What is Self-Talk?
How often do you think about the ways you speak to yourself? When faced with an unfortunate circumstance, a setback, challenge, or difficult moment how do you respond or reflect on it? How can you become more active in managing or controlling your mental approach to hardships, triggers, or difficulties? The daily dialogues you have with yourself are the most powerful steps in improving your mental well being. Changing how you speak, manifest, affirm or declare ideas and reflections have the potential to alter how you view and approach negativity. Therefore, as we debate, struggle, or even celebrate mentally, self-talk is how we are processing what goes on around us. What is self-talk?
Self-talk is reflective of how we see ourselves in our circumstances. If we feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or depressed, those feelings will continue to overcome us until we get a hold of a more positive and workable view of our current state. How do we flip a negative self-image or view to a workable one?
The Toxic Perfectionist
When first introduced to the phrase “self-talk,” I sat anxiously in a counselor’s office while in college. Unaware of how self-talk affected my daily activities; the ways I spoke about myself reflected my daily thoughts. Quickly noticing the pattern, my counselor intervened every time I bullied my academic and personal progress. She showed me how my language and self-talk sabotaged my mental health. Instead of being proud of my achievements I would comment with phrases such as “I need to do better,” “That’s just who I am,” ” I’m failing,” I’m not good enough,””I have too much to do, but I feel like I can’t do it,” what’s wrong with me?” “I have to finish,” I have to fix myself.”
The more negativity I fed myself, the more I was unable to see a workable view of my anxious and depressive thoughts. My anxiety and depression continued to build because of the continuous negative self-talk I grew up maintaining. I fed my urge to remain the best; I pushed myself past my limits, forced myself to finish everything, added more than I needed to most of the time, and did not accept any grades under an A-. I was a toxic perfectionist.
Now that I’m aware of the dangers of negative self-talk, I work more diligently and actively to flip, switch, and change how I approach overwhelming situations. I think twice about how I view working, writing, and accepting new opportunities (since I’m no longer in school). I make sure I’m being more gentle and kind to myself in general as well. In order to maintain an approachable and more workable stance to challenges, I am changing how I see myself in each moment. I see myself in power and not in defeat. I see what I can do instead of what I can’t.
Here are some ways you too can switch up and subdue your mental bully by changing phrases you may think of everyday:
Try to manipulate and change your mental language in order to further improve your mental health for yourself too. What are some phrases you can change to better approach a difficult or challenging situation? How can you control or manage the situation better by the ways you think and see yourself in it? What does your self-talk look like now that you are switching it up?