It’s all going wrong, I’m not good enough, others have done this so much better, I could fail, it needs to be perfect, I don’t know where to start, I’ve messed up!
We talk to ourselves constantly. At times this can guide us, but when our inner-critic gets hooked, the negative self-talk that ensues is one of our biggest barriers to making progress and reaching our potential.
Why is this?
We all hold beliefs that affect our thoughts and the stories we tell ourselves. When we tap into these, our self-talk can run riot ruminating on the past, hooking into a current feeling or worrying about the future. When this happens, neurologically it limits our capacity to pay attention and focus. When we get hijacked with negative thoughts, this also effects our feelings and behaviours, and can sabotage our progress.
What can I do about it?
Notice what you are thinking and saying to yourself by tapping into to this or putting pen to paper and journaling. How are you speaking to yourself, how does this make you feel, how does it limit you? Reflecting on these insights will shed some light on the patterns and themes that come up.
When you catch yourself getting hooked by your negative self-talk, challenge it. Are your thoughts and beliefs true? Is the story you are telling yourself true? What evidence do you have for this? Recognising which beliefs are not actually true can be very freeing.
Be kind to yourself. Acknowledge that everyone experiences negative self-talk and you aren’t alone. Consider how you could talk to yourself in a kinder and more encouraging way, as you would towards a child or a friend.
If you are striving for perfectionism, recognize that it doesn’t exist and that this is actually preventing you from being successful. Consider instead what you would try if it didn’t need to be perfect and see what comes up.
Our negative self-talk doesn’t have to be in control. With awareness, challenge and self-compassion, we can regulate it and prevent it from hindering our progress and potential!