Negative self talk

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

What is negative self talk

Self talk is the act of using words and phrases while thinking or talking to yourself. suppose that you had a fight with one of your friends and upon being alone these phrases came to your mind "why did he do so ,maybe he hates me!!".

This was a simple example of the kind of self talk that we all use. self talk is a normal process that all humans use however the problem arises when the self talk becomes negative and when it is used to reinforce some irrational ideas that you have.

For example suppose that you were rejected and then phrases such as "probably i was rejected today because i am a loser" came to your mind then you are using your self talk to build irrational beliefs about yourself.

More examples of negative self talk

Here are More examples of negative self talk:

  • I know i look awful today
  • She totally ignored me today, i am sure she hates me
  • Why are they treating me like that, maybe they don't enjoy my company
  • The way i behaved today made me seem so stupid
  • How come that i couldn't do that , i am a looser
  • I am nothing compared to those people
  • I am late, am sure my boss is going to shout at me

What are the dangers of negative self talk

In the Solid Self confidence program i said that negative self talk arises from the irrational beliefs you have about yourself.

If you think that you are clumsy, a loser , looking ugly or totally worthless then your self talk will be negative. the real problem is that this negative self talk reinforces the irrational ideas you already have. Each time you repeat one of those negative phrases you are actually making your irrational belief stronger .

Where does negative self talk come from?

But why do we get negative self talk?
Here are the possible reasons:

  • Irrational beliefs about yourself or the world
  • A bad mood that forces you to think negatively
  • The habit of being overly critical which you might have learned during your childhood
  • Pessimism which can force you to expect the worst
  • Poor past experiences and the belief that the past repeats itself
  • Fear, anxiety, worries, depression and the different kinds of psychological problems that promote negative thinking

How to deal with negative self talk

In order to deal with negative self talk you must question it. You must not let a new phrase reinforce a belief without having a solid proof. suppose for example that one of your friends ignored you one day and then you thought that this happened because you are uninteresting.

what are the clues that you have to prove that you are uninteresting? There are hundreds of possibilities that may have made your friend ignore you that day. Maybe your friend was having a bad day and so was not in the mood to talk to you.

Maybe your friend didn't notice you today or maybe he was thinking about something and that's why he didn't see you. Why did you leave all these possibilities and just thought that you are a loser?
It's because of the false belief that you have about yourself.

What you must do in order to prevent your self talk from affecting your beliefs is to challenge your irrational ideas and thoughts. You must not accept any belief unless there was a solid proof. In the previous example hundreds of possibilities were there but you only picked one of them without having a strong proof.

By questioning every negative self talk phrase you use during your self talk you will break the cycle of reinforcement of your irrational beliefs.

You might take some time before this way of thinking becomes a new habit but in the end it will change.

You can also change your negative self talk to positive self talk. You just need to use a method called CBT(cognitive behavior therapy). This method will help you control your thoughts and your negative self talk. This will in turn lead to weakening the irrational beliefs that you have about yourself until they are removed.

Building self confidence is another action that can help you eliminate the root cause for your irrational beliefs. Build your self confidence now and you will be free from those irrational ideas.

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