Negative self-talk can easily undermine your self-confidence with a constant diet of criticism. This inner critic is tricky and sly.
Most of the time, you don’t actively listen to what your self-talk is saying; it’s a constant chatter running through your mind. Like elevator music, you just ignore it. However, when that chatter comes from your inner critic, it’s full of negative statements that can undermine your confidence without you’re realizing it.
Suddenly, you’re doubting yourself and don’t know why.
What the research says:
Becoming aware of exactly what you are saying to yourself about yourself can help you understand why you react the way you do to events and people in your life. It can also give you a handle on controlling your moods, repeating your successes, and short-circuiting your shortcomings.
Just as your body suffers if you feed it a solid diet of junk food, your self-esteem and self-image suffer when you feed them a constant diet of negativity. Your mood turns sour, which, in turn, affects your attitude and, ultimately, your behavior and performance suffer.
Need a quick confidence boost?
When you feel less confident or when you become unsure of your ability, it’s likely coming from your inner critic. Start to pay attention to what you’re telling yourself and immediately stop the messages. Replace them with something positive by:
- Remembering past successes. You’ve met challenges before; you can do it again.
- Talking to yourself as a close friend or loved one would.
- Telling yourself that your thoughts are just that: thoughts, not facts.
- Giving your inner critic a name. Brené Brown, PhD, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, calls hers “The Gremlin.” I call mine “Wormtongue” from the character in The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkein.
- Creating an outrageous avatar of your inner critic. Wormtongue is a scrawny chicken with a long neck. This image alone makes me laugh away the negative messages.
- Standing in front of a mirror, looking yourself right in the eyes, and repeating your negative self-talk messages aloud to your image. When you stop laughing, change the self-talk channel to a more positive one.
Self-confidence is learned. It’s like a muscle that needs to be trained. In the next ten days, you will discover how to cultivate a mindset that leads to greater self-confidence, gain self-awareness and appreciation of your existing abilities and talents, learn how to communicate confidently and credibly, and much more.
Teacher: Patricia Haddock, a successful entrepreneur, author, editor, and consultant for more than 25 years. She uses a multi-disciplinary approach to give her clients and readers state-of-the-art strategies, best practices, and tools to realize and achieve their potential.