Self-talk is one of the most common ways we used to program our minds. We often talk to ourselves inside our head and the what we told ourselves will greatly impact the decisions we make, and hence, influence our lives.
If you want to live a good life, you need to start managing your self-talk. Learn to get rid of all the negative self-talk so that you will fill your mind with all the positive and good thoughts that will encourage and keep you moving forward.
It is easy to understand. When you need to make a decision, you will think in your head and search through the answer to the decision that lies within your mind.
And if you are someone who is pessimistic, guess what, you will end up telling yourself something negative, and most likely, make a lousy decision that will impact your life negatively.
For example, if you get the opportunity to attend a free seminar because your friend falls sick and he decided to pass you his ticket, will you go for it?
Well, it depends. If you are someone who always thinks negatively, you may give up on the opportunity.
First, you don’t believe in seminars because you think that those gurus are nothing but money-sucker who just want to take away your money by selling you their courses in the seminar.
Second, you may think that if you take the ticket for free, you may need to repay your friend in the future.
Next, perhaps, you will think that you already know it all and there is nothing new to learn in the seminar.
This is the kind of negative mentality most people have.
And you need to learn how to manage them and then get rid of them. Here are 10 types of negative self-talks most people have. If you want to learn more about this subject, check out more examples from NickWignall.com.
And if you find yourself making any of these negative inner-talks, get rid of them. They will only stop you from moving forward in life.
1. Mind Reading
Mind reading is easy to understand. It is when you assume you know what other people are thinking about without any evidence.
In other words, you imagine what’s going on inside someone else’s head. You assume you already know what other people think about it, but in fact, it is just your own mind-reading-assumption.
Example: When you deliver a sales presentation to your client and your client keeps looking away or checking her phone, you assume in your mind that she’s not interested and you quickly finish your presentation.
Generalization is another habit of negative self-talk where we generalize that something is bound to happen in the future.
When you generalize, you make predictions based on your own experience or a piece of isolated evidence in the present.
Example: After you received the news your boss is going to promote someone else and not you, you may think that you’ll never be offered a promotion and even in future, you will have the same thinking.
Generalization can prevent you from reaching your goals. When you fail at your goals, you generalize and tell yourself that it is impossible because you have tried it.
You have to understand that the past is not the same as the future. When something happens, it doesn’t mean that it is going to happen again in the future.
If you try something and it doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean that it will not work an hour later. You just need to try again.
Magnification is the same as catastrophizing. You take your errors, mistakes, or failures, and magnify them.
Instead of focusing on the good things, you magnify on the small flaws or mistakes you make and make everything out of them.
Example: When you attend a party and you mistake someone’s name, you think to yourself that the person will not be interested or care about you anymore.
Never magnify your mistakes or errors. When you make a small mistake, admit it and learn from it. Even if you fail at something, you don’t have to magnify it think that the whole world is crumbling.
Errors, mistakes, and failures are inevitable. They are the experiences that will grow you and make you someone better.
Minimization is the opposite of magnification. This is where you minimize your strengths or positive qualities.
If you always feel inferior or that you are not good enough, perhaps, it is because you always minimize your positive qualities.
Example: You score A’s in your exam, but instead of celebration, you feel inferior by thinking that you got the wrong answer for the easiest question on the exam.
Never minimize your own strengths and capabilities. People who always talk to themselves this way will never deliver great results in their lives.
They postpone their happiness by focusing on the negatives and they tend to always feel that they are not good enough.
5. Emotional Reasoning
Another common negative self-talk most people have is giving themselves negative thoughts based on their feelings and emotions.
When this happens, you make a decision based on your emotions. And this is why procrastination happens.
Example: You know you need to work out in the gym, but you tell yourself you don’t feel like exercising and hence, you procrastinate.
Yes, our emotions and how we feel are important, but when it comes to making the right decision, you should never let your emotions cloud your mind.
6. Black and White Thinking
Black and white thinking is the kind of thinking where you tend to evaluate things in terms of extreme categories.
