“If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.” -Denis Waitley
How’s your attitude? And how does your thinking shape your behavior and your outcomes?
Negative self-talk could be the most toxic behavior a person can have. It is that behavior that spirals you into bad choices and destructive activities. You bully yourself saying that you aren’t good enough, you didn’t do something well enough, etc. Most of you wouldn’t be this cruel to others, but why do you turn it on yourself?! Your mindset creates your opportunities, and moreso, a bad attitude limits your possibilities and potential.
What kind of people do you like to be around?
Think about the people you like to be around. I can bet they are generally positive, supportive, and confident. If you struggle to see the glass as half-full or find yourself a little moody, then you may want to work on your mindset to develop a more positive attitude.
Do you remember Apple’s Think Different slogan? That could also be the slogan for a technique called “cognitive restructuring” or “cognitive reframing.” It is a fancy phrase that asks you to pay more attention to limiting beliefs about yourself, your thoughts, and/or your situation. Next, it asks you to shift your negative, unhelpful thinking. Instead of focusing on the exaggerated negative, it asks you to find a more realistic, balanced assessment so that you can turn that frown upside down.
It basically takes mindfulness to the next level by us to be aware of our thoughts in specific situations. Cognitive restructuring is a way to look at bad moods and some of the beliefs that bring on negative feelings about ourselves so that we don’t compromise our relationships or hinder our goals and dreams.
Acknowledge your patterns
There are many of examples of how we self-sabotage our outlook, but a handful of common types are personalizing, mindreading, making negative predictions, looking for the negative, and all or nothing thinking. Psychology Today has a great list of 50 examples.
The issue is that these types of thoughts are habitual and continually erode our self-confidence. We all have degrees of this. And like mindfulness, we need to get into the habit of practicing positive, helpful thinking. So start to notice your thoughts. Are they generally, negative, realistic, or delusionally positive?
When you net find yourself in a situation where you are starting to go down the Negative Nancy road, think to yourself, “How can I shift my perspective and reframe the situation?” Identify and alter… because people don’t like to spend time with Debbie Downers. And most people don’t like themselves when they fall into these wallowing states, and then that perpetuates the problem.
If your self-talk is telling you, “They don’t like me because…” or “My _____ skills aren’t good enough” or you focus on what didn’t go perfectly…you have talked yourself into a bad place. Work on your attitude adjustment skills by replacing those degrading thoughts with something more positive.
Commit to a new positive outlook
Commit to a new habit of quitting the negative self-talk. Tell a few friends and family members so that they can help you recognize situations when you are talking down about yourself. It could be so commonplace that you don’t even realize it. Noticing is the first step to change. Commit to focusing on it, and with repetition over time, your new habit will continue to reinforce itself.
Wake up each morning and tell yourself something positive about yourself, or something that you are grateful for, or something that you are looking forward to. Find compassion and kindness for yourself. Your confidence and courage will begin to increase, and you will more consistently acknowledge and appreciate your strengths and gifts and speak nicely and lovingly to yourself.
Think about a few recent situations where you have bullied yourself, been overly critical, and given an unbalanced, unjustified point of view. What is similar about the situations or about your thoughts? What were the actual circumstances and what types of things can you focus on in the future?
Positive thinking can go a long way. Instead of dwelling on the negative, begin to try to see the glass as half-full. Make lemonade out of lemons. Look for abundance rather than scarcity, and what you can control as opposed to what you can’t. You’re going to fall more in love with yourself and your life as a result of all of the possibilities that you start to imagine and manifest.