Get Rid of Negative Self-Talk Once And For All

By Steve Gahagen


It would be interesting and probably frightening to monitor the minds of people we interact with on a daily basis. Apparently Siri has the ability to listen in on whatever we say. But what do people think—not about us (that could be offensive), but about themselves? What does their self-talk sound like? Though there are some people who seem naturally confident and self-assured, I think that we would find that many of us are pretty hard on ourselves.

In workshops with adults or mentoring clubs with students we often find that people struggle with questions that ask them to describe themselves in positive terms—questions like, “What are 2-3 three positive words you would use to describe yourself?” or “What are two recent successes you have had?”

To the skeptic, the concept of thinking positively about who you are sounds in sync with our world of participation trophies. A few years ago I came across a self-esteem board game in which participants, at one point, were asked to hold a mirror in front of them and for thirty seconds say as many positive things about themselves as the rest of the players watched. I can’t visualize the awkwardness of actually playing that game with any groups of people I know.

But I do believe that everyone should have a moment in which they are amazed by who they are—the talents and gifts they bring—and how certain things fill them with energy and passion.

Questions to consider

Get rid of negative self-talk once and for all. Consider daily responding to the following thoughts:

  1. Two things I’m grateful for are …

  2. 2-3 positive words friends or family would use to describe me …

  3. Two recent successes where I did something well

  4. A way I have modeled generosity to others

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