What To Say When You Talk To Yourself

Self-destructive behavior is incredibly prevalent across the United States.

Infuriatingly, every single day, we do things that directly or indirectly limit our progress both in life and towards self-actualization, but before these setbacks become actions, they begin as thoughts, sometimes spoken aloud to ourselves in private moments.

What To Say When You Talk To Yourself

Imagine having someone lingering over your shoulder every second of every day, criticizing you, putting you down, making you feel unworthy… It’s almost unthinkable, yet this is what many of us do to ourselves, and it’s a surprisingly hard habit to kick.

We need to be speaking to ourselves in a decidedly different manner! So, let’s take a moment to consider what we should say and how we should say it when having a word with ourselves.

Why Are We Hard On Ourselves: The Impossible Standards Of The Self

For the most part, people are good. We are mannerly to others, will help those in need, and feel fulfilled when we do so, but sadly, rarely do we extend the same courtesy to ourselves.

The only explanation to this perplexing situation is that we have unreasonable expectations about what we should be like or what we should be able to accomplish.

Considering the fast-paced nature of the modern world in which success is celebrated above all else, this self-admonishing is hardly surprising.

When talking to ourselves, we do so from a base feeling of shame, embarrassment, anger, hurt, failure, or defeat.

The feeling itself is sufficient to guide us into making positive change, yet we create an internal double for the sole purpose of self-flagellation — It’s not healthy!

This kind of mentality can even bleed into our successes, as in Western society, there is no ultimate goal, no finish line. We reach one landmark achievement and are instantaneously shoved towards the next, a Sisyphean struggle, perpetual inconclusiveness.

How Dare You Say That To Yourself!

We all just need to start being much, much nicer to ourselves, but I know that’s easier said than done.

Sometimes we don’t even see it as an option — Once, talking to myself in my youth, I distinctly remember getting a shock when I realized it was the first time I had been kind to myself in thought and speech in years.

Only then did I realize just how bogged down by my own standards I had been over the years. Gradually, the voice in my head, the voice that spoke when I was talking to myself, had become a horrendous bully (Also check out How To Get Out Of Your Head).

“The Friend” Thought Experiment

Let’s try this little thought experiment to get a feel for just how strange this behavior is.

Think of the worst things you think or say to yourself, then imagine your best friend heard someone else saying these things to you. How do you think they would react?

In all likelihood, your friend would be utterly disgusted by this hypothetical third party. They simply would not stand for it, not just because they love you, but because a lot of the things we say to ourselves simply aren’t true.

How To Talk To Yourself In A Positive Light

What To Say When You Talk To Yourself

The best way to describe how we should all be talking to ourselves is to think about how we talk to children.

When conversing with our little ones, we always, always highlight the positives of any given situation, and we do so while simultaneously encouraging acceptance of the emotions involved.

Let’s say, for example, that a child’s football team lost the championship game. What would you say to them?

Probably something along the lines of… “I understand you’re feeling disappointed, but you fought really hard and played magnificently. You helped your team get all the way to the championship, and that’s a massive accomplishment.”

This is exactly the approach we should be taking when talking to ourselves. Instead of telling yourself that you have failed, tell yourself out loud that you are proud of yourself for trying.

Instead of calling yourself stupid or worthless, tell yourself that you have a ways to go, but have come a long way already and are worthy of positive things.

It’s all about sweetening up that nasty voice in our head, and here’s how you can do it!

Forget The Idea Of “Negative” Emotions

Let’s get one thing clear… there is no such thing as a negative emotion. All of our feelings are natural and all of our honest feelings are valid.

Accepting this opens the door for you to sort of metabolite these emotions in a healthy way, rather than letting them eat away at you.

Positive Affirmations

Don’t wait for down feelings to come around for you to talk to yourself. Whenever you get a free moment, speak positive affirmations aloud. Here are some examples of what you could say to get you started:

  • I am worthy of love and success.
  • I did well to get here today.
  • I’m going to be proud of myself no matter what happens today.
  • I am a good person, and I am nice to myself and others.
  • Life is much bigger than small failures.
  • I am loved and I love.
  • Fortune isn’t everything. I earned many good things in my life.
  • I’m good at …
  • Everyone is a work in progress.
  • I take responsibility for my life, and I am changing for the better.
  • I take responsibility for my life, and I am happy with how far I’ve come.
  • Mistakes are the engines of progress.
  • I deserve better.
  • My instincts are correct.
  • I am grateful.
  • I am strong enough.
  • I deserve not to hurt.

Analyze Your Self-Talk

Before you nod along with your internal or external self-talk, ask yourself the following…

  • Would I say this to someone else? (Think of the friend thought experiment above).
  • Am I overreacting?
  • Are my reactions based on anything real?
  • Am I only seeing one side of things?

Should you find that there are some flaws in your self-talk, amend them. Ease up and speak to yourself nicely.

Use Third-Person

It can be hard to oust this negative voice all at once, but it’s much easier to make little changes to the vocabulary of our double.

Studies have shown that using the third person (as in “he”, “she”, “they”) allows you to be more objective about what you hear, making further alterations much easier to implement.

Final Thoughts

We’re all very self-critical in this life, and most of the time, there’s simply no need for it. Making a conscious effort to be nicer to yourself is all many of us need to lead happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Don’t punch yourself in the gut; pat yourself on the back — You’re amazing!!!

Ben Easter
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