Positive Self-Talk and Self-Esteem

All of us have a running dialogue of thoughts on our mind at any given time. These thoughts can be about our performance, circumstances, thoughts on life. These thoughts carry a great deal of weight on our minds and influence how we feel about things including ourselves. Yes, that’s right, these thoughts affect our self-esteem and confidence in positive and negative ways depending on if the thoughts are favorable or unfavorable.

Positive Self-Talk and Self-Esteem
Positive Self-Talk and Self-Esteem

This leads us into negative self-talk. Negative self-talk basically sabotages our mind to think of ourselves as less worthy, less successful, less intelligent, less capable etc. Examples of negative-self talk are:

“I didn’t pass the test. I’m so stupid. I shouldn’t have tried”.

“I’m not smart enough to do this. There’s no point in trying”.

“My boss is mad at me again. I can’t do anything right”.

“I never find anyone I want to date. I’m going to end up alone all my life”.

“Ouch! I hit my leg on the desk again. I’m so useless”.

These are thoughts that contribute to negative self-esteem. If you take a moment and think about what you tell yourself, I’m sure you can find a large variety of examples. These can be referring to your personal life, professional life, and social life. We evaluate ourselves quite often and at times much too harshly. Take a moment and think of ways your negative self-talk affects you.

Positive Self-Statements

Becoming aware of these thoughts is half the battle. Let’s turn the negative self-statements above into positive self-statements.

“I didn’t pass the test. Next time I’ll study harder and I’ll do better”.

“I’m going to try my best and I’m hopeful for the outcome”.

“My boss is mad at me. Let me talk to them to find out why and I’ll correct whatever is the matter”.

“Even though I haven’t found anyone I want to date, I know I only need to keep trying, and this is achievable”.

“Ouch! I hit my leg on my desk. No big deal”.

As you can see, by making your thoughts positive, you change the effect of the thought. We are often times too harsh with our critical minds and evaluate ourselves with unrealistic expectation or set goals that are excessively difficult to achieve instead of breaking goals down into successive approximations to the desired outcome. Basically, we set ourselves up for failure. Think about it, if we tell ourselves that “I am not worthy”, or “I’m too stupid to even try to do this”, you never try. It keeps you in a limited space where you don’t get to find out what you’re truly capable of.  You can think of it like living in a small box. You never try to push the boundaries of the box, so you remain stuck not just stuck in this small space, but you remain stuck in your mind. You don’t give yourself the opportunity to try. You also don’t give yourself the benefit of the doubt. This is something you do for others but yet your personal standard doesn’t allow you to apply this to yourself.

So, I bet you’re asking yourself, “Ok, now that I know more about my thinking how do I change things?” Self-monitoring is essential. You might be aware of a few negative self-talk thoughts, but you need to become aware of most of them. There are techniques that help you achieve this including keeping a thought journal that looks at not just the self-talk but the triggers to the self-talk. This is where an experienced psychologist can help you, creating an individualized treatment plan to help you combat these thoughts that only limit you and make you feel less. Again, thoughts are important whether they are positive or negative and they affect your self-evaluation and your self-esteem.

Our team of experienced and caring psychologists at Miami Psychology Group have substantial expertise in helping clients with building confidence, positive self-talk and self-esteem and all that comes along with it. Please give us a call, we are here to help.