Why set goals if you think you can’t achieve them? Why make changes in your life if you are convinced they will fail? When Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right,” he identified the pivotal role self-talk plays in our lives.
When I am in a coaching or counselling session, I am often struck by the damaging and self-limiting power negative self-talk has on people who are striving to reach their personal and professional potential. While everyone has some negative self-talk, it can be a real problem when it becomes so familiar and habitual that we assume everything we are telling ourselves is 100% true.
Some of the negative self-talk themes that commonly come up in coaching and counselling sessions are: “I am not good enough,” “This always happens to me,” “I am a fraud,” “I don’t belong” and “I am a failure.” Such thoughts leave us feeling bad and behaving in ways that broadcast negative messages about ourselves to the rest of the world. These in turn can create a self-perpetuating cycle of negativity which can lead to increased anxiety, lowered mood and damaged self-confidence.
The good news is that, with guidance and support, we can change our thinking and get on with living the kind of life we want to lead. Anyone with a commitment to making changes can become adept at challenging patterns of negative self-talk and re-framing thinking to be more realistic, positive and optimistic.
Here are ten questions people often find useful to challenge negative self-talk:
Is this thought helping me?
What evidence is there to support this thought?
How might someone else view this situation?
Am I thinking in all or nothing terms?
Am I catastrophising?
How do I behave when I believe this thought?
How would I behave differently if I didn’t believe this about myself?
Am I worrying about things beyond my control?
What would life look like if I dropped this thought?
What would I say to a friend if they expressed this thought?
One of the common fundamentals of coaching or counselling sessions is to transform negative self-talk into the more balanced perspective necessary for greater success and deeper happiness in all aspects of life.
If you would like to learn more about managing negative self-talk or seek support, please contact us on 07 3852 2441 or info@incorporate psychology.com.au