Self Talk Determines Your Reality

We talk to ourselves – almost constantly. And, although it may appear that, first, we do it consciously, and second, it really doesn’t matter, nothing can be further from the truth. Self-talk is one our most powerful tools as human being but, as everything that powerful – it is a double edge sword. It determines your reality. It can break or make your life. Fortunately, there’s a key to unlock its power. But before going there, let’s start from the beginning.

What is Self-Talk

Self-talk is the inner-dialogue that goes on in our head and relates specially to us. It is the activity that our minds do to judge, analyze and assess ourselves in relation to a situation, whether that’s a tennis game or life in general.

We want to believe that self-talk is neutral, that it just describes the situation or ourselves in an objective, non-judging way but that’s unfortunately not usually the case. The self-talk that we indulge in is more often than not positive or negative.

When we encourage and cheer ourselves, when we push ourselves forward and step outside out comfort zone, our self-talk is positive. But when we criticize ourselves and we feel guilty and unworthy, we are probably talking to ourselves in a negative way – which is usually our default. But why?

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Negative Self-Talk – Our Default


Humans have been around the planet for more than 200.000 (two hundred-thousand years. And just as how our bodies adapted to survive in that hostile and dangerous environment, our minds and emotions did too. Evolution has ensured that we are quick to attend to potential threats around us and hesitant to take any considerable risks that might put our lives in danger. Only the cautious didn’t die, since the courageous ones ended up being eaten by a lion or stumped by a rhino.

Basically, we are programed to think negatively because it increased our changed of survival.

But that was a long time ago! In modern society, risks are completely different. Our basic needs are already taken care of and we don’t need to worry about them. The problem is that our brains and minds didn’t have time to catch up with our new and improved environment. So instead of achieving its function of keeping us safe, our minds end up keeping us stuck and unfulfilled. Instead of being our ally, it ends up being our burden.

The Importance of Self-Talk


Self-talk determines our reality. It will make or break our lives, depending on if it’s supporting us to achieve our dreams or keeping us in check and not taking any chances.

Although this mechanism of the mind can disguise as harmless, it is the one that dictate our actions, what we will achieve, how happy we will be and your overall state of mind. How different our lives would be if:

  • Each time we make a mistake, instead of punishing ourselves, we realize that it’s a great opportunity to learn something new and improve on what we are doing.
  • Instead of talking trash to ourselves, we take 5 minutes every day after we wake up to talk positively and cheer ourselves up.
  • When we are not good at skill, instead of thinking there’s something wrong with us, we realize that we just need more practice.
  • When there’s some big dream we have, instead of saying that it’s impossible we can accomplish it, we push ourselves forward and start taking action.

I bet that would make a huge change in how you feel and act, every day and in your whole life, right? But remember that our brain is wired, not for this but for negative and defeating thoughts. So, how can we do it?

Changing our Inner Dialogue


We’ve seen that the modulus-operandi of our mind is of negative thoughts and if we let it run wildly, it will inevitably gravitate towards self-defeating and judging ones.

And since we are creatures of habit, the more we indulge in negative thinking, the more negative thoughts we will think. Obviously, this cycle goes on and on and on, like a downwards spiral.

The real problem here is that our self-talk is mostly controlled by our unconscious mind, without any control on our side.

Therefore, if we want to change it, we must take charge and train it to produce positive and encouraging thoughts. The key to all of this, the key to changing the way we talk to ourselves, is awareness.

Each time we think a negative thought, we train our minds to repeat it in the future. But each time we correct our negative thinking and replace it with a positive one, we train our minds to start producing encouraging and supporting thoughts.

It may be simple to understand but quite difficult to implement.

Because our brains were wired to think negatively and we’ve been doing it for years and even decades, it’ logical it will take some time to rearrange our neural pathways and direct them towards a more positive way of thinking about ourselves. Each time you do it, it gets easier and easier, until one day you might wake up and realize negative thoughts haven’t crossed your mind for a while and they are something of the past.

How do we do it then?

Practical Steps To Change Your Self-Talk

  • Step 1: Be aware of how you talk to yourself through the day

You are probably going to talk to yourself negatively, whether you like it or not. I’m sorry but it comes with the package. Start being aware of how much and when you do it. Once you become conscious that you are doing it, when you transform this unconscious process into a conscious one, you’ll automatically engage in negative thoughts less often.

  • Step 2: Challenge your negative thoughts

Once you catch yourself thinking negatively about yourself, pause and notice how your judgments are not true but a story your mind is telling to control you. Start poking holes in your thinking – you’ll realize they are not true at all.

  • Step 3: Change your Negative Thoughts to Positive Ones

Now that you’ve challenged and teared apart your negative thoughts, it’s time to change them for new ones. Replace defeating, judging and negative thoughts with encouraging, cheering and supportive ones.

  • Step 4: Repeat

Each time we catch our minds talking negatively and turn it around, we are training our brain and creating those neural paths that reinforce a positive self-talk. It’s going to be difficult at first but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Let’s recap:

  • Step 1: Be aware of how you talk to yourself through the day
  • Step 2: Challenge your negative thoughts
  • Step 3: Change your Negative Thoughts to Positive Ones
  • Step 4: Repeat

Conclusion


Always keep in mind our brains are wired for negativity, and only by your conscious attention change can be possible. Our negative self-talk is an automatic and natural response of our mind to keep us in check, too keep us safe, but it’s just that!

You have the power to control your mind., your own thoughts and your own self-talk. It might prove challenging at first but each and every time you teach your brain to think in a supportive way, you change your destiny.

Or as the famous quote puts it:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
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