Why does self-talk matter?
We all have an inner voice that is always commenting/critiquing. Even though when you are reading, your inner voice is telling you something such as what to cook, what to wear tomorrow, why am I reading this, and so on. The chatter will never stop and most of your life is a result of that chatter. Now, there are two types of self-talk – positive and negative.
If your inner voice/chatter is self-demeaning, always demotivating you, it is termed as ‘negative self-talk’ or ‘monster talk’ as it diminishes our potential and kills our dream. The cause of this kind of chatter is our subconscious patterns and experiences which are there since childhood. For instance, you had some bad experiences in college – maybe someone said you don’t look good or you don’t speak well. You took that comment too seriously and kept playing it on a loop in your subconscious mind. ‘I don’t look good… I don’t speak well… I am not good enough… I am not beautiful…’
By doing so, you created a belief that ‘You are not good enough’. Then, your body language changes as you become less confident. Everything around you may seem futile. You end up not pursuing your dreams by hiding behind that belief system. Now, your entire life will be the consequence of that self-talk, that is why I termed it as ‘monster talk’.
If your inner voice is supportive and constantly encourages you to do more in your life, that is positive self-talk or I call it best friend talk. For instance, you have to make a presentation on something that you have never done before. You are nervous but the voice inside you is motivating you to take the challenge and telling you that ‘You can do this’, ‘You are capable of doing big things’ – such self-encouraging talk can push you forward in your life and help you fulfil your dreams.
Often, you would come across this quote, “The way you talk to yourself creates your reality”. Now, you know what are the consequences of negative talk — it can cause anxiety, depression, and leave you paralysed as far as your growth is concerned. It comes as no surprise that negative talk needs to be replaced with positive talk and you should do it as early as possible. So, how does one replace ‘monster talk’ with ‘best friend talk’?
Author-speaker Tony Robbins’ philosophy is to “kill the monster while it’s little”. By killing it, you will create a space for something empowering and creative. Once you fill the space with positive self-talk, you eliminate all the negativity. Here are a few suggestions:
Identity: Give the negative chatter a name that has a low or no impact on your life. Whenever that voice comes, take that name and say, ‘I am the boss and I own my body’. ‘I know how to make life better than you and you must stay quiet’. You can also try to give it a funny name that makes you laugh. By doing this, the ‘monster’ will lose its impact on your mind and slowly your words will kill it.
Play with it: Do you remember that CD/DVD players would get stuck at times and play hilarious voices that would make everyone laugh? You can apply the same logic here. Whenever the negative chatter turns on, change the pace of words – make it short, very short, or very long like. You can also lower the voice consciously in your mind. This will help you become more of an owner than a slave of your mind. Repeat this whenever you get any self-defeating thoughts.
Change the words: Write down a few of the negative self-talk you do on daily basis. Draw a vertical line and change the words from negative to positive. So, when that old negative talk occurs, you interrupt it and start with the new one you just created yourself. For instance, you get this negative thought so often: I can’t speak well or why can’t I speak well? I will change this to I can speak so well with others. I feel so good while speaking with others.
Use affirmations: Affirmations are positive statements to manifest your desires. Create powerful affirmations for yourself starting from “I AM” and affirm it as much as you can in a day. It will keep you focussed on your desire. Whenever you go off course, it will bring your focus back to your dreams and desires.
You can use some of these affirmations for positive self-talk:
I am enough
I am amazing
I am a money magnet
I can do anything
I am born to fulfil my dreams
I am blessed
Smart walk: Close your eyes and imagine a big television screen in front of you. You may have some role models, mentors, or people you admire. Use your imagination and bring them onto your television screen by turning it on. Imagine how these people are talking and doing things. Now, shift some people to the left and some to the right and create a space between them. Imagine yourself walking from the door as a super confident, well-dressed person who is standing between them as if you are one of them.
Increase the volume of the television from your remote and hear your voice – how you are talking and laughing with others. Do it as often as you can as it will diminish the negative chatter and its impact on you. This process will help you open the door to positive and empowering thoughts and actions.
Wright Thurston, a leadership expert, says, “Positive self-talk is the most powerful form of communication because it either empowers you or it defeats you”.
When you kill the monster and create a space for positive self-talk, you become the master of your life. You attract more happiness, love, and peace in life. Spend some time with your thoughts by being conscious for a few days. Make a note of the things that you often think about and start working on them with the tools and techniques mentioned above.