Why self-talk matters
Category: Communicating with yourself
Do you tell yourself stories about what is, has or will happen? Or provide yourself with a running commentary as you go about your daily business?
That’s self-talk … the voice in your head … what you say to yourself, whether positive or negative, can boost or undermine your confidence. And unless you question it you will just believe what it says to be true.
Self-talk is more often than not, quite negative. That’s because we tend to focus on the negative (with good reason in that you’re hard wired to try to stay alive) and today’s reactions will be based on our experiences from the past. And it stands to reason that if you naturally concentrate on the negative, then the memories we build our experiences on are more likely to be the negative ones too.
There are many ways this self-talk can manifest itself. It could be something as stark as “I never get that right” or maybe you tend to discount what you’ve done “It was OK but anyone could have done it”. The first step to making sure your self-talk isn’t undermining you is to question your thoughts as they occur. Unless you start doing this, they will remain unchanged and will continue to impact the way you feel about yourself and what’s going on around you.
So, start to challenge your thinking. Ask yourself is it really true or an old story I tell myself? Look for the evidence … and maybe, would you say the same thing to a friend?
If it’s true then you can decide if there is something you can do to change the situation … if you want to … ask yourself who you know who can help you, or if there’s a course you can attend (or even would joining the Communication Academy help)?
If it’s not really true and you can find no evidence then ask yourself where the story has come from? Our self-talk is formed by our values and beliefs and these are created by the people we have met, our upbringing and experiences. Maybe you need to consider changing the narrative.
As the internationally renowned mindfulness and meditation teacher Melli O’Brien says … “The problem is not that we have negative thoughts. The problem comes when we believe our thoughts are true.“