The Importance of Changing Your Negative Self-Talk

Words have power. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep working on changing your negative self-talk.

Growing up you might have heard the expression, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s a lie. The sooner we accept this is the sooner we can start to acknowledge the impact words have had on us throughout our lives and start healing and changing the way we speak to ourselves.

For the sake of this post, let’s think about words like seeds that we plant into our lives. The seeds we water will grow, and those that we don’t water will die. It’s simple as that. If we feed the negative self-talk, it will grow. If we feed the positive that will grow.

From birth, people have been planting seeds in us by sharing thoughts and opinions about our lives and actions. Every word that was spoken into your life by you and/or someone went through processing in your brain. And, your brain had to decide whether to record it as truth (keep), consider or question it, or reject it.

When we are children and have yet to fully develop our critical thinking, we often take many of our experiences and things said about and to us as truth. We may want to reject it, but we aren’t sure how to do that. If words came from a person who was older than you, more experienced, or a friend or family member, that may have made it even harder.

By the time we grow up, we have a garden filled with the fruit of all the seeds (words) that have been planted into our lives over time. If you’ve been surrounded by positive affirmations, strong motivators, and encouragers, then consider yourself blessed. There’s nothing better than people who speak positively into your life.

Think about your mental garden right now?

What does that garden look like? Is it flourishing and bearing healthy fruit such as positive self-talk that yields faith, hope, and self-love? Or, is it filled with negative self-talk such as hopelessness, condemnation, and self-degradation? It might be a little of both and that’s OK.

This is your gentle reminder to take some time to tend to your garden and start changing how you speak to yourself. Control the seeds you are personally planting. Your garden may need you to water what is flourishing and pluck out and prune any negative self-talk, messages, and beliefs that are sucking the life out of you. 

A part of our daily self-care must include tending to this garden. Our goal is to make sure we are planting more positive than negative self-talk over time.  

Watch your thoughts. They become words. 
Watch your words. They become actions. 
Watch your actions. They become habits. 
What your habits, they become character.
What your character, it becomes your destiny. 
- Lao Tze

What seeds should I plant?

What you say to yourself is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. It’s OK to acknowledge negative feelings at the moment, but the story you tell yourself should include positive self-talk, great outcomes, and reflect hope, even if you have to fake it until you make it. For example:

  • Replace “I’m a failure” with “I’m capable of figuring out challenging problems.”
  • Instead of “I wish I could accomplish that,” say “I’m excited to start aligning my actions with my dreams.”
  • Don’t say “I’m not smart enough.” Say “I’m capable, creative, and resourceful.” 
  • Rather than “I am a screw up,” say “I’m glad I am learning lessons that will help me do better next time.”

Small ways to challenge your negative self-talk: 

  • Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love 
  • Investigate the root cause of your negative self-talk and do the healing work if needed
  • View your words as seeds and cherish your garden
  • Give yourself grace 
  • Pay attention to your words and what others “plant” in your space
  • Be impeccable with your word. Never use the power of the word against yourself.

Remember, what you water grows. So, start changing your negative self-talk today and begin planting those positive words and messages into your life.

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