you are, grounded and accepting of your own strengths, understanding of your own weaknesses, you could fall prey to what the media says you should and should not be. Or worse, what Tom, Dick Harry, Jill or Sally say about you!

If this happens on a subliminal level, it will be the cause of negative self talk and dissatisfaction in your life. No one wants to live that way! This is why being mindful, consciously aware, is so important and so powerful.

Remember too, this is an ongoing process. You may uncover now and work your way your negative thoughts and self talk now, only to encounter others. My experience has shown that once one layer is uncovered, there have been others lurking under there too!

Don’t lose hope, we are dynamic beings, we can and do change. Keep in mind that we are not aiming for a set destination, this is more of a journey.

Now Let’s Turn Things Around

You have worked through your thoughts as described above. You have an understanding of their origin and whether they are true or false.

Often we have to keep working at the negative and false thoughts by replacing them with the truth and something positive.

These are simple examples and they are effective too.
When I was first in sales, I was terrified of picking up the phone to call for new business. I quickly learned to turn that fear into a challenge. My biggest kick was in closing a deal or securing the appointment to close the deal. No longer was I focused on the fear of rejection, but I was driven by the excitement of a potential sale.

We can do this with anything in our lives. Our minds are extremely powerful, we just need to learn how to manage them.

Be gentle and patient with yourself, you are doing the best you can with the tools you have. Most of us are not taught to think kindly of ourselves. Negative self-talk is quite easy to do actually. We can learn to enjoy positive self-talk. It is a skill that we can learn.

How To Turn Negative Self Talk Into Positive Self Talk Quickly

We do not always have the time to jot the thought down, sit quietly, and analyze it all. What happens then?

If you find yourself in a time-short situation, just take that negative self-talk and turn it around. Do it straight away.

So, “I am so disorganized” becomes “I work better under pressure and on the fly”. For example. The reality is that there are people who work better under pressure – I am one of them – and if that is also you, best you embrace it and enjoy the advantages!

You could change your language too. For example, you are late for something, rather than apologizing for being late, say

“thank you for waiting for me”. Turn it to something positive. Yes, you were late, but how amazing is it that whoever you have the arrangement with is prepared to wait for you!

So, instead of rushing, all in a flurry, arrive with a big smile and gratitude in your heart! See how that changed the atmosphere immediately!

Give yourself grace, you are a human being, we all run late, have times when we are not as prepared or organized. We all gain or lose weight, the same with our fitness levels, sometimes we are really fit, and others not so fit at all. We all have good and bad hair days. Not every business or creative idea is a great one.

Whether we win or not, we learn. So all is not lost, we gain experience. Most importantly we learn to not indulge in negative self-talk for too long.

Will I Ever Silence The Negative Self Critic For Good?

I doubt we will ever silence the negative self talk completely. With the tools shared in this article, I hope that you have learned some skills to help you with a process that works for you.

To counter the negative self talk, it is a great idea to create affirmations which rewire our brains into positive self talk.

Pick 5 or more affirmations, make sure they are visible – on your bathroom mirror, inside your car, wallet, purse, even as a screen saver on your laptop.

Focus on your affirmations in the morning when you wake up, you could even go as far as to write them out daily. Again during the day (whilst training at the gym or taking a walk). Finally, as you fall asleep.

There are great sets available at Amazon too, have a look at this one for example:

Remember, this is not about the “woo woo” stuff, this is retraining your thoughts and self-talk. Like anything good in life, it takes work and starts within you.

I would love to hear back from you. Let me know if you try the ideas shared here and how they worked for you. You can do this by leaving a comment in the comment section below.

A Gentle Reminder: How To BackTrack & Finish 2020 Strong! Is A Series

As mentioned in the beginning How To BackTrack & Finish 2020 Strong is a Series and the following topics have been covered so far:

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Remember to let me know how you go with reframing your negative self talk –  I love to hear from you!

Blessings as always

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