Growing up, I was always expected to be perfect. The best behavior, outstanding grades, perfect everything. Though I received a lot of congratulations on my achievements, I was put in the spotlight and ridiculed a lot for my mistakes. Because of my personal motivation and the pressures around me, I became my own critic, which led to negative self-talk.
What’s negative self-talk? Well, it’s when you have an inner dialogue with yourself, that may be limiting your own abilities because you’ve convinced yourself you can’t do something at all or well. This can also lead to criticizing your looks or diminishing your accomplishments. Now I know a lot of people negatively talk to themselves but don’t talk about it or don’t know how to help themselves. Here are some ways I’ve learned to deal with this:
Becoming Aware of the Negative Talk
It will be hard in the beginning, but noticing when you are talking negatively to yourself and understanding what that sounds like will help you start the journey to stop it. Are there keywords or phrases you use when you’re bringing yourself down? Right when you notice the talk, stop your thoughts and try one (or a few) of the tips below to silence them.
Your Negative Thoughts and Feelings Aren’t Always Reality
You may think that your thoughts are just a form of harsh criticism, but sometimes we create thoughts about ourselves that aren’t necessarily true. These thoughts can be skewed and these thoughts can be based on subject, environment, or the influence of your moods.
Self-Soothing & Praise (Be Your Own Cheerleader)
Just like when your friend is down and cries on your shoulder, you are always their No.1 cheerleader. Do the same for yourself! Be your own best friend and give yourself praise when you accomplish things. When you feel yourself going down the hole of negativity, try to calm down and look at the positive aspects or reassure yourself that “everything will be okay.”
I know at times your inner thoughts can get very loud and seemingly unavoidable. Take a moment and find a place where you can close your eyes, and intensely feel what you feel. Something I do next is inhale through my nose, and exhale out of my mouth, making sure I let all the air at a slow pace. This helps me calm myself down and might also help you.
Change Negativity to Neutrality
It can be hard at times to catch your negative self-talk, that’s why I think an easier way of preventing it is changing the tone of what you say. Instead of “I can’t do this” say, “This is challenging.” Using more gentle words with yourself will allow you to see a different point of view and prevent negativity.
I know you can’t change this all in one day, but with observations and coping habits, you can blossom and overcome doubt. What are some ways you stop negative self-talk? Hit me up and let me know.
By Amaris Edwards, Senior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep