Let’s be honest, we all have a negative critic that lives rent-free in our heads. You know, the voice that comes in when you’re already feeling low and says, “why are you trying anyways?” or “no one even likes you.” That voice. The one that you can’t stop believing, even though it’s incredibly hurtful, unkind, and makes you feel bad. What if I told you that the root of many of your struggles comes from that voice and the way you believe it so much?
Imagine for a moment that you are running a marathon, and the people watching are cheering you on every step of the way. They’re shouting encouraging messages like, “You’ve got this!” and “You’re almost there, keep going!” Imagine how great it feels to have so many people spending their day on the sidelines watching and cheering you on. They might inspire you to feel encouraged and hopeful that you do indeed “have this,” and you’re going to finish this race strong. What an incredible feeling it is to have such positive and supportive words being said to you about how well you’re doing.
Now imagine that same race, only the sidelines are full of haters. Instead of positive words of encouragement, the crowd is shouting, “You can’t do this!” and “You should just quit while you’re ahead!” How incredibly rude and unkind that crowd would be perceived as. How unhelpful it would feel to be yelled at and talked down to by others, especially when you’re trying so hard to finish the race you started.
Those spectators at the race, they’re a symbol of your own inner voice. That inner voice can be kind and encouraging like the first group of individuals on the sidelines cheering you on, or it can be hurtful and unhelpful, like the second group. If you’re struggling with talking down to yourself, are constantly focused on your flaws or insecurities, or feel discouraged often, it’s likely your inner critic is negative and not helping you in any way. In fact, negative self-talk can drastically impact one’s mood, outlook, self-esteem, relationships, anxiety symptoms, performance in role obligations, and can cause feelings of sadness/depression.
Words are powerful and hold significant meaning to us. If you are recognizing that your self-talk is negative, it’s time to stop talking crap about yourself and be kind. Encourage yourself. Focus on your strengths. Give yourself a compliment. And when you notice you’re being negative or having an unkind thought about yourself, don’t listen to the negative spectators in your head. They’re not right.
If you feel you are struggling with negative self-talk and the negative impact it can have on your mood, self-confidence, and relationships, it may also be helpful to talk about this more with a licensed therapist to help you work through these negative thoughts. If you would like to get more support around this topic, please reach out for a free telephone consultation today to discuss how we can support you in addressing your self-talk at (540) 264- 3965.