Self-Talk, What Is It?
Most people engage in some form of self-talk, the internal and external dialogue with oneself. Sound strange? Well, self-talk, if used positively helps to calm yourself down, remind you of an important deadline or encourage you to do your best. Some people use self-talk for positive affirmations, that is, repeating out loud positive daily affirmative statements. These affirmations build self-confidence, boost feelings of self-worth and ignite self-love.
What is the Inner Critic?
Negative self-talk plagues thousands of people who are held back, both physically and psychologically from reaching their deepest desires. I call this the Inner Critic. Most people want to do something challenging, courageous and bodacious in their lives, but their inner critic holds them back each and every time. The inner critic builds challenging obstacles and psychological prisons that prevent action, innovative ideas, or creative contributions from ever getting off the ground. This internal voice repeats negative messages like a broken record. These messages often date back many years, sometimes as far back as childhood, that tell you all the wrong things that keep you stuck and unfulfilled. This record plays over and over again repeating the self-limiting beliefs that prevent you from meeting your goals. These self-limiting beliefs often create self-sabotaging behaviors that block you from the successful life or business you've always dreamed of.
Where Does Negative Self Talk Come From?
So where does this negative self-talk, which I call the Inner Critic, come from? Self-talk most often begins in childhood during playtime. Think about when kids are talking about how to put their Legos together or when they are building cabins with wooden logs. Children are often observed giving themselves verbal direction and instruction, encouraging themselves along the way. Unfortunately this developmental milestone is often thwarted by angry adults who abruptly interrupt the children in their natural self-instruction. Often parents, teachers, or caretakers are prone to outbursts or show impatience that set children up for long lasting patterns of negative defeatist self-talk. This negativity is unfortunately reinforced by the child itself as the child develops. The child’s internal monologue then becomes corrupted as the negativity of others is accepted as their very own belief system.
Talk To Yourself in Third Person
An article in Psychology Today entitled ‘The Voice of Reason’ by Pamela Weintraub, reported on a study of Self Talk by Psychologist Ethan Kross. Kross found that the way “people conduct their inner monologues has an enormous effect on their success in life”. He goes on to suggest, “Talk to yourself with the pronoun I, for instance, and you’re likely to fluster and perform poorly in stressful circumstances. Address yourself by your name and your chances of acing a host of tasks, from speech making to self-advocacy, suddenly soar”. That’s great news for those of you who get strange looks from your family or loved ones when you say out loud “Michelle, why did you make that left turn back there!” Speaking to yourself in this manner creates a psychological distance between you and your behavior. It's less harsh, less judgmental and ultimately more palatable to your self-esteem.
Embrace Your Inner Coach
I have good news for you! The good news is that the inner critic is not you. You don’t have to live with it anymore or at least you can learn how to allow better, more productive thoughts to impact the direction of your life. You no longer have to allow your inner critic to incite fear and uncertainty in your inner monologue. Those negative beliefs are just old useless programming that you accepted about yourself based on something that happened many years ago. You can acknowledge the existence of the inner critic, but you don’t have to accept what it says as your own truth. It does not represent who you really are!
Your subconscious mind can be reconditioned to accept new, productive and positive thoughts. This can be done through meditation, daily affirmations, and hypnosis. You can adopt uplifting ideas, and life affirming statements that are more in line with your true self. I call this your Inner Coach. Your inner coach is that kind, wise and gentle friend that is supportive, encouraging and loving. Create Your Own Inner Coach to remind you of your achievements, accomplishments and special attributes that are uniquely yours. Everyone needs an inner coach why not you?