Imagine you have a friend whose boyfriend is always tearing her down and continually telling her that she’s stupid, unable to cope, that nobody likes her and that she isn’t pretty enough. What would you say to your friend?
Obviously you would tell her she should break up with her negative boyfriend, or at least that she should stop paying attention to his continual criticisms.
Even though that is the advice you would give someone else, when it comes to ourselves we pay attention to an incessant negative monologue about ourselves that is just as bad. The monologue of negativity isn’t coming from another person but from our own brain. Instead of “breaking up” with our negative brain, we pay attention to it.
Here are some examples of how we can challenge negative self-talk:
- “Yes, this is a difficult challenge, but I have many resources for coping with this.”
- “Okay, things are going wrong in my life right now, but I still have a lot to be grateful for.”
- “I don’t know how this is going to turn out but I do know that whatever happens I will be stretched and have the opportunity to grow through this trial.”
- “I know from the past that I’ve been able to endure and achieve a lot more than I thought I’d be able to. I have a basis for confidence as these further challenges arise in my life.”
Notice that this type of positive self-talk is not blind optimism or escapism but based on realities that most of us can affirm about ourselves and our lives.