Accurate Self

05.03.2020 |

Episode #6 of the course Improving your self-talk by Reed Rawlings


Welcome to Day 6!

So far, we’ve covered how our inner voice sounds and the difference between positive self-talk and pity.

Today, we’ll be covering questions that help us reveal an accurate portrayal of our lives and why that matters. I touched on our negative inner voice a bit in the third unit, but it deserves its own section. I consider this a critical step to overcoming negative self-talk, and it’s a tactic I use when my inner voice starts to turn sour.

Our goal is to confront our inner critic with reason. Emotion drives a large portion of our negative voice, so ultimately, we need to challenge that pattern of thinking with logic. For this, we’ll guide our thought process with questions that serve to reframe our mindset. We want to reset our perspective, seek plausible explanations, take ownership of our actions, and use goals to find our focus.

You won’t need each of these components every time your inner monologue turns critical. Instead, you’ll want to find a series of questions that work best for you and adapt those to the various situations you face.

One of the questions that I find most productive is, “Have I faced a similar situation before?” I know myself and others are keen to make minor inconveniences into large problems. Our inner voice is no different.

During the last interview I was in, I was asked a question that I had no idea how to answer. Worse, the interview was at a company that I worked at, so making a mistake meant facing my failure almost daily. When I left the room, my brain was on fire. I replayed the situation over and over. I started belittling myself and the effort I put into preparing for the interview.

So, I stopped and asked myself if I’d ever been in this situation before. Of course I had. I’m not perfect. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in interviews. Some of them turned out fine, others didn’t. But it never ruined my life. Even if I didn’t land the job, I was able to bounce back and start looking elsewhere. Once I started looking down the path of what had actually happened, it was far easier to reframe my thoughts and focus on what I could do to better the situation.

But what if my past wasn’t that great? What if similar situations only ended poorly? You need to focus on how next time will be different.

Again, negative self-talk fixates on the problem. Positive self-talk formulates solutions. When your inner voice turns critical, it’s a defense mechanism. It’s trying to impress upon you that mistakes cause discomfort, so you should do your best to avoid them. That often means refusing to take chances.

To put a positive spin on these emotions, ask yourself what you can learn from the situation. Maybe your inner voice is right and you did need to prep a bit more. Don’t ruminate on what could have been, though: Plan for what will be.

For today’s exercise, I want you to practice talking through a mistake you’ve made. It could be something from your present or past. The key is to work it through from setback to resolution. If you’re thinking about a recent issue, focus on the outcome you’d like to see and what you can do to make it happen. You can think it to yourself or write it down somewhere.

In our next lesson, we’ll review the psychological benefits of self-talk and why it’s important to reframe your mindset.

Thanks for reading!


Recommended book

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven


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