We talk to ourselves the entire day whether we are aware of it or not. It's a running commentary that goes in our head. This non-stop chatter has a huge influence on our attitude and behavior. It is so powerful that our bodies react to our head, i.e., when we think "I will not able to deliver a speech without forgetting and when I forget, the audience will glare and wonder what is wrong with me…" our palms sweat, our heart beats faster, there is a sudden surge of panic. This attack causes cloudy thinking and in reality we forget the lines. Over a period, it becomes a habitual thought pattern that comes every time a situation arises to be on the podium. This experience can be alienating and keep us from feeling comfortable in our interactions. Some examples of negative self-talk are
- I must be perfect in everything I do
- I was humiliated one time for not remembering my speech material, so I will forget every time I have to speak.
- I embarrass myself hence I should be in isolation.
Considering that self talk goes on 24/7, as time goes by we create in our head, a closed-looped toxic waste area. Such toxic inner environment (thinking) causes physical stressors such as headaches, asthma and upset stomach. We get anxious, panic mode sets in (feelings) and social functioning (behaviour) is impaired. This vicious cycle thus creates a self-defeating spiral.
Self-talk is a powerful tool for transformation if used to our advantage. Just as we create negative self talk, we can consciously re program our thinking to create positive self-talk. What does positive self-talk do? It promotes self-esteem. It helps being non-judgmental of self and others. It assists in forgiving self and others, honor the opinions of others and celebrate the differences. It generates positive attitude. Here are some positive self-talk to get us started:
- I am worthy
- I have the abilities
- I am worthy of the respect of others
- I am strong, vibrant and healthy
- I can agree to disagree
Positive self-talk improves performance. Positive self-talk turns obstacles into opportunities. It removes communication barriers. The greatest gift we can give to ourselves and the world is to become aware of our self-talk and adapt it to synchronize with reality.