We all talk to ourselves inside our heads. It’s not madness! We all have an inner narrative going on, sometimes in the background; at other times taking over all our attention.
Sometimes the voice is:
You may not be aware of the massive impact this voice, this narrative, has on your mood, your confidence levels, your entire sense of self. Having worked as a therapist for 20 years, I can promise you it is crucially important. When you are depressed, anxious, angry, overwhelmed, stressed…struggling in any way, your self-talk is active in a way that is usually not helpful at all. In this short article, I will guide you to a greater understanding of your self-talk and what to do about it so that you can build lasting self-confidence.
The first big question is, How do you speak to yourself when something goes wrong?
Identify some of the things you say to yourself, and the tone of voice used.
Notice how you stress yourself out, bring awareness to the impact this type of self-talk has on you.
To help you build awareness of your inner voice, try out the following:
•Reality test 1 – if I followed you around for a day and said all the things to you that you normally say to yourself, what would you think of me??
If you’re wondering whether it’s ok to say something to yourself, use:
Reality test 2 – would it be ok to say this to a beloved child/friend? If I did say it to them, what might the consequence be?
•Reality Test 3 – if unsure about your self-talk, use the filter ‘Is this useful?’ i.e… Is what you’re doing helping you go in the right direction.
My Top Tips
- Begin to bring awareness to your self-talk. If you’re feeling bad, start noticing what stories you’re telling yourself in your head. Notice the tone you are using on yourself.
- If you wouldn’t speak to someone else that way, STOP. You are no worse than anyone else, so don’t speak that way to yourself.
- If the way you speak to yourself would not build confidence or happiness in anyone else, it’s not going to work for you either. Let go of the harsh inner critic, it never helped anyone gain confidence or get better.
- Imagine what you might say to a friend or loved one who was in the same situation. De-personalise it to make it easier to imagine how you should speak to yourself.
- If what you are saying is not helpful, ask yourself What would be most useful now?? This gets the solution-focused part of your brain working for you.
- Begin to be your own best friend. After all, you are the only person you have to spend every minute of the rest of your life with, so YOU are your most important relationship!
Improve your Self-Talk, grow your awareness & see the difference in your own happiness!