Episode #10 of the course Improving your self-talk by Reed Rawlings
Welcome to the last lesson in this course! We’ll recap everything we’ve learned so far.
Listening to our inner voice. In our first lesson, we learned what our inner voice sounds like, including the tone, language, and perspective. We used this lesson to provide a base for all future learning. If you wrote down how your inner voice sounds, it may be helpful to look back and see the difference between your self-talk then and now.
The benefits of self-talk. Improving your self-talk can seem unnecessary but it’s vital for improving mental health. If you’re focused on self-improvement, it’s a great tool to aid in that process.
Types of positive self-talk. There are multiple types of positive self-talk, and they each come out at certain moments. The better you’re able to identify how your inner voice is speaking to you, the easier it is to use it to your advantage. Once you’re better at navigating your inner criticism, you’ll be able to turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk without trouble.
The sound of negative self-talk. We hear our inner criticism best when we’re pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. Our brain wants to keep us safe and stable, so it tends to remind us of all our past failures. Once we’re able to recognize the reasons that our mind trends negative, we can start turning it around. We challenge ourselves because we want to do more; hobbies, relationships, and adventures are all risky but rewarding. It’s important to remind ourselves of that.
It’s not pity. If you think that self-talk needs to be harsh in order to motivate you, then you’re way off base. Self-deprecating behaviors don’t benefit you; they drag you down and make it harder for you to achieve your goals. Positive self-talk is about taking ownership of your mistakes and moving on.
Accurate self. To start combating your inner critic, you need to learn how to accurately portray negative experiences and yourself. You can do this by asking yourself questions that make you think logically about the situation you’re in or ones you’ve faced in the past.
Self-distancing. This is the first tool in combating your negative self-talk. Reorienting your inner voice means changing how you view yourself. An act as simple as thinking of yourself in the third person is powerful enough to take the emotion out of failure.
Affect labeling. Negative self-talk lives in the realm of negative emotions. Learning how to challenge those feelings through confrontation is an important step in improving your inner voice. Listening to and redirecting your feelings is crucial to self-regulation.
Expressive writing. A simple yet powerful exercise that ties together both self-distancing and affect labeling, journaling is a great way to gain distance on a troubling or humiliating situation and examine it with fresh eyes. Eventually, you’ll be able to internalize this process and walk through mistakes and setbacks with ease.
That’s it! You’re now well on your way to making your inner voice an ally rather than an enemy and by extension, working toward being a more compassionate, motivated individual. Practicing the exercises outlined above, as well as making sure you check yourself in the midst of a setback, will turn into a meaningful, positive relationship with your inner self.
Thanks for taking the course!
Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
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