Is Negative Self-Talk Holding You Back?
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