If our self-talk determines our experience, then checking in to see if our self-talk makes our experience better or worse is a good idea. What have you said to yourself today? Has it encouraged or discouraged you?
Our self-talk has a powerful influence over our lives, yet despite its impact on us, we tend to move through our lives, forgetting this incredible power we hold.
"Self-Talk is a huge part of what makes us who we are. It impacts how we feel about ourselves, how we feel about what we can achieve in life..and how we interact with others. It impacts our self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-image. Pay attention to it." ~Tim Peterson
One way to pay attention to your self-talk is through your moods and feelings. Since your emotions reflect your thinking, pay attention to how you feel can let you know when your self-talk has been helpful or not. If your self-talk isn't helpful, change it!
Here are three helpful strategies you can use to help improve your self-talk because we all deserve our own encouragement:
1. Notice your definitive statements. When we think in absolutes, we may make "always or never" statements that don't allow for the possibility of change or growth. When we notice ourselves doing this, we can question our thoughts to make sure we are not putting up self-imposed barriers.
"I will never understand calculus."
"I don't understand calculus tonight. I can get help tomorrow."
2. Use the power of maybe. When we have an unpleasant thought, apply "maybe" to it. For example, change "Today will be horrible." to "Maybe today won't be so bad." Trying to switch to the polar opposite, "Today will be awesome!" probably won't help if we are not ready to believe it. By merely adding 'maybe' to negative thoughts, we allow room for a positive possibility without feeling like we are forcing a thought that we don't believe.
3. Reflect on your locus of control. In psychology, one's locus of control refers to where one believes the power and control over their lives are located. A person can have an internal locus of control. Which means they think they are primarily in control of their life and their experience. They may have an external locus of control, meaning they believe outside factors impact how they experience their lives. Remember, even when outside factors impact our conditions, we still have total control over how we will experience or respond to those conditions.
"I am not what happened to me.
I am what I chose to become." ~ Carl Jung
If using encouraging, positive self-talk about yourself feels awkward or difficult to believe, that doesn't make it any less true. That only means you don't normally use encouraging self-talk. Be willing to work past any awkwardness you may have when using encouraging self-talk because you deserve your own kindness.