Negative Self-Talk: Words Matter
So, what is self-talk? Is that when I get caught talking to myself in the hallway, the gym or the grocery store? Well to be honest, it could be but a better definition is the internal conversations, critiques or "chatter" we have with ourselves either silently or out loud. It is the place where our unconscious thoughts, biases and fears meet our conscious feelings and beliefs. At times, we can be our own worst critic and then get lost in a sea of our "too's." You know the too's.. too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too frizzy, too stupid, too awkward, too forward...too much. All those thoughts can play in our heads over and over and if we are not careful we will start to believe that is all we are. Negative self-talk and thoughts left unchecked can contribute to stress, depression, sickness, poor self-esteem, poor job performance and the list can go on and on.
Words are powerful. Proverbs 18:21 states that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” That means the words we think and speak have power. If we "speak death" or negativity over a situation how can we have hope of a positive outcome? Our words can influence our outcomes and perceptions. Did you feel encouraged to try or feel defeated before you began? We need to be mindful of what we say to ourselves. Feeling unusually unhappy, depressed or having anxiety can all signal a negativity problem in our thought patterns. We keep replaying situations over and over in our head and wonder why we can't get past it. It is like a constantly ripping a bandage off a wound and wondering why it will not heal.
It is extremely important to become aware of that nasty negativity and replace it with positive, encouraging affirmations. You can start by keeping track of your self-talk. Make note of all the complaints, pessimistic, critical or negative thoughts about yourself for two days. If you don't like what you see endeavor to change it. Challenge those thoughts. Are they realistic? Start re-framing your internal environment with positive truths about you, your life and situation. No, I’m not saying fill yourself with falsehoods or puffed up perceptions but look for the positives. “I was rejected and it hurt but I am not a reject.” See what I mean? Instead of your words being a destructive weapon allow them to build you up. We tend to think in extremes when judging ourselves. There is no amount of outside encouragement that can defeat your biggest influence, you. We are the voice we hear most often so we have to pay attention to what we are saying. Philippians 4:8 reminds us to think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable or praiseworthy. It may not be easy but it will be worth it.
You can do it, you are stronger than you think and loved beyond measure.