Use The Power Of Positive Self-Talk: Boost Confidence, Look To The Future, Embrace Your Possibilities
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And we especially don’t distinguish between positive self-talk and negative self-talk. It’s just what we do.
Self-talk is like breathing, or your heartbeat. It’s something that just “is”.
But what happens in the course of that persistent conversation, the things you tell yourself about yourself, your circumstances, your life has a significant impact on you and the life you lead.
When you engage in positive self-talk, you boost your confidence, improve your perception of yourself, and positively enhance your outlook on life.
How you talk to yourself in your own head forms the basis of your confidence and self esteem more than any other factor.
And so, if you’re constantly criticizing yourself in your head through negative self-talk, this will obviously negatively impact your self confidence. You may have heard the saying that often we are our own biggest critics. All too often, this is startlingly true. Paying attention to how we speak to ourselves in our minds greatly impacts not only our internal confidence, but also what we are confident in doing in the world and what opportunities we are willing to consider.
What is Self-Talk?
Self-talk is your internal monologue. It is comprised of the thoughts and judgements you make about yourself throughout your daily life. An example of a negative, but all-too common self-talk conversation might go as follows:
You are walking around downtown and see a flyer for a dance class. You think, “hmm… I’ve always wanted to try dance classes”, but then immediately, your negative self-talk kicks in and says things like “you aren’t graceful, thin, or pretty enough to be a dancer”. And so you let the opportunity to do something new and interesting pass rather than take advantage of it.
An example of positive self-talk in this same situation would be to say to yourself, “While I’m not sure I will be good at dance, it’s something I’ve always wanted to try. And even if I do struggle with dancing, it will be good for me to seize the chance to try something I’ve always wanted to do”.
It’s important to note that positive self-talk is not the same as lying to or deluding yourself.
Everything you say to yourself can still be true. It’s just that you make a conscious choice to look for and focus upon what’s positive rather than your worries and fears.
Just as you might talk to build up a friend, you can also speak to yourself in this kind and honest way.
Positive self-talk is an acknowledgement of positive truths.
For instance, your internal monologue won’t be saying “I am perfect. I can never fail”, but rather will be saying “I will fail at some things because I’m human, but those failures do not make me a failure. They are lessons and experiences that get me closer to my success.”
Positive Self-Talk and Limiting Beliefs
Limiting beliefs are those which you hold true that prevent you from becoming the person you truly want to be.
These are the thoughts that tell you that you can’t do something before you’ve even tried or that you aren’t good enough to even make an effort.
We all hold limiting beliefs, and these are the kinds of thoughts that keep us stuck in unhappy situations.
Maybe you’ve been wanting to quit your job so you can search for something more suited to your passions.
A limiting belief would be that you will never find a job where you will truly be happy.
Ultimately, what this belief does is prevent you from trying to improve your life by finding a job that you like more.
It is temporarily shielding you from any pain or rejection you might experience during the act of seeking out a new job.
But that belief is ultimately limiting you from reaching your highest potential and attaining the life you truly want to live.
Positive Self-Talk – Redirecting Your Inner Voice
Pay attention to your inner voice for a full day.
Notice how often you engage in limiting beliefs and negative self-talk such as “I can’t” ‘I’m not good enough” or “something bad will happen.”
For so many of us, this negative self-talk is our default mindset.
So how can you gently redirect your thinking to allow a more productive default mindset and positive self-talk?
If you notice yourself saying things like “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good enough”, gently redirect yourself to positive self-talk statements.
Say something like “Although this is going to be hard, I have faith in myself. I will commit to do my absolute best, and that is simply the best I can do” or “I have gotten through many tough situations in the past, so there is no reason that I can’t also get through this”.
These simple redirections help to boost confidence, in much the same way as it might help to have a friend tell you they believe in you before an important interview.
If you’re struggling to rewire your limiting beliefs, see the exercises at the end of this post for some ideas on how to gain clarity on your biggest limiting beliefs.
