Self-talk is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to dramatically change the way we live our lives. And yet we pay so little attention to it, never mind actually trying to change the topic of conversation.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a few handy pointers to help you tap into your inner dialogue and take back control of your daily narrator.
Question your thoughts
It’s important to understand that what you say to yourself is not necessarily the truth. But first, you need to listen to what exactly your inner voice is saying. Begin by actively listening out for that voice, and noting what it is saying.
Next, how exactly are these thoughts being presented? Is it with kindness? Confidence? Jealousy? Disgust? Name the emotions and tones and accompany these thoughts, and see if you can identify any patterns or running themes.
Evaluate your self-talk
And now, we analyse our data: what is being said along with how it’s being conveyed. Questions to help you with your analysis:
- How much is positive vs negative?
- Is it based on fact, assumption, or emotion?
- Are you being kind to yourself?
- How does it make you feel?
When you really zoom out and look at your inner conversations objectively, it’s surprising what you can find. Many people are quite taken aback by just how negative, judgmental, and angry their self-talk is.
Imagine spending every waking moment with a grumpy, angry, toxic individual who followed you around, berated you, shouted at you, and pressed all of your emotional buttons. It wouldn’t be long until you asked them to kindly sod off. So why do we put up with it inside our own heads?
Hold your voice accountable
Now that we are armed with the facts, we can begin to steer the conversation away from anything that does not serve us. You need to agree right now that you will not accept any self-talk that hurts or damages you. After all, if someone was hurling abuse at a friend, wouldn’t you step in and tell them to stop?
Be that friend for yourself.
Reset and reawaken
It doesn’t change overnight, and takes a lot of energy and active listening to change your self-talk, but the more you practice, the easier and faster the process becomes.
If you’ve been huddled in a corner, paralysed by your own toxic self-talk, take comfort in the fact that it no longer has the same power it once did. And ever so slowly, you might begin to unfurl, rise, and live in an internal space where you are treated with the kindness and gentle love that you deserve.