Talk To Me Nice! Changing Our Inner Dialogue
Author: Portia B.
The women in my family have a habit of talking to themselves. I remember being young and hearing my mother talking in the bathroom and thinking “Isn’t she alone in there?” My oldest sister is always talking out loud to herself: in the car, while making dinner, while getting dressed. All. The. Time. Now that I am older I have not only developed this habit myself, but I understand how crucial it is to regularly dialogue with oneself, both out loud and internally.
Just like we use our words to nurture relationships with loved ones, we can use words to also nurture our relationship with ourselves and to foster progress. We should speak to ourselves the way we speak to the ones we love. If we all wrote down the words we tell ourselves about ourselves, how likely would you be to share those words with the world? Yeah… probably not.
Study after study backs the power of positive self talk. Whatever we tell ourselves about ourselves has a strange way of continuously showing up in our lives. Likely because we subconsciously start taking steps to see that thing through, both good and bad!
Think of your mind as a flower bed, a forest, a garden, someplace fertile. Just like that garden, we have to pull the weeds from our minds and allow the flowers space to grow. Positive thoughts can easily get choked out by “weeds”, or negative self-talk. Give yourself the careful consideration you give your loved ones when you speak to them. You should talk to yourself the way you talk to those you love.
I don’t have a lot of “tips” for overcoming this particular challenge because I am in the middle of eliminating this habit myself. I have mainly been focusing on using better language in very simple ways:
Eliminate “not” and “no” when talking to yourself
You’ll be surprised at how affirming your language becomes when you drop these words. You may have to do a bit of verbal gymnastics, but you will begin to find ways to infuse more positive self-talk
As soon as a negative thought comes to mind, say something that negates it out loud! This can be the opposite of the thought ("I'm never gonna get anywhere" vs "I'm definitely gonna get where I want to be") or anything affirming like a mantra or a positive word to meditate on.
If these changes are not enough, try asking yourself these questions:
How to you affirm yourself out loud on a regular basis?
What language do you use to support yourself?
How many compliments do you give yourself regularly?
How can you begin using words to show love to yourself?
Remember that the voice we hear during negative self-talk isn’t really our true voice! Most of the time this voice stems from negative things others have said about us; we collect and replay the things that strike our insecurities and hurt us the most. Work to dig through the weeds and discover the voice that is authentically yours-- it will never talk down to us and will only ever uplift us.