Positive Self Talk

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!

4 Replies to “Positive Self Talk”

  1. I’m using mindfulness – my problem with self talk is that the waking self talk is sometimes a stream on anxities – especially when at home and not going out for day. Once I am up and about and have done a few things then it normally becomes more optimistic or more accurately accepting that a lot of stuff won’t get done that day – I invariably overload my “to do” list when at home. Thanks for your post – and hope your 500 words turned up!

    1. Most of us have a bad habit of planning too many things for one day! I’m still working on keeping a manageable list. I did crank out the 500 words on several days last week!
      Be well,
      Jeanette

  2. Hi Jeanette,
    Self-talk is SO HARD to change! But it can be done. I am a good example of the positive results of that. Many years ago, 32 years to be exact, I was shocked when I learned from my husband that he was leaving. For the next 15 months, I was desperately upset and confused about what was happening to my family and what I could do about it (basically nothing!). From a counselor I learned that I didn’t have to believe the mean things that the man was saying to me, and that I could challenge and refute them all. Inside my own head! This was great news! I learned about affirmations and bought several pocket-sized books with daily affirming statements. They truly changed my life. Recently, a friend’s daughter began posting similar affirmations on Facebook, and they have helped me get through another rough time (moving house last year, and adjusting to my new circumstances). I can’t speak enough about how important self-talk is, and how any person can learn to use it in a good way. Thanks for this post!

    1. You’ve given two great examples for using positive self- talk! When you’re using positive affirmations, do you speak to yourself and using your name? Apparently use of your name is extra reinforcement!
      Be well,
      Jeanette

Leave a Reply