What to say when you talk to yourself? If you ask me this question a few years back, I would gladly walk away in silence because my mind was full of negative words and zero positive energy to uplift myself.
If I were I to craft myself a large low self-esteem jar and put another nickel for every sentence I started with “I can’t”. A year from now, my inner critique will be just as harsh, but at least I’ll be a miserable millionaire.
I bet it will be the same for you if you are dealing with negative self-talk like I was a few years ago.
The good news is you can start learning what to say when you talk to yourself better by collecting positive thoughts like you collect nickels, those millions will still be there, waiting.
A million reasons to love yourself and the world you live in, of course. Then, you can make wealth by greeting adversity with a smile.
“You are everything that is, your thoughts, your life, your dreams come true. You are everything you choose to be”. Shad Helmstetter makes this pretty clear in his book on reprogramming your mind with positive self-talk, and we absolutely agree.
Below are the changes that I made in my life to rewire my mind better and healthier in dealing with challenges that I must get over in order to reach my end goals.
Table of Contents
1. Stop with “I will try to do something”
Would you ever talked to somebody you love in a demeaning way? How many times have you said to your partner that they are weak, selfish, or stupid? Have the statement “You’re a complete failure” ever rolled down your tongue in a conversation with your best friend?
Well, of course not. Such statements would not only be incredibly hurtful but also incredibly unproductive, right? So why is it then that these terrible words are wrong when uttered to somebody else, but completely normal when you tell them to yourself?
Trust me, I get it. I’ve been there, it’s so easy to breathe in negative words to ourselves and put ourselves down. It’s easy to give ourselves reasons to give up, just like weeds in your garden, you don’t have to do anything for it to grow lively where the roses that you love, you must constantly water it and fertilize it.
Your mind is no different, get this. Easy decisions, hard life, easy life, hard decisions. The difficult choice that you need to make is to decide that you will be better “today” and not “tomorrow”. It was very hard for me to become healthier mentally, every day was a struggle but it was worth it once the storm passed.
Believe it or not, a simple “I’m not sure if I could do it” is just as terrible and wrong as the rest of the insults that your self-esteem receives from your brain every single day. Sometimes consciously, other times not, our brains talk down to ourselves incessantly.
It’s true that negative self-talk stems from low self-esteem, but it also encourages it. If there’s an obstacle you need to pass, saying “I’ll try” instead of “I will succeed” is the same as saying “I will definitely lose”. Such phrases are self-defeating, and such an attitude almost certainly leads to failure.
Luckily, positive self-talk has the same effect on your will and determination. In the face of adversity, a convincing “I will succeed” is immensely powerful. It makes you believe in how capable you really are, obliges you to take initiative, and holds you accountable for your doings.
Whether you’re getting ready for a big presentation or trying to think of the ways to approach a person you like, positive self-talk will give you the right mindset. First, it will calm you down by reminding you that the obstacle ahead is not so impassable.
Then, it will gather your courage and make you unstoppable. This way, you’ll be able to reduce the stress and harness the optimism you need for pushing through.
Saying is believing as psychologists claim, and saying self-affirmative things about yourself and your abilities to succeed can trick your brain and change your attitude for the better.
If you want to change the situation around you, you must change yourself first because it’s easier than to try to change the weather, the situation, your family members or your boss.
2. Speak Possibilities into Your Life – Even If You Don’t Have It Yet
When the fear of failure holds you back, knowing what to say when you talk to yourself will make you realize that fearing is losing in advance. Together, those bad experiences from your past and your crooked self-image will try their best to keep you inside of your comfort zone.
Remember this! If you let your fears win, you will lose your freedom. If you love yourself, you will defeat your fears so your freedom can begin to bloom like the roses in your garden.
However safe and cozy it may feel, that comfort zone can shortly become the prison of your own making. There’s nothing unfamiliar or scary in there, but there’s not much room to grow either. Sooner or later, your true amazing self will start craving possibilities that lay ahead.
If you keep saying to yourself that there’s really no need to break through and that there’s nothing outside of your bubble that’s worth exploring, you just might believe it. The life won’t pass you by, but you’ll spend a few of your best years confined to the status quo.
I did and I hope you won’t allow this to happen to you. Learn from me and spend your time wisely to nurture your future and enjoy a life full of joyful memories and experiences.
Here’s what you have to learn – nobody’s born with possibilities lined up for them, and neither are you. They need to be chased down, seized, and tamed. When you allow your negative thoughts and self-talk to smother your ambition, you’re losing the best chance you’ve got for catching yours.
So, speak possibilities in your life. Don’t push them away, but learn what to say when you talk to yourself about all those dreams you’ve been having for the most of your life. Be honest, but kind. If there’s something you want, stay confident in yourself and speak as you’ve already achieved it.
When you speak as you already have what you desire, you’re not only visualizing your goal, but also convincing yourself that there’s nothing to stop you from taking what’s yours. It’s about moving beyond the fear of failure and stepping into your true potential.
Also, speaking possibilities into your life will help you gaze behind that opaque barrier that hampers your way. You’ll be able to see yourself as both a winner and a quitter and determine which version you like more. And once you taste how victory feels like, you’ll be compelled to carry on and claim it.
“Impossible” is a word humans use far too often, I used to eat those words up like BBQ chips. I mean why is it so impossible for me and not others?
Learn to change your vocabulary. Trust me, when you change your choices of words is like drinking glasses of water to hydrate your mind to think clearly and effectively.
