When you free yourself of negative self-talk, you will free yourself from perfectionism. You will honour and accept the mistakes you make.
Don’t kid yourself, self-sabotage is an actual thing.
We make a mistake, reflect on it, and then feel guilty, and unintentionally dig ourselves into a deeper and darker hole.
And many of us repeat this cycle far too often.
And that negative side of our thinking doesn’t help.
Even if you hear that critical inner voice saying “you deserved that” the real answer is, “No! You didn’t.”
We should all be empowered, fearless and happy when working towards our dreams.
Effects of Negative Self-Talk
Obviously, there is the low self-esteem that comes from negative self-talk. But there are also detrimental physical effects linked to self-criticism.
The world of personal development is filled with teachers who claim that self-critical thoughts are not confined to the mind.
In fact, their effect permeates every cell in our body, and this wreaks havoc on our physiology.
And they are 100% correct. There is now a body of research showing that adverse psychological events raise cortisol levels.
High cortisol levels are associated with anxiety, depression and irritability.
Low immune function, raised blood glucose levels, elevated blood pressure, weight gain, fatigue and muscle weakness are also found to occur in people with high cortisol levels.
This is serious because persisting with daily negative self-talk forces the body to live in fight-or-flight mode.
And this inhibits nearly every natural function.
Causes of Negative Self-Talk
Many people feel that negative self-talk just happens.
However, it is something that you actively do. It is an activity your brain generates automatically. And it becomes a habit.
Think of it as an autopilot response.
Following years of being criticised by a sibling, parent, or another significant figure the habit of negative self-talk is adopted.
For many, this happens as early as childhood.
Psychology has a phenomenon known as an introject. These are internal representations of the people who raised us.
If a child has a critical parent, they begin to internalise that parent.
The end result is the child carries around a self-critical inner voice that behaves exactly the same way the parent does.
That critical parent becomes a part that child.
How to Overcome Negative Self-Talk
Overcoming negative self-talk is straightforward. However, two things are required to happen:
1) Heal the underlying reasons for the self-criticism.
To overcome negative self-talk you need to integrate the introject in a healthy, compassionate way.
When the underlying issues have been resolved, the critical parent naturally fades.
The issues to deal with may have to do with anger, forgiveness, individuation, and learning to dismiss the assessment of others who have an agenda and to trust your own self-assessment more.
2) Develop a strategy to shift out of autopilot.
When you heal the underlying reasons for criticising yourself, you get left with the habit.
And as you already know, some habits can be tough to break.
Here are three ideas that may help.
Most people seek to resist their inner critic. And get caught in a vicious cycle.
They begin to criticise themselves for continuing to be self-critical.
You need to let that go and stop fighting.
The healing process we mentioned earlier starts with greater self-awareness and consciousness.
In summary, just listen. Don’t fight back or resist. Hear yourself out.
And don’t judge. Be patient and listen to that critical inner voice for what it is.
When you do, it loses much of its power.
Say to yourself, “I have a critical inner voice that is saying…” Then you get to repeat what your inner critic said.
Don’t judge, just listen, and repeat.
Prepare to be amazed at the objectivity this simple technique provides you.
Time to turn the tables entirely on your inner critic and ask for more feedback. Yes, more criticism.
And when you get more just do what we suggested earlier.
Listen, repeat and then ask for even more feedback.
The concept centres on raising your conscious awareness of what is actually going on inside your own head.
When you gain conscious awareness, then you can begin to control it and avoid going into autopilot mode.
When your inner critic no longer controls your thought processes, then it is time to move on.
Turn your attention to something outside of your own thinking.
Focus on how the temperature of the air feels.
Or how the weight of your body feels as you walk or sit in a chair.
Embrace the sounds around you by being quiet and extend your hearing as far as you can.
Doing activities like this is inherently calming and helps you embrace greater mindfulness.
How To Build Resilience – Boost Your Competitive Advantage
4 Important Steps to Greater Emotional Agility (Infographic)
Click on the image to download The 9 Easy Ways to Counter Negative Self-Talk PDF