Sometimes, we need to be our own personal coach and cut through the fluff to motivate ourselves. Tough love can be a necessary rite of passage. But there is a fine line between coaxing ourselves towards greater ends through a little negative encouragement and forever coming down on ourselves with negative self-talk. There’s an old saying in psychology that goes, ‘the quality of your thinking affects the quality of your life.’ So if all you’re ever thinking to yourself is how inadequate you are, how unworthy you feel and that there’s no use in even trying your hand at anything, then that is the reality you’ll create for yourself. Here are eight ways that negative self-talk is ruining your life.
- It Creates a Finite/Limited View of Your Potential
Questioning yourself is undeniably a good thing. In fact, many people actually lack a little objectivity in their life. But if left unchecked, it can lead to the creation of an inferiority complex. If you’re constantly telling yourself why you can’t do something, you’ll slowly but surely lower the ceiling on what you’re actually more than capable of achieving. Your expectations of yourself will drop, and so will your standards.
- It Can Lead to Anxiety and Depression
Mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression don’t appear for no reason. There’s a chain of events that leads to the onset of symptoms. And one of the chief causes of this is your perception. We tend to base our reality not on reality itself but our perception of the world we inhabit, which is often markedly different. When you’re constantly stuck in a cycle of negativity, it can hasten this process and further entrench you with your condition.
- It Can You Feel Unworthy of Receiving Love
One of the biggest fallacies that the nagging voice inside your head will have you believe is that you’re unworthy of love. The more you allow this narrative to take root, the more you’ll find yourself not only being unwilling to believe that you can be loved. But when you are presented with scenarios in which people want to show you affection, you simply won’t allow yourself to be accepting of it.
- It Can Make You Second-Guess Your Relationships
When you’re in a mode of creating so much doubt internally, it’s inevitable that it will bleed over into your relationships. It’s fairly common for us to project our own greatest inadequacies about ourselves onto others – because that’s the model of thinking we’re most familiar with. We automatically assume that what’s true for us is also true for other people. This can lead to quite imbalanced thinking in our relationships.
- It Creates a Baseline for All Your Interactions
Conversely, when you’re rooted in constant negative self-talk, it can also lead you to assume that perception we have of ourselves is the same that other people must have, as well. The thinking goes that if I can see it, then surely all my flaws must be clear as day to everyone else. Again, this is merely perception overriding our reality. You can never truly have any idea of what people think until they actively share their thoughts with you.
- It Prevents You from Taking Action (Perfectionism)
How often have you allowed that voice in your head to talk you out of something that in hindsight had no inherent risk attached to it? You might have perceived that to be the voice of reason, but in reality, it’s still just negative self-talk masquerading as logic. Mistakes are going to happen, but they’re actually the lifeblood of our learning process. We can’t constantly shelter ourselves from ever putting a foot wrong. We’re imperfect beings living in an imperfect existence. Done is always better than a version of perfection that ultimately will never come.
- It Makes You Chronically Pessimistic
Lastly, when all things are taken into consideration, if negative self-talk is your default position, then it’s going to colour your entire outlook on life. When things aren’t going so well, you’ll never truly believe that things are going to get better. Good things just aren’t meant to happen to you because they never do, and anything that does materialise, will surely be short-lived and end in certain disaster. This absence of belief can be a huge dent in any aspirations. You often have to believe it can happen before you can make it happen. It won’t do you any harm.
How Can You Combat Negative Self-Talk?
The first thing you need to do is admit that negative self-talk is actually part of a limiting belief structure that you’ve created for yourself. You can’t make any positive change without first admitting that there’s a problem. Once you’ve identified this as an issue, the next step is to start catching yourself in the moment that you allow yourself to slip into these negative modes of thought. The more you can do this, the more opportunity you have to label this negative self-talk as being just that. Call it out. Make a clear distinction in your mind between which thoughts are negative, so over time, you’ll embed this idea so much within yourself that when they do arise, you’ll automatically recognise them for what they are. The final step is to replace these thoughts with their opposite action. So if you’re constantly in the mode of saying to yourself that you’re not worthy, reverse it and say to yourself, ‘I am worthy.’ It may feel strange at first. But not because it isn’t true. It’s because you’re at the beginning process of conditioning the mind to accept a new norm. The more you say these positive affirmations to yourself, the more you’ll find they come naturally over time.