I'm going to let the cat out of the bag to start this post. Positive self talk can make a huge difference in your quality of life. Now, I realize this is not a new piece of information. I think we have seen lots of examples; in pop-culture, movies, or even our own experience with therapy, of people engaging with what they label as positive self talk. Some examples are "stand in the mirror and say positive things about yourself" or "say good things about yourself like, I am powerful, I am valuable". And yes, these types of statements can only be positive in terms of their impact and effect. However, this is not exactly what I am talking about. Let's talk about how we think, and then let's talk about how to work on it.
Take a moment to think about this question. When you think, do you think in a language? What language are you thinking in? For most of my patients here in the Wilmington area, people say that they think in english. Once we establish that we think in a language to an extent, my next question is; where did your brain learn this language? The most logical answer is that we learn language by hearing it spoken. The last question then; who do you hear speak more than anyone else? Some people say, the people they spend the most time with whether thats family or coworkers. However, the answer is you. You hear you talk more than anyone else in the world. Would it then be reasonable to say that our words make our mind? I hope you would agree with me that yes, this is definitely true.
We can then leverage this fact to our advantage. First, we must identify the way we speak about ourselves. Is it harsh? Or is it compassionate? A harsh self statement is short, it is non-specific, and it usually includes words lacking exact meaning. For example, "I'm such a loser". A compassionate statement is longer, it is more detailed, and crucially it includes a tailing statement of optimism. For example, "Today was really difficult at work, but I like the job, and I'm going to figure this out". If you are struggling with how to do this, think about an 8 year old you. How would you talk to 8 year old you when you made a mistake?
We can reengineer our minds with our words. Give it a try.