Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

Negative self-talk is made up of the messages your brain tells you. It comes from the beliefs you hold about yourself, based on what others have expressed to you throughout your life and the feelings you have internalized. Your brain is trying to protect you, but these thoughts usually just end up holding you back and making you feel bad about yourself. Because you’ve been formulating and accepting these messages nearly your entire life, you may not realize you can overcome them. These beliefs come simply from thoughts you’ve thought over and over. It takes some practice and effort to start to learn new habits and form healthier mindsets. Take a look at these ways to reframe your negative self-talk into something more productive.

Recognize Your Negative Self-Talk

As we’ve noted previously in this series, it’s crucial that you recognize your inner negative voice if you hope to learn to manage it. Pay attention to the automatic thoughts that pop into your head that trigger a strong negative reaction in you. Feelings such as fear, anger, sadness, worry, or dread can be indicators that these thoughts are your subconscious working as a defense mechanism. Once you recognize your negative self-talk, you can start to analyze it and determine what is true.

Throughout this process have compassion on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for having negative thoughts. It’s a normal part of how your brain works. But you don’t have to believe all the thoughts your brain offers you.

Consider the Evidence

Don’t hesitate to take these negative messages apart bit by bit. Examine them thoroughly, and analyze them to discover whether the words are true or if they’re simply automatic thoughts you’ve come to adopt over time due to your insecurities or life experiences. We all have hang-ups that we’ve developed throughout our lives in various ways. That doesn’t mean these things are true. Look for evidence for and against what your self-talk is telling you. This objectivity can shed a lot of light on the issue.

What is True?

If the evidence points to the fact that your internal messages are wrong or exaggerated, it’s time to frame them in a more realistic way. Look for words like “always” or “never.” These absolutes are easy to change into more realistic statements. Other words to watch for are “should” or “shouldn’t.” Messages you’re giving yourself can probably also be reframed into statements that make more sense. Once you begin to question your self-talk you’ll start to feel more secure in yourself.

These are some things to consider when your inner naysayer takes over. Reframing your negative self-talk into something more productive takes practice, but it’s well worth the effort. Doing so will move you closer to embracing self-love.

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