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Mastering Your Mind: A Blueprint for Overcoming Negative Self-Talk

Blueprint of the mind_Mindpath Makers

When individuals share their negative self-dialogue with me, they often echo sentiments such as:

“I’m no good at networking and meeting new people.”

“I’ll never find the right relationship.”

“I lack confidence in myself.”

“I’m too quiet to advance at work.”

What may appear as truths, feeling very real and tangible, are merely opinions—much like the subjective nature of newspaper opinion polls, they lack grounding in reality. The actuality is, that your self-perception isn’t synonymous with objective fact.

And that means, if your opinion of yourself is less than favorable, you hold the power to alter it! Nobody else gets to decide; no one in this world can shape your self-perception for you. You and you alone are in control of how you view yourself, echoing the wise counsel of my late grandmother: “Take charge” instead of “take care,” a reminder to us all that we are in charge of our internal response. She knew that we are not passive observers in our world; she understood that when you show up for yourself, you realise that while there’s a lot in this world we don’t get to control, there’s a whole lot that we do—that’s the bit inside of us—what thoughts and feelings we choose to notice, to buy into, and equally, what we let go of.

This sentiment serves as a rallying cry, reminding us that neither you nor I are victims of our circumstances. We needn’t be defined by the words of others—past, present, or future. That’s the beauty of personal agency; we possess the capacity to rewrite our narratives, to redefine ourselves on our own terms.

How to Conquer Negative Self-Talk

In my work with anxiety sufferers, managing negative self-talk often emerges front and centre. Anxiety often operates at an unconscious level, leaving individuals feeling powerless in the face of intrusive thoughts. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

If you find yourself entrenched in negative self-talk, it may seem like there are no alternatives. I’ve been there too. As a once-anxious individual plagued by constant negative self-talk, I convinced myself of my shortcomings, resigning myself to a life of regret because I felt too reserved to take action when I could have done so. But I refused to let this narrative dictate my future.

To transform your negative self-talk, start by understanding your thinking patterns.

Grasp Your Thought Patterns

During therapy sessions, I often ask, “How do you determine whether to listen to a thought or dismiss it?” These questions delve into cognitive thinking patterns rather than getting bogged down into a story that you’ve told a thousand times before. Venting to friends may offer temporary relief, but it fails to address ingrained thought patterns.

My brief therapy model focuses on delivering lasting results quickly. Overcoming negative self-talk begins with shedding light on your unconscious thinking patterns.

When negative self-talk arises, consider asking:

  • Is this thought valid?
  • If not, is it useful?
  • If it’s neither valid nor useful, what can I replace it with?

Seek Out Exceptions

Without intervention, individuals may continue to perpetuate the same negative thought patterns indefinitely. However, mastering your thoughts enables you to change the narrative by seeking out exceptions.

Anxiety happens when we worry about the future—it is based in future tense. This implies that in order to feel anxious, you have to project a negative experience into your future. So, perhaps you’ve had a negative experience in the past, one that you’ve intensely focused on, overanalyzed, fixated on, and voilà, you’re making your future, your past. But the truth is, the only thing we have is the here and now.

For instance, if negative self-talk insists, “I’m too anxious to network,” you’re likely fixating on past failures. However, exceptions exist, and it’s crucial to acknowledge them.

By transcending unhelpful evidence, you uncover exceptions. While you may perceive yourself as anxious, there are moments when anxiety doesn’t dominate. Suddenly, the idea of perpetual anxiety loses its grip.

Discover Your Resources

Dwelling on the negative can consume valuable time and mental energy, often leaving us oblivious to the internal reservoir of resources available to tackle the issue at hand. That’s why recognising and harnessing your innate talents and abilities becomes paramount.

Picture gathering all your strengths and directing them toward the problem. Suddenly, you’ve assembled a formidable army of support, ready to devise strategies and usher in fresh perspectives.

Here are some ideas to help you unearth your inner resources:

  • Reflect on Your Strengths and Natural Talents: Take a moment to introspect and identify your unique strengths and talents.
  • Revisit Neglected Hobbies: Rediscover past passions and hobbies to reignite your sense of purpose and joy.
  • Engage with Loved Ones: Seek insights from trusted friends and family to recognise and celebrate your qualities.
  • Set Personal Goals: Define achievable goals to provide direction and motivation in your personal growth journey.
  • Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, acknowledging setbacks as part of the human experience.
  • Seek Feedback: Embrace constructive feedback from mentors and peers to gain valuable insights and fuel your growth.

Choose Your Focus

Negative self-talk is intrinsic to the human experience. What distinguishes individuals is their ability to filter thoughts, discerning which merit attention and which warrant dismissal.

As you read this, recognise your agency to develop a filtering system, redirecting focus toward constructive narratives.

If you’re interested in learning how Clinical Hypnosis and Strategic Psychotherapy can help you overcome negative self-talk, book in a curiosity call to discuss further.

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