This type of negative self-talk and thinking will only bring you disappointment. Instead of appreciating the effort you have poured in and the progress you have made, you tell yourself something negative like you’re not good enough.
Example: After you fail to secure a sale from a client, you tell yourself that you’re such a failure, even if you have done your best and put in 100%.
Remember, not everything needs to be in black or white. Sometimes, you should be more optimistic and appreciate yourself of who you are.
Taking responsibility is good, but you shouldn’t overdo it too. Personalization is when you assume too much responsibility even for things that you can’t control.
When you try to personalize everything and hold yourself responsible, you will feel stress and always in the anxiety mood.
Example: Your colleague makes a mistake on her report and ended up being scolded by your boss, and you feel bad because you think that if you have gone through the report with her yesterday, this would never happen.
Sometimes, there are things that we can’t control, and you can’t do anything about.
For instance, you can’t control how I think. Hence, you don’t have to feel upset about what I said.
You certainly can’t control the weather and the economy too. Therefore, stop feeling stressed when it rains. Instead, learn to dance in the rain.
8. Fortune Telling
Like generalization, fortune-telling is negative self-talk where you think negatively based on little or no evidence.
While generalization is the expectations based on an isolated current event, fortune telling is making a negative prediction without real evidence.
Example: You muster your courage and ask a girl out for a date and got rejected, and you think to yourself that she isn’t interested with you.
Well, there are many reasons why the girl rejects you. Maybe it is not the right time or maybe she’s busy and onto something.
So, don’t make the predictions without any real supporting evidence.
How can you tell if you are going to fail or succeed? You can’t. The only way to tell is to do it.
Labeling is another common negative self-talk that people often used. It is a way of describing yourself in a negative way.
Example: After you have passed for a promotion, you tell yourself that you’re a loser.
Stop labeling yourself negatively. Your identity and how you look at yourself say a lot about the results you get in life.
If you want to win in the game of life, make sure you adopt the mentality of a champion and look at yourself as one. Stop labeling and telling yourself that you’re a loser or a failure.
Change how you label yourself and your thinking will change. When your thinking changes, so with your life.
10. Using the “Should” Statements
Using the “should” or “should not” statements are also a kind of negative self-talk. We use these statements to tell ourselves what we should or should not be doing.
The more you use the Should Statement, the more you will feel frustrated, anxiety, and even resentment.
Think about it, you will blame yourself if you say that you should do it better or should not have done something.
The Should Statements are nothing but a false expectation that we should have more certainty that we do.
Example: After missing the deadline for your goal, you tell yourself that you should have worked harder and put in more effort, but it is too late now.
What you can do to remove your negative self-talk
Now that you understand the types of negative self-talk and how they can affect you and your life.
What you need to do next is to try your best to get rid of them. This is not easy especially if it has become a deeply rooted habit of yours.
Here’s what you can do to remove the negative self-talk you have with you:
1. Be aware
The first step is to know that you are making a negative statement in your head. You can’t get rid of something negative if you don’t know you are making in the first place.
Hence, the first step you need to take is to raise your own awareness of how you think and talk to yourself.
Stay conscious about the way you think and catch yourself making these negative thoughts.
2. Distract the pattern
Once you caught yourself making the negative self-talk, you need to do something to distract the thought. You don’t want it to continue and become a habit. You want to distract it so that your mind will never talk to yourself the same way again.
For instance, when you discover yourself making negative statements in your head, distract the pattern by shouting “Cancel” out loud.
3. Replace with a positive self-talk
The final step is to replace your negative self-talk with a positive one.
Remember the old Cherokee story of the 2 wolves?
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Create your own mantra or positive affirmations to replace your negative self-talk.
When you caught yourself talking in your head negatively, change the conversation. Instead of saying things like you’re a loser or a failure, tell yourself that failure builds your character or that you are destined for big success.
If you need more help, read this article from Huffington Post:
I hope this article can help you identify the common negative self-talk that you used to talk to yourself.
And I want to end this article with this quote below:
“You can’t litter negativity everywhere and then wonder why you’ve got a trashy life.”