5 WAYS TO FIGHT NEGATIVE SELF TALK
THE ROOT OF NEGATIVE SELF TALK
HOW IT BEGINS
At 12 years old, I started hearing the words, “you’re fat!” I never really thought I was fat until those words started coming to me on a consistent basis. After a while, you begin to believe it and that’s what leads to toxicity and negative self talk.
It was easy to start comparing my body to my peers and I started to think that I was a bit heavier than them. Body image was the beginning of it all. So, I decided to become a vegetarian because I thought that would help me lose weight.
When it didn’t, I started chewing food and spitting it out. After that didn’t help me lose weight, I started counting calories and starving myself. Then, I overate and suffered from emotional eating.
The bullying got worse in school. I started getting called ugly, stupid, told that I’m an airhead, I was laughed at and became painfully shy. I was afraid to speak.
I developed such severe anxiety and depression that it lead to an eating disorder. I truly hated myself for no reason. Just because of what I heard at school at such a young age.
There was an event that all of my friends and classmates went to one weekend in 8th grade. This was right before our school trip to Washington D.C., and my “roommates” for the trip came up to me and said that there wasn’t room for me in the hotel room. They told me that I could sleep in the bathtub if I wanted though.
How nice, right? I didn’t end up going on the trip.
No matter what coping mechanism I tried, nothing worked. Everyday became more and more difficult and I remember feeling like I was falling into a black hole.
This is how my negative self talk began.
Fortunately, I had a caring and loving family that tried their best to help. They took me to therapy, I was on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication and nothing seemed to work, you know?
My inner voice would tell me how stupid I was, that I was disgustingly ugly and fat, that no one likes me and no one loves me.
THIS WAS MY DAILY MANTRA.
The interesting thing is that I never saw myself as the victim. My mantra never included, “I’ll never be anything.” I hate that victim mentality, yet I suffered with negative self talk because I wanted to be better.
That’s a story for another day.
After many years of this, I finally had my “aha” moment at 19 years old at the University of Arizona.
I was so sick and tired of hating myself.
I was so sick and tired of feeling like absolute sh*t everyday.
…and I knew that my reasoning was invalid.
My reasoning came from within. Because of what I CHOSE to tell myself from learned behavior and poor habits, ok?
HOW TO SHIFT YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS
I asked myself the following question in Tucson, Arizona:
“If I could do anything right now, what would it be?”
I read about this exercise somewhere online!
I just wasn’t happy and my gut feeling knew that my path needed to change despite what everyone else was doing. It was time to put myself first and my own mental health to live a happy life.
My answer was to move to Miami Beach. So, I left college and pursued my purpose.
It was that exact moment that I decided to start loving myself and take control over my life. I’m not sure what lead to that “aha” moment, but it happened and I’m grateful. There are still moments where I doubt myself and struggle internally, and that is NORMAL, but these tips have been a game changer for me.
I hope you find this valuable!
HOW TO SILENCE YOUR INNER ASSHOLE
CREATE NEW MANTRAS
My mantras were so negative and detrimental to my mental health. We are constantly repeating things to ourselves in our minds all day long. Those negative thoughts that we are repeating can truly sink us and make us feel unworthy, sad, depressed and anxious.
The first step to making this change is to rewire what you say to yourself. Create new, positive messages that you tell yourself every morning when you wake up. You can use these throughout the day, before you go to sleep, before meetings and events.
Battle your old thoughts and create new ones.
“You ARE enough.”
“You ARE brave.”
“You ARE strong.”
“You ARE beautiful.”
“You CAN do this.”
“I AM worthy.”
TRY THIS EXERCISE:
Something that really helped me with this process was a simple exercise that you can do everyday. Because the truth is that these habits don’t change overnight.
Start your day with meditation.
What I like to do is sit somewhere comfortable, rest my hands and feet on the ground, take a few deep breaths and repeat my new mantras. It helps me to set the intention for the day.
After I do that, I journal. There are many ways to journal. Journal about what you’re feeling, a specific emotion and work through it. Give yourself 10-15 minutes everyday to try this exercise. This will help you to recognize your emotions, slow down and be mindful so that you can make the change.
