There was a time when I was my most ruthless critic. I over analyzed anything from a brief social interaction, to my career choices; asking myself “why are you so awkward?” “why are you so trash right now?” “Why arnt you further ahead?”. Looking back I can say that I was unreasonable and unrealistic with the expectations that I was holding over my own head. It was in part due to my lack of self esteem at that time, as well as my ignorance of the real power of speaking and thinking things into existence. In my head I should have had my own business, car and apartment by the time I was 22. Instagram models do it everyday, so why couldn’t I? I felt immature for ever feeding into those false expectations. By eliminating negative self-talk I was able to appreciate my current state of being, while also growing strong enough mentally to work toward my goals. When I catch myself in the middle of negative self-talk I:
Praying is the answer for just about anything. When I’m in a negative place I love to speak to my Father God about it. He’s the most compassionate, non-judgmental person I’ll ever have the pleasure of speaking with, and on top of that, he wants nothing but the best for me. A prayer doesn’t always have to be one of those formal “Father who art in heaven” type prayers. It’s perfectly fine to tap in with God like you would your earthly parents; with a nice “Hi dad, I’m just not feeling great right now, I’m going through XYZ and it’s making me doubt myself”. This allows God in to your heart and mind, to help you have a more positive perspective.
List Everything I am Grateful for
One of my favorite ways to combat negative self talk is with all the things I’m grateful for. I may be disappointed that I don’t have the car that I want, but I am grateful for my safe neighborhood that I’m comfortable walking around in, the easy access to public transportation, and the money I’ve been saving on gas to put toward buying a new car. Once I’ve listed everything I have to appreciate, it’s hard for me to dwell on the negative, and easier for me to focus on how to achieve my intended goal.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep how far you’ve come in perspective when all you can think about is where you are trying to go, or where you are now. I have to constantly remind myself that I am currently doing things, have possessions and have become the person that I prayed for only a few years ago. Looking at how far I’ve come helps me see how capable I truly am.
Repeat Positive affirmations
Sticky notes on the wall reminding you that you’re beautiful may seem cliche, but constant reminders of your great attributes, and bright future do wonders for your confidence. These reminders also help you keep a positive perspective. Even if you don’t believe yourself at first, continue to repeat affirmations in your head until there’s no room for negative self talk.
Examples of positive affirmations are: “I am great, and capable of achieving my goals”, “I worked hard to get here and I do belong”, “All my work will pay off”, “the only approval that matters is God’s”.
Focus on Your Breathing
When your mind is filled with negativity, sometimes it’s most beneficial to just take a step back. Self doubt is heavy on the heart, so focusing on something light, like your breathing is a great distraction. Taking deep breaths while repeating the words “breath in, breath out” in your head will not only slow your thoughts down, but relax the tight feeling we often feel in our chest when ugly emotions arise. Do this as long as you need to, until you feel the weight lifted from you.