How do you talk to yourself? Are you even aware of what you are telling yourself?  Is your self-talk kind… until you make a mistake? Learn tips change the way you speak.

On Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be great to talk about self-love and for you to take a moment to think about how you talk to yourself. Is it kind self-talk or negative, berating talk?

Inspired because I used to be really horrible to myself when I would make a mistake. Like when I was learning excel and I’d get angry when I couldn’t do it right away. If it was my friend I’d say, “Be easy on yourself, you’re just learning. Why would I be so different to myself? 

We have thousands of thoughts a day and most likely the way we consciously talk to ourselves is the way we unconsciously talk to ourselves.

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For most of us, the pattern of self-talk we’ve developed is negative.  When we are kids we soak up stuff like sponges. I can still tell you about the mean parent who yelled at me in 4th grade and the unkind teachers. I had an art teacher who basically said I sucked. My mom discovered in her 50s she was a really good painter. In my 20s I took a painting class at adult ed and discovered I am pretty decent. Maybe when I retire, I’ll discover a talent. That art teacher sure put the kibosh on it early on though.

Sadly, we also remember the negative reactions from other children that diminished how we felt about ourselves. I was dumped by friends when transitioning to junior high from elementary school. It did a number on more for a long time.

I want to be clear. Talking kindly to yourself is NOT lying to yourself. positive self-talk is about recognizing the truth, in situations and in yourself. 

How to create positive self-talk

I know I sound like a broken record, but the first thing is awareness. How can you take action if you don’t know what you need to change?

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A common negative talk involves telling yourself “I can’t”. My brother does not let my nieces or nephew say they can’t, which I think is awesome.  When you say to yourself “I can’t” or “it is too difficult”, you create resistance.  Jung said it best. What you resist persists. This thought can prevent you from achieving what you would like to.

Anytime you catch yourself saying, “I can’t…” turn around and challenge your own claim with, “Why can’t I?”

When I was doing research, I had to laugh because someone else wrote about saying “cancel cancel” whenever they said something that wasn’t positive. I view it as telling the universe to cancel because what we put out there we get back.

There are times when we are challenged and our negative self-talk can really take a downward spiral.  What about when something bad happens, because let’s face it, it happens to all of us.

First, when the little setbacks of life happen don’t turn a molehill into a mountain. Say it’s a pain in the butt or a first world problem as one of my friends likes to post on Facebook, and then move forward.  For example, it’s flu season. If you get the flu don’t complain, “I always get sick.” Say, “It’s flu season lots of people are getting sick.  What action can I take to shorten the flu or take care of myself?”

What about when good things happen.  Do you acknowledge your hard work or do you chalk it up to luck? Internalize that success with some praise.

He thinks I am beautiful? Has he had his vision checked recently?  Instead, “I hope he asks me out because I think he is handsome.” 

Sometimes in social situations we can become self-deprecating.   I used to do this a lot. Self-deprecation isn’t an attractive quality.  As my self-esteem improved so did my comfort in social situations.

Instead of me saying, “I am not a fan of parties because I get so uncomfortable” I can turn it around with “I did feel a bit shy and awkward, but I met a potential client”.

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2. Positive Affirmations

I have started doing positive affirmations again. You are working on your subconscious mind when you say affirmations and allowing you the possibility to change your thoughts.

Say your affirmations daily, preferably repeatedly—I do when exercising.  Say it with feeling and emotions.

Here are some affirmations that may work with you.

Every day and every way I am getting better and better.

I am enough.

I am worthy.

I am loved.

I am capable.

I choose to be present in all that I do.

I am confident.

I always observe before reacting.

Each step is taking me to where I want to be.

Your self-talk creates your reality. Wouldn’t you like new thoughts and habits to help bring you what you DO want as opposed to what you don’t want?

Visualize

One thing I try and do is when I think of someone who annoys me our hurts me is to visualize something better.

Create a story with a positive outline.  Build on this story every day. It could be about a goal you would like to achieve, finding a romantic relationship, or making better food choices.  When you start playing this script over and over it is like you have already achieved.

Who are you surrounding yourself with?

We become like whom we hang with. Who is a negative influence on you?  May need to change friends. Don’t share your dreams with dream stealers.

Instead surround yourself with thoughts and actions from people who will empower you. Don’t have physically near you can find online.

What can you do right now?

If you find yourself becoming stuck, stop and say, “What can I do right now?” Change your internal talk from a future anxiety ridden one to one that is about the more manageable present. You cannot control what will happen in the future but you can take the necessary steps now that will build a better tomorrow. Taking the necessary steps require you to focus your thoughts and inner talk on now.

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Confront Fears

Ask yourself what you are afraid of. What can be the worst that can happen? Take a step-by-step approach in breaking down your fears and see if there is any way round to looking at things more positively. When you confront your fears, you will often realize that the worst-case scenario is not as bad as you think. In fact, the benefits of change are worth the risk. Your inner talk begins to change at this point.

Whose voice is that?

Most often not our voice as I talked about earlier. Write down some of the negative messages.  Be specific, and include anyone you remember saying or telling you something.

Next, counteract those negative messages with positive truths in your life.  It may take a while. Ask a trusted friend if you are struggling. For every negative message there is a positive truth. 

You may have a negative message that replays in your head every time you make a mistake.  I learned someone I knew from high school was told as a kid she would never amount to anything. She is now a flight Nurse Practioner. She obviously overcame the crap her mother told her.

If this happened to you when you make a mistake (which you will because we all do) override that message. Remember you have a CHOICE to do all of this.

 “I choose to accept and grow from my mistake” or “As I learn from my mistakes, I am becoming a better person.” 

Mistakes can then become opportunities to replace negative views of who you are with positive options. 

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Keep at It

Like anything, it takes time. You have to build those positive self-talk muscles. They aren’t going to appear overnight. Know you can change thought. Yes, you will have off days; get right back up in the saddle.

Take actions from today’s declutter your life blog:

  • Become aware of how you talk to yourself. Is it loving and encouraging or harsh and critical?
  • Create affirmations you can say daily.
  • Visualize achieving your dreams and goals.
  • Examine your relationships.  What steps can you take if you have negative relationships
  • Focus on the good stuff.
  • Keep at it!

Certified life coach, author & award-winning professional life organizer Julie Coraccio shares steps and tips to support you in creating the life you choose, deserve, and desire through decluttering your life, mindfulness, and how to organize your life.

About Clear Your Clutter Inside & Out Declutter Podcast

Clutter is stuck stagnant energy and prevents you from creating the life you choose, desire, and deserve. We discuss clutter in all its forms: energetic, spiritual, emotional, mental & physical, relationships, health, finances, and more. We share tips and take action steps for clutter-free living and how to organize your life and death with end-of-life planning. We’re thinking outside the box on areas where people might not realize where clutter is blocking them. When we remove clutter from our lives we can discover our passions, lead the extraordinary lives we are all meant to live, and share our gifts with the world.

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