Words themselves cannot change reality, but they can change how one perceives reality. Words create filters through which people view the world around them. For example, if you are about to meet someone new and a friend tells you that that person is conniving and likes to gossip, chances are you will be predisposed to the idea that this person is conniving without formulating your own opinion, based on that person’s actions, first. From that point forward you will take each thing that person says with a grain of salt and watch what you say around them, assuming they are untrustworthy because they were labeled with a specific word.
Now, what happens when you speak negative words to yourself? Do you ever look in the mirror and call yourself ugly? Do you ever mess something up and say under your breath, you stupid idiot! Do you ever have an awkward exchange with someone, walk away, and mentally berate yourself about it? Think about how much these negative words can actually affect you. Words carry energy and vibration, just like anything else, and if everybody realized how much power words actually had, they would never speak another negative word about themselves or give power to another negative thought again.
Talking down to yourself is a very common thing to do. You may not even realize that you are doing it half the time, because it happens so easily and so often. Negative self-talk can take many forms:
Things just always go wrong for me; I’m unlucky
I could never do that
I’m too old to learn a new language/skill/job
I have a terrible memory
I’m not good at art/sports/math
I’m just not a very creative person
The examples listed above are all forms of negative self-talk, and you’d better believe that each one of those statements carries energy behind it. The more you say things like this, the more you embody what you are saying and buy into the idea that you are those things, when they are, in fact, only thoughts that you have chosen to give power to. In reality, you can do anything you want, so long as you believe you can.
Other Types Of Negative Self-Talk
- Worrying – This is a great example of a very common form of negative self-talk. If you are constantly worried that something bad will happen, then it is almost like you are expecting it to happen. In some cases, you end up manifesting what you have put so much energy into thinking about. In others, you have simply wasted energy. Thoughts such as, “Breast cancer runs in my family, I know I will get it,” or “I am going to screw up on this project, I just know it,” or even, “What if these people don’t like me?” all take a toll, promoting anxiety because you are expecting the worst possible outcome in every scenario. Consider the following quote: “Worry is usually a lot of trouble that never really happens.”
- Criticizing Yourself – When you are constantly picking out all of these things that you perceive as flaws about yourself, you tend to forget about all of the great qualities that you possess. When you are criticizing yourself, you are likely comparing yourself to others and putting them on a pedestal, inevitably placing yourself beneath them in the process. Why can’t I be as skinny as her? He is so confident and and funny, I wish I could be more like that. How could you have said that? You are such an idiot. These are all ways we criticize ourselves with negative self-talk.
- Playing The Victim – This is a very common one, and speaking from experience, it is a very tough habit to break. When you play the victim, you literally feel like you are a victim to your circumstances and bad or undesirable things just happen to you and it’s out of your control. When you do this, it is not uncommon to complain often and blame everyone else for how pitiful you perceive your life to be. No one appreciates all the hard work I do. How come I always get sick and no one else does? Of course there’s construction, I’m already late for my meeting. Sometimes you literally can’t see it any other way, and you have to stop yourself, take a step back, and really try to see things through a different perspective in order to break the thought pattern. Most importantly, don’t take everything so personally!
How To Overcome Negative Self-Talk
First of all, you have to recognize this is something that is affecting your life in a negative way and have the desire to break this habit – that’s all it is, a bad habit. Be aware that it may take a while, however, because chances are, you’ve been doing this to yourself for many years. Of course, it is inevitable that negative thoughts will pass through your mind on occasion, but the goal in breaking this cycle is to ensure you are having more positive thoughts and saying more positive things about yourself than negative.
When you catch yourself mumbling something negative to yourself, stop the thought in its tracks and laugh off whatever the situation was that made you think that thought in the first place. Chances are, a little shift in perspective will make the situation seem far less dire.
Notice the thoughts you are having and try to see them from an observer’s perspective; ask yourself why you are thinking it and if you can see it in a different, more positive light.
When you wake up in the morning and find yourself in front of a mirror, take a moment to smile at yourself and say something positive. You may feel like this is difficult to do at the beginning, even silly, but the more you do it, the more natural it will start to become, because you will actually start to believe it.
For negative things that you regularly tell yourself, turn these messages on their head by writing them down and creating a list of more positive replacements. For example, You stupid idiot! You are always screwing something up! can become, I always try to do my best, I am human, I make mistakes like everyone else. I trust myself and my abilities.
The more you do this, the easier it will become. Practicing this regularly will bring you closer to inner-peace and self-love!
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