Negative self-talk is pervasive among many people in the world nowadays.
Whether it involves self-criticism, fear about future events, or regretting the past, such talk can sabotage progress, force you to see the world more cynically, and leave you feeling extremely hopeless and helpless. The way we talk to ourselves does not just mirror how we see the world, but it also deeply affects it, often leading to a disastrous cycle of dark interpretations that make us feel crushed and more likely to create additional problems for ourselves.
There are various areas of self-talk, but here we will cover the five main ones while also looking at some ways to counter them.
1. The “Always or Never” self-talk
Thoughts like, “I will never accomplish my career goals, “No one cares about me,” or, “I’ll always mess up, no matter what.” are not only damaging to your happiness, they are also not based in reality.
It is not true that nobody cares about you, or that you will never accomplish anything (for the second one all you need to do is be hard-working and persistent). Try to understand that you are the one who is creating the situations you are in and that you can change them. You are in charge of your own destiny.
This is when you are so focused on seeing all that is bad in the world, you’re blinding yourself to see the good.
But in reality, life isn’t all bad, just as it isn’t all good. It’s a mixture of both. There are positive and negative sides to pretty much everything.
And since you get to pick what side you can focus on, why not focus on the positive?
It will have a much better impact on your health and the overall quality of your life if you do.
3. Predicting disasters
This is when you envision the worst possible outcome in any situation and persuade yourself it is unavoidable – usually without sufficient facts to back it up.
For instance, you start imagining that you are going to be fired from your job, or that WW3 will start this year, even when there is no solid evidence that supports your prediction.
Despite your own knowledge that the worst-case scenario rarely ever happens, you keep acting like it’s just a matter of time and you allow it to dictate your thoughts and actions.
The truth is, we can never know what the future holds – and history proves that worst-case scenarios rarely manifest into reality. So why break your head about something that has not happened and most likely never will?
You will accomplish much more if you just try to focus on what is actually happening in the now and in the task at hand.
4. You think you’re a mind reader
This is a tricky one. In this case, you tell yourself that you know what another person is thinking and feeling about you – and it is usually never good.
Do you ever find yourself fighting in your head with someone? Do you picture them saying a variety of horrible things that frustrate you, drive you crazy, or cause you pain and make you feel ashamed about yourself?
Congratulations, you’re a fake mind reader.
In reality, you have absolutely no clue what goes on in the head of that person. But you tell yourself you do – and you let this false belief damage your relationships.
You are not a psychic. The only way to truly know what a person is thinking is to ask them and have an honest talk about it. That is the only way you will form lasting and meaningful relationships.
5. Blaming yourself for all and everything
You keep thinking of all the bad things you’ve ever done, all the things that ever made you feel guilty or ashamed, and you let them define your perception of who you are.
You tell yourself that you’re a terrible person and someone who doesn’t deserve love, respect, happiness, or success.
And so, before you’ve even started, you’ve given up.
Many people go through their lives in agony and ultimately waste them because of their feelings of guilt over things they did decades ago – destroyed their relationship due to substance abuse, caused unwanted pain to someone, went to jail, or convinced themselves that only if they did things differently, they would not have lost the relative they so much loved.
The truth is, we have ALL done things we deeply regret.
But you should never allow that to pain your whole life red.
Do not let it define who you are and remember all the good things you did in life.
Focus on the positive things and start to view yourself as a good person who has made errors but is also capable of achieving wonderful things.
Don’t deny yourself a good life; after all, it is only one.
We hope this article helped you raise your head and see yourself in a more positive light. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts on the subject in the comment section.