Replace negative statements with affirmative phrases. Say “I got this”, “I’m going to make it happen” and “I will face whatever comes my way”, and keep repeating it until it sinks in.
3. Don’t Believe in “I Will Never”
Speaking of our everyday vocabularies, isn’t the word “never” the most confining of all? It’s so extreme in its finality and so limiting in its conclusiveness that it momentarily burns all the bridges around us. When you say “I will never”, what you’re really saying is “I will never grow, and I will never change”.
Do you want to be a prisoner of your own mind? I sure hope not!
But you will, no matter how hard you fight against it. If there’s something mutual to us all, it’s the uncertainty of life that makes human beings ever-growing and ever-changing. Because you cannot predict every possible outcome, saying “I will never” is actually lying to yourself. Actually, it’s pretty stupid to think that way and yes I was pretty stupid to even used that phrase in the first place.
Now I know better and hope when you are done reading this article, you will too.
In the meantime, the world moves on. Each morning offers a new experience and each evening offers a new lesson to be learned. Both give us an opportunity to perceive life from a different perspective, to change our opinions and enjoy the pleasure of knowledge that resides on the other side.
It’s how human beings evolve, after all. To put a stop on that progress by saying “I will never” is a crime against your own nature. With a single word, you’re freezing yourself in the moment and defining the course of your entire life. There’s no freedom in “I will never”, just stark internment.
You can call it a self-fulfilling prophecy or you can call it a linguistic trap – it truly doesn’t make any difference. Either way, the perpetual “I will never” raises a tall, unbreachable wall around you. If you go through life believing that you’ll never be happy, there’s a big chance you never will.
Sometimes though, “I will never” means an improvement in its own right. It’s when you decide never to fall back into your old patterns, or to never again allow your frustrations and fears to get the best of you. Kudos to you for being committed to your goals, but we must warn you that using “never” can actually sabotage your progress.
Here’s a simple example. Every time you say “I will never get hurt by somebody I love again”, the absolute term you use puts an unbearable amount of pressure on your self-growth. Since the uncertainty of life makes the concept of “never” unrealistic, such an attitude only leads to disappointment.
Instead, say “The next time somebody tries to hurt me, I’ll be unbreakable”. Progress isn’t in absolute terms, but about readiness to face your demons and evolve from your mistakes. Rather than “I will never fail”, voice a fearless “I will prevail”.
4. Have an Opinion? Say it with Confidence and Don’t Apologize
Scientists claim that around 70% of our internal statements are negative. Though we’re all victimized by our inner critiques from time to time, it’s people with low self-esteem that have it the worst. Sadly, I was part of the 70%. Unfortunately, the more they disapprove of themselves, the less confident they become.
Abraham Lincoln said, “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”. Strategic silences are effective for sure, but they are not to be confused for the fear of expressing opinions. If you have something to say, you should feel free to say it.
Even if your judgment is wrong, holding it back can make more damage to your self-growth than speaking it out. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and so are you.
The sooner you learn what to say when you talk to yourself, the sooner you’ll be able to communicate your thoughts in a productive way.
The next time your boss talks down to you in front of your peers, don’t start a conversation with “I might be wrong but”. You can be stern and professional at the same time, so don’t apologize just because you’re in an inferior position. Be clever with your wording instead, and confident in your appearance.
When you disagree with everyone else in the room, do the same. You are a smart, strong-minded person, and you surely know when your opinions are good and when they are less so. If you believe in your ideas and have arguments to back them up, don’t refrain from speaking your mind.
After all, regretting inaction is way worse than regretting an action. In the worst-case scenario, your opinions will be proven wrong, and you’ll have a chance to learn something new. Alternatively, you could be right, which means that your thoughts might become the voice of the majority.
5. Labels Are What Limits You
We’ve already cited one quote by Shad Helmstetter at the beginning of our article. Write it down on a piece of paper and stick it on your wall. Even better, make it a wallpaper for your phone so you can read it wherever you go. But you can also read the whole book since there’s more from where it came from.
Though our article isn’t based upon it, Helmstetter’s best-selling book shares its title. What to Say When You Talk to Yourself brings a couple of revolutionary thoughts on the subject of positive self-talk, and, more importantly, teaches you how to rewire your brain in a few easy steps.
Learning to talk to yourself in affirmative terms isn’t easy, but the fact that it can be done is truly encouraging. Your mind is programmed to have more negative thoughts than positive ideas, but you can reprogram it with productive, conscious new directions.
Start by eliminating all the labels. Just like “I will try” and “I will never”, they limit your potential to the words you choose to define yourself with. The first time you label yourself as a person with low self-esteem, a woman with depression, or a man with anxiety, you’re declaring defeat against your imperfections.
Nobody’s to say what you’re capable of and what you’re not, not even you. Whether you label yourself with things you can or the things you cannot do, you’re putting a halt to your self-growth. This is another way of saying “I will never change and I will never evolve”.
What to Say When Talking to Yourself
This post encourages you to speak your mind but now I urge you to silence your deprecating self-talk. It’s one of those strategic silences that Lincoln was so fond of, and the one that will definitely make you a more confident, successful, and fulfilled person.
Remember, every time you start a sentence with “I am” or “I will”, you are creating what you are and what you want to be. To quote Helmstetter once again, “You are as unlimited as the endless universe”, so start choosing the right words to reflect that. Stay talkative, but always affirmative and optimistic.