Consider the last time you gave yourself a pep talk. Did it actually help? How was the conversation? Was it actually useful, or did it lean towards being less constructive? Perhaps part of the conversation was focused on the negative aspects of your life? Would we allow a friend to talk to us the way we have these internal conversations? I hope not.
So, why do we allow what I refer to as the “negative friend” to infiltrate any of our conversations? In real life, we would probably not be friends with someone who talked to us this way, or at least our tolerance level wouldn’t permit us to spend much time with them.
I normally do not write about topics which have a negative tone. However, the reason I decided to write about this is to help influence and point out how people first need to recognize this is something they are doing. As you know, we can only fix things when we are aware there is a problem, and this is increasingly becoming a more common problem I am seeing that people are struggling with.
To address the challenge of helping people who are having negative internal conversations, I chose to write about how they can work towards reducing, and hopefully eliminating this behavior as their ultimate goal. Yes, I’m sure you know some people who seem to relish living in what I’ll call their constant “pity parties”, but it’s possible they are doing this without being aware of this tendency. Does this seem absurd? Potentially, but I guarantee you know at least one person who behaves this way.
How do people end up becoming the friend they would never pick? Numerous ways, including becoming accustomed to accepting this thinking as acceptable. It’s not, and it can be exhausting for both the person experiencing it, as well as others they have talked to about their thinking.
Like habits, if we are willing to first accept the challenge of breaking or starting a good habit, it will take time to do so. Potentially as long as six weeks, but it will be worth it.
Assuming you are up for the challenge of changing your internal negative self-talk, or helping someone who is, here are some ways to go about doing so.
- Be honest with yourself about how often you beat yourself up mentally with your negative self-talk.
- How long would you put up with an actual friend talking to you the way you talk to yourself?
- When you catch yourself beginning to go down the negativity path, pause and think about why you are doing this?
- Consider when you are caught up in your negative self-talking what you are actually accomplishing? Do you really think you deserve to be spoken that way?
- Work on finding ways to improve your confidence. Literally in doing anything well, even as something as simple as taking care of your teeth better. We can all do this. After you have taken some extra time to care for your teeth, outwardly tell yourself how amazing it is that you are starting to take such great care of your dental hygiene.
- Hearing ourselves talk positively out loud is equivalent to someone else giving you praise. Most humans will benefit from praise, even if it comes from ourselves.
- Keep track and write down how often you are negatively interacting with yourself. You might be surprised in one hour how often this is happening. Remember, to change our behaviors, we have to be aware of them.
- At the end of the day, review how many times you caught yourself being negative with your thoughts. Is there something going on in your life that is contributing to this happening so frequently?
- Ask someone you trust whether they find themselves struggling with negative self-talk. You will be surprised how many people have this experience.
- If after trying some of these suggestions for a couple of weeks and you are not experiencing a reduction in how often you are negatively talking to yourself, consider talking to a professional therapist or counselor to help you.
No one should have to feel like they are stuck with living with a personality or behaviors they wouldn’t tolerate from others treating them that way. Given all of the stress our global society is experiencing right now, the last thing we need to be dealing with is making our own lives more difficult to deal with. Not that you need permission, but you do have a choice to be happy, and I hope this is a choice you are able to and want to make. Stay healthy everyone, both physically and mentally.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019), and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.
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