Ever heard the saying, “I am my own worst critic,” or felt like most of the affirming you give yourself falls into an “okay, but” pattern? Feels familiar, right? The thoughts we have and the things we say to ourselves are often worse than what anyone else would say. We know our flaws, and we establish how we view success subjectively. The inner critic we all have can ruin many good memories and moments. Negative self-talk focuses on gloom and doom and prevents us from seeing the positive. Here are three quick tips to help stop the cycle of negative self-talk:
Acknowledge that negative voice when it appears.
When the negative self-talk voice appears, pause. Acknowledge it. Some people even name it. Others write it down in a journal. Figure out what works for you but most importantly, acknowledge when the negative self-talk occurs.
2. Identify what it is avoiding.
Negative self-talk often occurs as a means of avoiding feelings of failure, hurt, or disappointment. How it occurs often falls into a few categories: filtering, polarizing, personalizing, and catastrophizing. Knowing why it is occurring and how it occurs helps to break the habit. It can also lead to more self-discovery. Understanding why the brain is associating an experience with negative thoughts can empower change. It can also allow for more realistic thoughts about situations.
3. Reframe the meaning to empower yourself.
Once acknowledgment and identifying what is being avoided occurred, it is time to reframe the experience. Reframing is simply providing an alternate point of view. Instead of “okay, but” patterns were leading to negative thoughts, it can acknowledge positive truths and exceptions.
Here are a few examples:
I only made a B in my class, but I could have made an A if I wasn’t so lazy and stupid.
I made a B in my class, considering how unmotivated I was this semester. I know I can continue to do better next time.
It did not work because it is too complicated.
I can make it work if I try to tackle it a different way.
Practice positive self-talk daily to combat the negative self-talk that already exists. Make thinking positive a daily habit. A therapist can help guide in forming positive self-talk habits and uncover the reasons why the negative self-talk occurs.
The blog is written by :
Yvonne King, Intern MFT