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It’s Okay to Talk to Yourself. Just Do It Nicely.

Too many people spend most of their days in their heads beating themselves up.

It’s Okay to Talk to Yourself – Just Do It Nicely

Too many people spend most of their days in their heads beating themselves up—and they don’t even realize they’re doing it. It’s unconscious self-defeating behavior. Perhaps this negative self-talk is a reaction to some kind of trauma that left you feeling less-than, or maybe it’s just a bad habit you developed over time. The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to get it to stop and to regain your focus.

When internal chatter is negative, it blocks our minds from going where we want them to go. Instead, we are picking apart little things we think we could have or should have done better or differently. The real truth is that you did things just fine, but you want to be perfect, and that’s totally human.

I’m not saying that whatever we do is fine or that it’s inappropriate to feel bad about occasional screw-ups. But if you continually berate yourself in your head, that has the same negative effect on you as hearing it from another person. Most people feel emotionally unwell when that happens, or get irate very quickly. Harsh criticism is never fun, most especially when it comes from your own mind.

So here’s the deal: you need to learn to catch yourself and soften the negative commentary. We typically respond to kindness much better than we do to meanness, so why not give yourself something that’s going to make you feel better? Isn’t that why you try to take care of yourself— so that you can feel better and be better?

We eat well to feel better, we work out to feel better, we take meds and go to therapy to feel better—yet feeling better emotionally and spiritually really starts from what’s inside your head and heart. If you have a continuous running dialogue in your brain about what a loser you are, then you are doing yourself a disservice and putting up psychic roadblocks to where you want to go.

It has been said that it takes thirty repetitions to create a new habit, and you could probably catch your negative inner critic that often each day. Try catching your critic in the act. Just noticing that you are giving yourself a hard time will start to make a difference, if you do it often enough. Give yourself a month to let this adjustment to your thinking take place. It does require that you check in with yourself regularly, even if you’re not running a negative loop in your head at the moment.

Make it a routine to ask yourself how you’re doing. Look at your activities and see which ones help put you in a better place. Most people feel best when they are busy, but if you can never relax, for fear of the thoughts in your head, and you are finding them to be intrusive, it is a sign that you need to talk with a professional about what’s going on.

Anything from a lack of self-love to a chemical imbalance can be the reason for negative-pattern thinking, and we know a lot more about these things than we did ten years ago, so maybe it’s time to get checked out. At least talk to a loved one about it. That kind of support is exactly what you need.

More from Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
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