I can’t be the only one. You know you have those besties who show up uninvited too. Who am I talking about, you ask? I’m talking about the two friends that live inside your head. And, they either love you, or hate you at any given moment. Did you know that positive self-talk can help? I’m gonna tell you why practicing positive self-talk is a real skill later. But first, let me set the scene.
Let’s say that you received an email stating your proposal for a new project at work, or another collaborative venture was approved. One of your inside friends may say this to you after you’ve read the email: “Are you serious? You know you can barely do your job, and now you want to take on another project. Wow! Just email them back to decline the offer.”
And, the other inside friend may say this to you: “Yes girl. I knew you could do it! Congrats on doing it big, being professional, and persevering through the interviews and meetings. Who can you share your good news with, and what are you gonna do to celebrate?”
Ironically, both so-called friends in your head are very convincing and sincere. But the real question is, who will you listen to? The harm is not in having your hater and supporter in the same space with you. The harm is in listening to your hater, and giving her your time and energy.
My other question is, when was the last time you used positive self-talk to silence your hater? It’s okay if you don’t know, because that’s why I’m here.
Here are two reasons why practicing positive self-talk is a real skill, and why you need to start practicing it today.
1). Positive Self-Talk Takes Practice.
Anything worth excelling in, and having a great experience with, takes practice. If you want to master something, you have to practice it. Similarly, mastering positive self-talk takes practice as well. As a society, we’re taught by our caregivers that talking to yourself is a sign that something’s wrong with you. My paternal grandmother often told me that it’s not lady-like to talk to myself, and that people would talk bad about me.
Little did she know that in fifth and sixth grade I was silencing my hater with a pep talk! Even then, I had conversations with my supporter and hater, and talked about the pros and cons of different situations I was faced with.
For those of you who don’t know, I was faced with intense bullying, attempted sexual assault, and verbal abuse and more. I was severely depressed at such a young age, which is why I needed positive self-talk in my life.
For example, if you’ve never tried positive self-talk before, you may be apprehensive about trying it. The important thing to remember is that you can’t try it one time and stop because you feel silly. The purpose of doing it is to feel empowered, infuse yourself with confidence and positive feelings, feel better than when you started, and lift your spirits. Once you try it, and don’t immediately see the benefits, don’t give up. Try it again at a later time.
I’m gonna share this with you because I feel like we can really chop it up and talk about anything. A few years ago, I was driving down a busy street on my way home and my heart was SO heavy. Old feelings of worthlessness tormented me all day.
When I was a kid, my dad didn’t know how to properly express himself when he was angry or frustrated. So, when I didn’t do something right, he would call me stupid and dumb almost daily. I’ve seen what browbeating and verbal abuse does to an adult male dog. The dog literally walked around like every day was his last. But, imagine what it feels like to a kid around age 10 or 12?
So I’m in the car driving home. I started crying. And then, the ugly cry happened. I felt like I was lower than dirt. A few minutes later, I repeated something like this out loud:
“You can’t be dumb, and you can’t be stupid either. You are so smart. People ask you for advice all of the time. You can’t be stupid. Karen you are smart. You are not dumb or stupid. Look at how smart you are, you did this, and this (insert accomplishments). You make mistakes like everybody else, but you’re not dumb or stupid.” Within a few minutes, I stopped crying because the empowering words I used worked. I felt like “yeah girl, you’re right!”
I didn’t care who saw me driving or sitting at a stop light talking to myself because they weren’t going through what I was going through. I believe that drastic times call for drastic measures. Therefore, I needed a mini pep talk, and I got it in!
If possible, look in the mirror when you talk to yourself because it’s that much more empowering. I’m serious. When you look yourself in the eye while saying positive and confidence building statements, the results are even more electrifying! Try it a few times and let me know what you think. If it’s not your thing, cool. But if it is, watch out!
My three rules for practicing positive self-talk are:
- You have to acknowledge your feelings by not minimizing them
- You can’t throw in any shade or degrading words
- And, you have to say everything out loud
As we try to live our best lives, we encounter so many daily influences that can affect us negatively. Things like a negative phone call or text, disappointing email or tweet, bad news about a collaboration, project, or promotion, and family, financial, or relationship issues, and new health problems, can immediately affect your spirit, and have you feeling some type of way.
Sometimes you may not be in a position to call your girlfriend, sister, or mom to vent. It’s okay, and often necessary to be your own coach. Go into a room that has a mirror, use your rear view mirror, or use the mirror in your purse to look yourself in the eye. Then, say at least 2 positive things about yourself or the situation. And, repeat it until you feel better. Please say it out loud so you can hear it.
Contrary to what you may think, you are the best person to empower yourself. Focus on your positive qualities that are related to the situation you’re faced with. Never underestimate the power of your words! Remember that positive self-talk and giving yourself a pep talk takes practice.
Try it in the car, on a walk, on the train, at your desk, and wherever else you may need to in order to feel empowered and infuse confidence into your spirit. I’m here for it.
Have you ever practiced positive self-talk or given yourself a pep talk? Please share your experience in the comments section below.