My Mom always jokes with me about how much she talks to herself out loud, especially in the car. She tells me that she says whatever comes to mind out loud, even to the point of having a laugh with herself about something. In my mind, it seems like we all do this to a point, whether it’s an internal dialogue or things we may say out loud even with no one around but us to hear it.
I want to explore self-talk more specifically today. To start, we are curious, observant beings. Whether it is intentional or not, we are constantly taking in data from our world, assessing it, and making meaning from it. Relationships and interactions with others, life experiences, hardships, trauma, good things or bad things happening around us, things we see online or on social media- each of these circumstances stick to us like glue. We then interpret things on our own and yes, this ends up being the thoughts we have about ourselves and our world and everything in between. And what happens with those thoughts? You got it- our self-talk script gets written and revised constantly. As you read that, I hope it resonated with you how powerful our self-talk is because of all that can impact it AND how much it can impact us if we let it.
That being said, I want you to think about self-talk today as a tool, a very important one at that. You cannot always control the circumstances around you or what you may experience. However, as you manage whatever relationship or situation occurs, you can be intentional in the meantime with creating an effective narrative within your self-talk that pushes you forward, not weighs you down.
What’s the last negative or mean thing you’ve said to yourself? Or, on the other hand, what’s the most recent encouraging thing you’ve said to yourself? How often is the narrative negative or positive? I don’t want you to think here that I want you to focus on being overly positive or sticking to saying 5 happy thoughts to yourself on a daily and that’s the gist of self-talk. I want you to think about how crucial it is to cope effectively with input from your world and understand that doing so can help you keep a healthy self-talk script. For example, say you experience rejection from a friend or loved one, or you get dumped or have a general conflict. This is a hard experience for anyone to cope with. What would your personal narrative be in that scenario? It might be, “I am unlovable“ or “I am going to be alone forever” or “I don’t deserve love.” These are all possible meanings you may take from this experience which will then translate into how you talk to yourself about it. It okay to feel intense feelings when things happen. It is not okay to punish yourself for it in how you communicate with yourself.
We have focused a lot on self-love and strengthening the relationship you have with yourself alone. If you take some time to reflect on your self-talk and start to intentionally notice the things you may be saying internally (or out loud!) about yourself, you can then recognize how your self-talk is directly impacting your behavior and/or reactions to experiences and relationships. Grabbing the power back is on you, and it all starts with developing a healthier script and more loving language that comes from you and is spoken to you directly. As you would want a partner or friend to encourage you, affirm you, or remind you how wonderful you are, you deserve to also feel that energy from you. Plus, you can experience the most consistency in doing so yourself than you can by relying on anyone else or desired outcomes in life to be your main source of reassurance.
When you think about setting intentions, affirmations, goal setting, romanticizing, or any other encouraging form of structure that helps spring you forward to your best version of you, I want you to add self-talk in there. Check in with yourself often. Ask things like, “What would I love someone to tell me right now?” or “What can be said right now that helps set my mood up for this busy day?” or simply, “What would I tell someone right now if they approached me with this issue or feeling?” There’s a million ways to frame it as long as the result is the same. Tell yourself you are beautiful. Tell yourself you deserve better. Tell yourself you are worth it and you are a one of a kind person. Tell yourself that your outfit is amazing. Tell yourself you are going to rock this interview or that you are looking forward to winding down tonight and treating yourself to wine and charcuterie and Love Island (Love Island UK is the best one by the way, thank me later).
Simply, tell yourself, ‘I love you, and I always will.’