One Powerful Word That Will Stop Negative Self Talk

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
– Henry Ford

Have you ever challenged your thoughts?

Have you ever wondered what shapes your way of thinking and your worldview?

Many of us suffer silently – in our heads.

Our inner dialogues tell us we are not good enough. We are not worth it. We will never make it. That takes a toll on our confidence and stunts our growth.

We don’t think enough these days. The time we think the most is when our brain comes up with excuses about why we shouldn’t or can’t do something. Or reminiscing about the past. Or worrying about the future.

What you think makes or breaks you.

Why do we need to pay attention to negative self talk?

Human minds are fascinating. Our brains are capable of doing many things – from remembering things, switching attention, autocompletion to intuition.

In psychology, the human mind is broadly divided into the conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind (according to Sigmund Freud). Think of it like a giant iceberg where the tip about water is the conscious mind (around 12% of the whole iceberg), and the remaining part – the subconscious and unconscious – underneath water. Our critical thinking, logics, short-term memory and willpower make up the conscious mind. It controls our behaviours, habits and decisions but there is a bigger force behind it. It turns out that a lot of things are going on in the background. Our core values and beliefs, emotions, intuition, creativity and what happened when we grew up make up our subconscious mind.

Let’s take an example. Say you think crows mean bad luck. If someone asks you why, you might say something like “it’s bad omen, it’s associated with bad luck, like something or someone’s watching you, and that everyone knows about that”. But if you are asked to continue explaining why you think so, you might remember seeing bad things happen to someone after they spotted a crow nearby before something happened to them in the movies. You might even have personal experiences that further support your view. In this example, your belief that crows mean bad luck guides your behaviours. You will panick or hide in your house if you ever see a crow on the street. You will reject wonderful opportunities if you see a crow before making decisions.

Such core beliefs shape our self talks. And our self talks guide our behaviours and decision-making. But most of the time we are not aware of our inner dialogues because they are like friends in our heads that grow up with us. We interact with them all the time.

And this is exactly why we have to pay attention.

If you constantly think that you are not good enough, you have already assumed that you will fail. If you constantly think so little of yourself, you will keep rejecting opportunities, which means you are not getting out of the comfort zone and you will never improve or grow.

Not everyone is born being confident. Nor is everyone good at everything they do. But the difference between those who succeed, who are willing to take risks versus those who fail and who never bother to try, is the self talk.

People always say mindset is half of the battle of anything you do.

I think that is very true.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
– Henry Ford


What makes up our self talk?

Our childhood shapes our worldview for the most part before we are conscious about our own thinking. We modelled from our parents or guardians. We adopted the same values and beliefs. If you grew up in a frugal family, there is a chance that you have a scarcity mindset. If you grew up in an entrepreneurial family, there is a chance that you have a high tolerance of risks.

As we grow up, we become more conscious of our own thoughts and emotions. We start to realise how we can sometimes persuade ourselves to do things we have never done before. We also start to understand the differences in other people’s worldviews. At the same time, what we observe and consume directly affect the way we talk to ourselves as well. News and social media definitely shape our worldview, in a rather subtle way. I have witnessed this many times, that’s why I’m a huge advocate of information diet – you have to be mindful about every piece of information you are consuming.

How to change or improve self talk

Your self talk reflects your relationship with yourself.

As you are the one who spend the most time with yourself, don’t you think you should treat yourself like your best friend?

Are you constantly disapproving yourself? Are you showing yourself sympathy and encouragement?

Self talk, after all, is the language you choose to speak to yourself with. The key here, is the perspectives and emotions in the way you talk to yourself.

I believe that both positivity and negativity are contagious. The emotions you experience every day have a snowball effect on your self-belief.

Here’re a few tips I would recommend to change the way you talk to yourself. I have been using them constantly and they have helped me tremendously (excuse my Harry Potter references #sorrynotsorry).

1/ House elves' self talk

Take a step back from your situation and look at it from a third person’s point of view. Imagine it is your best friend who’s going through this situation. Talk to yourself as if you are giving advice to your best friend. An example for me would be: “Venus, I understand. It is okay to feel sad. What is within your control now to change the situation?”

It might sound weird at first to address yourself from a third person (exactly like how Dobby talks – but you don’t have to bang your head every time you make a mistake), but this tiny shift has a huge effect: it changes your perspectives instantly. You now look at things from new angles. You now put a distance between yourself and your problems. You can now think of solutions to solve the problems instead of beating yourself up.

2/ Time travel

Think about what will happen in 6 months’ time. What is the significance of this situation? What can you do NOW to mitigate the worst case scenario? Once you jump ahead of time, you will start to see that what you’re going through now is just temporary. This too shall pass. In this case, you can inject more positivity and HOPE into your self talk and problem solving.

One Powerful Word That Will Stop Negative Self Talk

Here’s my all-time favourite word to add to my self talk vocabulary: YET.

“I’m not good enough… yet”.

“I can’t do that… yet.”

“I don’t have what it takes to succeed… yet.”

Do you see how powerful this three-letter word is? It symbolises hope, certainty and the possibility that you can still improve to achieve your goals.

Here’s what will happen when you use more positive dialogues with yourself:

Your turn

What are you going to try next to improve your self talk? Comment down below and share your favourite self talk!

P.S. I talk about the subconscious mind, growth mindset and setting yourself up for success in depth in my 6-week 1:1 personal development program FIND YOUR FORTE. Let’s work together to reach your full potential! Door will be opened for a limited time only. Details:

Watch the video here