When you catch those old thoughts running through your mind, replace them. Be patient with yourself. This takes time. You are forming new and better habits!
WRITE YOURSELF A LOVE LETTER
This is one of my favorite tools. On a day where you are feeling happy, go ahead and write yourself a kind letter to yourself. A love letter!
Talk about what you love about yourself, what your dreams are, what you are going after in life and why you KNOW that you deserve to feel fulfilled. Talk about all of your amazing qualities and what you are grateful for.
You can write this however you’d like, but create an inspirational letter that you can read from yourself on a bad day. Or, on a day where you are immersed in the negative self talk. There is something truly special about opening a letter from yourself on a crappy day that came from a day when things were looking great. It’s empowering!
WRITE YOURSELF A LETTER IN THE VOICE OF SOMEONE YOU LOVE
Sometimes we can’t take our own advice. It’s easier for some people to hear it from the ones we truly trust. Who influence us the most and are there to support us.
Out of the thousands of people in this world, who is that person for you?
Pick that one person. Maybe it’s your mom, dad, sibling, grandparent or friend. Write yourself a letter from their point of view. In their voice. How they speak. Write what they would tell you.
What do they want for you?
What do they see in you?
What is the advice that they give to you?
Whenever you feel that negative self talk coming on, read that out loud as a reminder of who you are, what you are capable of and that you are worthy! No matter how bad you might be feeling, it’s always nice to hear these things about yourself from people that you trust and love.
LOOK FOR THE POSITIVES IN LIFE & SITUATIONS
It can be easy to get caught up in the negative aspects of life, right?
HERE’S A STORY FOR YOU
My boyfriend’s mom came here from Spain when she was in her 20’s. She didn’t speak a word of English and said that for the first few years she stayed home because she didn’t know what to do. She moved here for my boyfriend’s dad and really struggled. This caused her to strongly dislike Miami. It was hard to meet friends, she didn’t know how to find a job and that didn’t help her feel any better.
Today, she is fluent in English. She speaks beautifully and is a Spanish teacher at one of the best private schools in South Florida.
She told me that it got to a point where she knew she needed to do something different. She started learning English.
She then shifted her perspective, would go out and LITERALLY start saying to herself:
“Those palm trees are beautiful.”
“Look at how nice that neighborhood is!”
“I really love the beach here.”
What she did was point out the positives. What she liked. She made the best of it.
As she started pointing out the positive things every single day, she began to see more positives to living in Miami. It got her out of her own head and helped her to find happiness in her current state.
I found this to be absolutely inspiring, so I started to do the same!
STOP MIND READING
“Mind reading is assuming we understand what other people are thinking without any real evidence.” - Nick Wignall
Have you ever experienced this?
We assume that we know exactly what is going on in someone else’s head, but that is biased based on our negative self talk. This assumption is usually incorrect, and you know what they say about people who assume…
They make an ass out of u and me.
The issue is that we tend to imagine the negative without even exploring other alternatives to the situation. So, before we can even communicate, the story has already been developed in our minds.
FOR EXAMPLE: Your significant other was on their phone at dinner, so there must be something wrong with the relationship or he/she is cheating. What if he/she was responding to a work email OR dealing with a lot of stress?
Stop mind reading. When you catch yourself doing this, I want you to actually tell yourself ( in your head ) STOP. You can do this out loud if you’d like. Whatever works!
This is something that I learned a while back. Repeating the word, “STOP” in your head over and over will not only slow down your thought process, but interrupt it.
Learn to communicate and never assume because you might find yourself pleasantly surprised that your negative story was wrong.
Practice awareness. Practice mindfulness. Learn to take a step back. Shift the way that you talk to yourself. Acknowledge your feelings, feel them and let them pass.
The best thing that you can do to put an end to negative self talk is to understand that it might still happen. BUT - if you work at new and positive habits everyday, you will begin to see your life transform.
How do you deal with negative self talk? Let me know in the comments!