I don’t know about you, but I’ve been the victim of my own negative self-talk for years. Call it my inner critic, critical inner voice or simply my limiting beliefs. Either way, this voice has silenced my progress and satisfaction with life for way too long.
Over the years, I’ve used many techniques to try and silence this voice including:
- Turning my limiting beliefs into truth statements
- Training myself to let go of perfection
- Focusing on the present instead of the past or future
But the problem with these techniques is that they require a lot of work and some serious self-reflection.
I think you’ll agree that sometimes in life, we need something a little more enjoyable to focus on.
What is negative self-talk?
Before I talk about the technique, let’s address what it is.
Negative self-talk can come in a variety of forms but you’ve most likely experienced it a few times, no matter who you are.
This little voice or inner critic can utter phrases that range from “Why can’t I focus?”, to “I’m completely worthless”. Either way, its effects can be extremely harmful to our self-esteem. The causes of such talk can be influenced by outside sources such as family or friends. But in all cases, negative self-talk comes from within us.
When listened to for many years, this negative self-talk can completely shape lives and manifest itself in limiting beliefs which stop us from achieving the life we truly want.
Overcoming negative self-talk
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to overcoming negative self-talk. Every person is completely different in their experiences, preferences, and even the type of inner critic they have. What works for me, may not work for you.
So while overcoming negative self-talk is a massive task which will likely take years to train out of yourself. This little technique could be another tool to add to your belt, as it is just one tool in mine.
What is self-congratulation?
Onto my technique. I use this in conjunction with a bunch of other good habits that I’ve accumulated over the years. I mentioned these at the start of this article.
Self-congratulation is the act of congratulating yourself for completing a task or achieving something. It doesn’t matter how large or small this is, any time you do something that you’re pleased with, congratulate yourself.
This can take a few forms:
- Inner congratulation
- Outer congratulation
The first is simple, if nobody else is around, or you want to keep your ultra positivity quiet, give yourself an inner pat on the back. Say something like “I did a really good job then, go me!”, or “I’m pretty pleased with that!”. The simple act of recognising achievement and congratulating yourself will give you a positive boost (trust me!).
The second works when others are around. If you’ve achieved something in a group, or you contributed something positive to a group, then you could say outwardly “Wow, we did a great job!” or, “I did that!”. This should be done in a positive and non-braggy way (this is a fine line – it can be seen as selfish to talk about yourself).
The aim here is to congratulate the group, or yourself for your contribution and encourage others to do the same.
How to create a self-congratulation habit
Self-congratulation may seem a little cheesy at first, but it works, especially for those of us who are used to putting other people first. This habit changes the way you think and talk about yourself, instead of negative, you shift your mindset to the positive.
Over the past year, I’ve made this a habit by starting small. Congratulate yourself once per day for absolutely anything you’ve achieved. Took the bins out? Congratulate yourself. Wrote a blog post? Congratulate yourself. Heck, even took a shower, go ahead and congratulate yourself!
If you’re the journaling type, create a section in your journal each day to congratulate yourself on at least one thing you’ve achieved. Again, it doesn’t matter how large or small it is, you just want to make it a habit.
Over time this will turn into a muscle that you’ve worked, you’ll begin to congratulate yourself naturally.
The benefits of self-congratulation
From my experience of self-congratulation, the benefits I’ve seen are more than just the obvious. They include:
- A more positive outlook on life
- An enjoyment of the journey instead of a race towards the end goal
- Influence on those around you to also self-congratulate themselves
Life’s too short to talk to yourself like an enemy. It’s time we all started celebrating all our daily achievements and live life in the moment.
How have you worked to beat negative self-talk? Leave your techniques in the comments so we can discuss and share our experiences.
Featured image by Oleg Ivanov