Do you practise positive self talk? Is there an inner voice in your head with a running commentary that helps you to feel good about yourself? Or, is the commentary critical and negative?
Everyone talks to themselves — sometimes quietly and sometimes out loud.
Because self talk influences self confidence and self esteem, the way we talk to ourselves influences what we believe about ourselves. It influences what we do, what we think, how we speak, how we frame experiences, and how we interact with others.
During the past weeks, my self talk has revolved around writing blog posts. August wasn’t a productive month for writing as summer diversions interfered. The reasons — travel to New York City, taking care of our grand-daughter, entertaining overnight guests, taking time to attend a funeral and a memorial event, summer theatre excursions, day trips, and beach afternoons. The result — little time in front of the computer screen which is the first requisite for writing.
Of course, the lack of writing output gave opportunity my critical inner voice. Often the messages came as commentary indicating laziness, lack of creative ideas, or lack of interest. Sometimes the inner voice told me I should give up writing blog posts. Fortunately positive messages balanced the negatives reminding me that every writer suffers setbacks, that my idea book remains filled with topics for blog posts, and that a certain amount of goofing off happens during the summer.
Positive vs Negative Self Talk
Positive self talk affirms good experiences and reinforces good things that are happening. It might sound like “I can learn coding skills by practising” or “I’m taking care of my health by eating nutritious foods rather than junk.”
Negative self talk demeans skills and accomplishments. It might sound like “I’m a loser; I’m no good at this; I’m a failure at blogging”. The result is a destructive belief system. Telling yourself that you are a failure may set up events that create experiences of failure. Replacing negative self talk with encouraging yet realistic self talk helps to set a course based on a positive story.
Learning to observe our self talk allows an evaluation of other life happenings. Self talk can be instructional helping one to steer through tasks, especially when facing something like a writing drought or when learning a new skill. Self talk can motivate. When the inner voice gives messages like “let’s go” or, “just get started” it can encourage action.
Self talk affects performance. What we say to ourselves determines success and failure as it influences what we believe about ourselves. When we construct the narrative of our lives, it’s the self talk, the inner voice, that shapes the story of who we are now, where our life has been, and where it is going.
Everyone experiences setbacks. How a setback is processed in our mind makes all the difference. When I think about the August writing drought, I’ll be gentle and forgiving with myself rather than giving it a negative evaluation. Now, Jeanette, aka postworksavvy, let’s get back to the writing routines and write 500 words today!