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
MJ | Barbed Wire & Lace Blog23rd July 2019 at 4:58 PM
I’ve tried so many times to overcome my negative self talk. It was so brutal and damning in the past. I was in such a horrible, negative mind space that I really made myself sick (mentally and physically).
I sat down and wrote a list of everything I like about myself and all of my accomplishments. I made myself promise that every time I got down on myself, I’d add something to that list.
It really helped me to realize that I’m not the dirtbag that my mind tries to make me out to be.
Anyways, this is a great post! I’m going to try to congratulate myself more often. For now, I’m off to shower and congratulate myself for it! ??
Gina Lucia24th July 2019 at 7:54 AM
Oh that’s a brilliant suggestion and one I have done in the past but probably not enough. I think I will start implementing that, thank you so much for sharing!
Chris Benton25th July 2019 at 5:29 PM
This is a great article and also can apply to sport.
As a keen golfer I know negative thoughts can really bring your game down, so agree totally it can work.
Gina Lucia26th July 2019 at 12:58 PM
Ah yes that’s so true. I bet it works in all walks of life.
Rita28th July 2019 at 9:08 PM
I like the idea of self-congratulations. It coincides with another theme I’ve been hearing recently and that is to celebrate small wins. Don’t wait for the big ones!
Gina Lucia29th July 2019 at 7:08 AM
Ah yes that’s a great one. Kind of like enjoy the process and don’t just race for the end goal.
Heidi Lee Westgate4th August 2020 at 1:51 PM
Negative and positive thinking can be dealt with in the same way as fearful thoughts. By moving to the thought that is the direct opposite of the fearful or negative thought. So for example if you are thinking negatively and your mind is telling you ‘I can’t do this, this is so hard’ you would switch it round to ‘I can do this with ease there is nothing to fear’.
Gina Lucia4th August 2020 at 2:22 PM
Great point, it works similarly to dealing with limiting beliefs in that way.
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