Henry Ford said, “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re right.”
How often do you actually register the commentary that your mind “says” to you each day? Is it negative? Is it positive?
Rarely do we just observe what we do in this world. More often we ‘comment’ on it, with mental chatter that is often judgmental, such as “I’m afraid this will be a dumb question, maybe I shouldn’t ask it”, or “this writing isn’t as good as it should be”, or “I always foul things like this up, I’m such a loser”.
The negative self-talk we keep up actually affects our performance, and our presence in the world. Negative self-talk chips away at us. What we tell ourselves, if we do it often enough, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Think of your negative talk as disrespecting yourself, something you probably would find unacceptable if someone else did it to you. So why do it to yourself?
Most importantly, negative self-talk is disempowering. Positive self-talk is empowering. On the path towards staying grounded in Inner Fitness, it is pretty clear that we want to do everything that empowers us.
Try this experiment. You’ll need to do it with another person.
Put your arm out straight, at a right angle from your body. Start repeating “I am weak and worthless” a few times. Then, as you continue to repeat this phrase, have the other person push down on your arm as hard as he/she can. Remember how this feels.
Now put your arm out again, and start repeating “I am strong and powerful”. Once you’ve repeated it a few times, continue and have your partner push down on your arm.
What happened this time? Sum up the whole experience and never forget it!
Start a campaign
I propose an active campaign against negative self-talk. It starts with increasing your self-awareness of how often you actually talk to yourself negatively and just what it is you say. Once you have more awareness of your commentary, then you can begin to evaluate it and see if it needs to change.
The next step is to rewrite this self-talk into not only something more positive, but more realistic. Something that is actually more representative of reality, without the all or nothing coloration. Beware of words like “always” and “never”, or even “of course”, or “naturally”.
Work at rephrasing
Here are some examples you can use:
The Usual: This will never work…
The Reframing: I’m not sure this will work but I’ll keep an open mind
This always happens to me….
Sometimes this happens but most of the time it really doesn’t
This person is not going to buy-in….
Fill in this one yourself
• Take note of your mental chatter and how you comment on your life
• Are there certain circumstances where you are down on yourself more than others?
• What are the themes that are emerging?
• Practice reframing your self-talk