Challenge Negative Self-Talk By Replacing These 6 Phrases
Our words have power. If we repeat phrases often enough, they will become true. This is why it is so important to cut out negative self-talk from your life. Negative self-talk can have toxic effects and sabotage every area of your life by limiting your success, happiness, and potential. Take a look at the following negative self-talk examples and if you find that you tend to say these things, commit to stop today and replace them with positive alternatives.
“I’m an idiot”
Try: "I haven't learned this yet"
A repeated negative self-talk phrase I would use is, "I'm an idiot."I used this phrase mainly when I made minor mistakes like forgetting to copy someone on an email or not knowing a common industry process. One day, my friend called me out on the negative language and said, "you are not an idiot; you just haven't learned that yet." I quickly adjusted my language and mindset. I'm entitled to make mistakes and not to know everything. When you catch yourself about to say, "I'm an idiot," replace it with, "I haven't learned this yet." Saying you are an idiot is simply not true and leaves little room for growth.
“I will never be able to do it.”
Try: "I will give it a/another try."
The worst thing you can do is give up on yourself, your abilities, and your potential. To avoid questioning or damaging your confidence, avoid "I will never be able to do it" and replace it with "I will give it a/another try."
Saying and believing you will never be able to do something stems from self-doubt and lack of confidence.
“I should be _____ by now.”
Try: "Where I am, is my priority right now."
"I should be _____ by now" typically is spoken when we fail to meet an internal (or societal) expectation or fail to reach a personal goal. This negative self-talk phrase can imply the stage of your life is somehow less significant than where you think you should be.
Do not let not failing to meet an internal expectation become your gateway to use negative self-talk. Instead of "I should be ____ here by now," try "Where I am, is my focus right now." This alternative will help you stay focused on your present goals and priorities instead of expectations.
“People won’t like me/People won't think I'm smart”
Try:“I know what I'm doing and I am an asset to any team"
Your assumption of what others think of you is a reflection of what you think of yourself and how you measure up against others. Do not let these types of negative judgmental thoughts and assumptions lead you to negative self-talk.
You can’t genuinely know what anyone else is feeling or thinking, so shift your focus to what you know to be accurate. try focusing on what you know to be true.
Instead of saying something like, “People won’t like me/People won't think I'm smart” try _______ focus on the action itself.
"I’m destined to be ____ (alone, fat, skinny, etc.)."
Try:"I have the power to change my future"
As humans, we naturally tend to place extreme emphasis and focus on our present selves and speak in absolute terms, like "I will never" or "I'm destined to be." These talk phrases leave little room for growth and change. Your view of your own future largely shapes your behavior in the present. If you believe you are destined to be alone, fat, skinny, or fail your future goals, then your behavior in the present will reflect that. You will perform actions to support this limiting future, and you will be less likely to achieve your goals.
Remember, you dictate your future with your words and actions. So instead of saying, "I'm destined to be _______ (alone, fat, skinny, etc.), say, "I have the power to change my future." This will help shift your mindset and behavior to change your future through
“I’ll never be as good as of _______ (parent, partner, employee) as X”
Try: “I will give it my all to make this work.”
Comparing yourself and your experience to someone else's is unfair to your future self and inaccurate. In most cases, you are judging yourself without the complete picture of someone else's success. You are erroneously comparing your internal feelings and perceptions to someone else's external actions and behavior - which is like comparing apples and bananas. This skewed comparison and perspective will always make you feel deficient and don't quite measure up. Instead of saying, I'll never be as good as of _______ (parent, partner, employee) as X," try "I will give it my all to make this work."
Also, try asking for advice and help from the person you are comparing yourself. It will require vulnerability, but being open and honest about struggle will help you see the complete picture, and you are more than likely to get the support and reassurance needed.
Shifting our self-talk from negative to positive will not be easy and take practice, but will be worth it!
What are other negative self-talk phrases you can cut out? What are their alternative?