Looking Forward to the Future
Another way to start redirecting your thinking so that you more often engage in positive self-talk is to rewire your anxieties about the past into hopeful thoughts for the future.
Instead of looking back to what has already happened and ruminating over past mistakes, try to look with hopefulness upon the next chapters in your life and how you can meet them head-on with confidence and grace.
An example of this would be contemplating past mistakes in your job and thinking “I’ll never be good enough to do this job like it should be done”.
Instead of succumbing to this behavior of looking backwards, you might try positive self-talk and looking toward future opportunities by saying “I have learned much from my past mistakes and I will use that knowledge to improve my future job performance.”
Reassure Yourself as You Would a Friend
You might find it difficult at first to speak to yourself in kind and compassionate way, incorporating positive self-talk into your behavior where it feels natural and comfortable to you.
Sometimes it can help at first to imagine you’re talking to a friend.
While many of us struggle with our own confidence, we are often experts at helping bolster and build up the people we love.
Imagine your best friend comes to you with the worry you are currently experiencing.
For example, she might say “There is a promotion that may be open to me at work, but I’m not sure whether I should go for it. I worry I’m not good enough.”
What would you say?
Likely, you would encourage your friend, and remind her of her previous successes.
You would build her up with your words and help her see the positive things she has done over her career that might encourage her to go for the promotion.
You would help her redirect her limiting beliefs into the motivation to seize the opportunity.
You can use this same compassion and reassurance with your own self talk.
Just as you would try your best to build up your friend while still being honest with her, this is the same kind of mentality you should extend to yourself.
Exercises to Help Get Started with Positive Self-Talk:
In order to kickstart your journey to positive self-talk, try out the following exercises:
Redirecting limiting beliefs
Write down a list of all of the limiting beliefs you know that you hold. These can be things like, “I am not smart enough to have the job I really want,” or “I am too weak to be an athlete,” or “I am a difficult person to love and can’t find a soul mate.”
These should be the things that you find yourself thinking most often, and that have the biggest impact on your thoughts about yourself.
Underneath each one, write a redirection of the limiting belief. So, for example:
The negative statement, “I am not smart enough to have the job I really want”, becomes the positive statement, “I am confident that I have the work ethic to succeed in the job that I want, even when I experience challenges.”
“I am too weak to be an athlete”, becomes positive self-talk “I will gain strength through my persistence in going to the gym and am getting closer to my goals every day.”
“I am a difficult person to love and can’t find a soul mate” becomes “I am worthy of love and have a lot of love to give, even if I don’t have a partner right now”
Try it out for yourself and see how much better you feel by truthfully and positively redirecting your negative thoughts into positive self-talk.
Listing Positive Traits
We spend so much time in our day to day lives tearing ourselves down. It can be hard to start the process of positive self-talk when you might never have truly considered all of the positive things about yourself.
Take 10 minutes to list everything you like about yourself. These can be small things like the shape of your eyes or the length of your fingers, to bigger things like your capacity to love or your generosity.
List, without judgement, the things that you like most about yourself. If you’re having a particularly negative day or are feeling particularly low, these things can help you to redirect your thinking.
For example, on a day where you might feel unattractive, remind yourself of how much you like the shape of your nose or the color of your hair, whatever you’ve included on your list.
This way, you have a tool to help you in redirecting yourself when you might feel at a loss for positive thoughts and positve self-talk.
Ultimately, how we speak to ourselves forms not only our self-confidence and esteem but also what opportunities we will or won’t take in life.
While negative self-talk is normal, it ultimately holds us back from reaching our true potential.
There is no way to achieve what we really want in life without exploring, taking risks and doing new things.
Positive self-talk helps us to have the confidence in ourselves to handle what comes our way, look forward to the future with anticipation and hope and make the decision to seize new and promising opportunities that can completely change our lives.
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Kimberly Clay is the founder and creative force behind What She Say. She’s a business professional, writer and editor who’s been creating and managing digital content for nearly twenty years. Her work is now focused in the areas of self-improvement and personal development, and she is passionate about helping other individuals, especially women, to find a path for living their best life.