Changing Negative Self-Talk: Can I Hear Me Now?

Changing perspective from stressed or depressed  to blessed can be affected by changing negative self-talk.

 Excerpt from: Too Blessed to be Stressed (2011, Barbour Publishing).

donkey

Don’t be an Eeyore, with gloomy words and thoughts that continually bring you down!

 By Debora M. Coty:

“I just cannot learn this new system.”

“I’m dumber than a rock.”

“No way I’ll ever get along with her.”

Sound like anything you’ve muttered to yourself lately?

In the children’s story Winnie-the-Pooh,  Eeyore the donkey has mopey, self-depreciating words and thoughts.  Thoughts like that wear us down and wear us out before we even realize the source of erosion.

The trouble is that we often don’t recognize we’re engaging in negative self-talk. Negativity is habit-forming. We unconsciously develop a compromised view of ourselves when we consistently think things like, “I’m such a loser,” “It’s too hard,” or “Why even try?”

The worst part of negative self-talk is that we’re not only limiting ourselves, we’re limiting our God. The Creator of the Universe. The One who is ready to fill us with expectancy, hope, and potential and wants us to instead tell ourselves, I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need (Philippians 4:13).

So how do we reboot ourselves with a fresh perspective and in the process, significantly reduce the strain and drain that negative self-talk produces? Here are 6 thought-tweaking downloads that can help:

Cut and paste. Train yourself to recognize negative inner chatter the minute it starts and delete immediately. Shake the mental Etch-A-Sketch. Get out the attitude chainsaw. But don’t stop there. Replace those negative thoughts with a positive spin. Let’s revisit the beginning of this article.

“What can I do to learn this new system?”

“How can I break this gargantuan task down into small, do-able steps?”

“I’ve learned to get along with my crazy sister; I can learn to get along with  anybody.”

Tweak your tone. You know how your doctor says, “This may pinch a little” as he jams the needle into your arm? Borrow his technique. “Impossible” is a brick wall compared to “this may take some work.” Wouldn’t you rather tackle a project that’s “challenging,” rather than “unmanageable”?

Be your own BFF. Intentionally over-dub that Eeyore voice droning inside with your BFF voice. Speak to yourself like you would your very best friend. Be:

Encouraging

Uplifting

Affirming

Light and humorous (you’ll listen better!)

Avoid comparisons. Everyone has a different skill set. You are unique. The way you do things may differ from the techniques of others, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Unless you’re the reigning world champion, there will always be someone better at a specific skill than you. So what? You don’t need another trophy.

Memorize Philippians 4:13. Repeat frequently. Trust God and act on it!

Tack on hope. Add “yet,” that magical three-letter word that transforms “I can’t” thoughts into “I can with a little more time”:

“I can’t make this work…yet.

“I’m not smart enough to figure this out…yet.”

“I can’t handle this…yet.”

We believe and internalize what we tell ourselves. Words are powerful. They have the ability to change our perception of our own abilities from limited to limitless.

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