Mission Blog: Positive Self Talk
Whether we are aware of it or not, we’re almost always narrating life’s events as they happen. This is how we make sense of the world. We are great storytellers, and we weave events together, often filling in the blanks as we need to make a coherent story.
This is great for the most part, except when we start to fill in negative details and treat ourselves too harshly.
Have you ever had the experience of replaying a negative memory in your mind? Maybe it’s a difficult conversation you just had or the remembrance of a particularly embarrassing or painful situation. As you re-run the experience, what is your inner voice saying? Does it judge you or condemn you?
Re-Write the Negative
For the most part, if we were to analyse our own inner voice, we will find that we mostly criticise ourselves. We are either unhappy with the way we look, tell ourselves we are not good enough or become pessimistic when we consider what our future might look like.
What if we flipped the narrative? Instead of filling our minds with negative self-talk, why not try the following instead:
- Learn how you can rewrite a negative script to become your own best coach.
- Challenge any negative thoughts you automatically generate by asking yourself where the evidence is for what you believe about yourself.
- Question where this belief comes from and whether it could be wrong.
- Ask yourself if you would say the same thing to a friend or someone you care about.
- Reframe anything that is negative or neutral to a positive thought.
Practical Tips to Stay Positive
- Instead of saying, “I hate my hair”, you might say something a little less negative like, “I’m annoyed by my hair”, or even “I have different hair than some people I know”.
Try saying: “My hair is the same as some people I know, and there are some people who think my hair is beautiful”. Finally, say, “I think my hair is beautiful!”
- If you find yourself saying: “I’m not smart enough”, replace it with, “I know more now than I did a year ago”, or “I’ll learn more over the next month than what I know now”. By reframing any negative thoughts and substituting them with neutral words, then positive ones, you can change your own mindset about the many insecurities you hold about yourself.
- Identify limiting statements and change them to limitless or capability statements. Instead of saying, “I’ll never be good at this” instead say, “someday I’ll be able to do this with ease”. Substitute the statement: “this is impossible”, with a question, and let your brain do what it does best, problem-solve! When instead you say, “how can I do this?” or even, “what is a better way to approach this task” you flip the narrative from a limiting statement to one that builds capacity.
- Avoid personalising. Avoid saying “I always screw things up” or “I’m so stupid”! Replace it by saying: “that was a tricky situation, and many people would have struggled with it”.
- Finally, lots of practice will see you change your negative self-talk into positive self-talk.
I am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
The practice of positive self-talk helps you see yourself the way God the Father sees you.
‘Fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14). Where continuous negative self-talk distorts the truth of who you are, positive self-talk, reminds you that God created you perfectly, ‘In his Image and likeness He created you ’(Gen.1:27). When you re-write your negative script into a positive one, you will find that you don’t feel trapped and hopeless. Instead, you will be more willing to forgive yourself, try new things, and move forward. After all, you were made for greatness!
Jillian Landers | Director of Mission