What are the repeating negative patterns in your life?
Do you find yourself with the same type of partner again and again, in the same top of job with the same stress-inducing boss, or feeling pigeonholed into repeating scenarios that you just can’t shake?
So much of what we attract is the result of our beliefs, and our beliefs often stem from the words we use. Whether we speak them out loud or say them to ourselves, those repeating refrains hold much more power than many of us imagine.
Maybe you already know the power of belief and have spent time working on shifting those that are limiting you. But have you considered what words you use? We often say things out loud or to ourselves quite unconsciously. Phrases and the beliefs they create can be so ingrained in us that it takes either another person or a conscious effort in order to catch them.
Words have so much power, according to therapist Marisa Peer. She’s an expert in helping people identify and change the self-talk that’s limiting their life experiences every day. Do you want to start shifting your self-talk for the better? Read on to learn how to turn self-criticism into positive statements, what happens when you beat yourself up, and how to come up with positive self-talk affirmations that work for you.
Who Is Marisa Peer?
Marisa Peer is a renowned hypnotherapist, coach, author, self-love advocate, and creator of the multi-award-winning Rapid Transformational Therapy® (RTT®) technique, which draws on her experience as a hypnotherapist as well as in identifying what works for each person specifically. This modality reflects her mission to offer rapid, effective techniques that are accessible to anyone and that can instigate profound change in their lives
She’s been helping high profile clients such as celebrities, CEOs, and sports stars for over 30 years and is the best-selling author of five books. Her I Am Enough movement is helping people around the world understand the impact self-worth and self-love has on every aspect of their lives. She also offers self-hypnosis programs on topics like relationships, emotional well-being, and financial abundance.
Join In 200 Million+ On The Journey to Greatness
10 Ways to Uplevel Your Self-Talk
Being kind to yourself is what will help you achieve the most success in your life. When you’re loving toward yourself, even when you make a mistake, you won’t make matters worse through self-criticism, and you’ll be able to actually enjoy your successes. But how do you actually go about shifting your self-talk? Is it simply about saying “I forgive myself” when you make a mistake or “I can do this” when you’re preparing for a challenge?
Read on to learn the ten ways you can improve your self-talk.
#1: Learn Why Our Minds Favor the Negative
With toxic positivity on the rise, it’s easy to get down on yourself for having a negative bias. “Negative” doesn’t have the best connotation, especially among certain groups of people in the wellness space. But here’s the thing: We’re wired to be negative. Being negative once kept us alive. Expecting the best wasn’t helpful when we lived in hunter-gatherer groups and were at the mercy of the natural world, including animals that hunted us, long winters, and diseases. To protect us, our brains skewed more toward what could go wrong than what could go right.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with negativity, and if you struggle with negative thinking, there’s nothing wrong with you. This is especially true if you grew up in circumstances that would make you expect bad things to happen (like growing up with unstable housing or income).
That said, a negative bias can be destructive and limiting when it’s chronic and unbalanced. It’s not very pleasant to be around either: The friend who’s always complaining or who finds the worst in everything can be hard to be around. To some degree or another, we’ve all been that person, so this isn’t about judgment. Rather, it’s a time to look at the impact negative talk has on your life and take steps to change it.
#2: Understand the Impact of Your Words
While negativity may be perfectly normal, it doesn’t do most of us any favors. When our negativity bias is very high, our expectations tend to be self-fulfilling prophecies. The words we use both reflect and create these harmful expectations.
In an article, Marisa describes seeing a client who kept using the phrase “I can’t cope.” As she told Marisa about her challenging relationship, boss, and kids, she repeatedly used the phrase “I can’t cope” to describe her situation. She couldn’t cope with her unruly kids, her overwhelming job, and her chaotic home life. Marisa noticed the repetitive phrase and pointed it out to the patient. It turned out that it was a phrase her mother had used to say!
Marisa guided her to replace the phrase with, “I have phenomenal coping skills.” She also had her assign more neutral language to her situation. Instead of saying that her job was “impossible,” she had her describe it as “sometimes challenging.” Pretty simple, right? After using that phrase, Marisa’s client returned weeks later feeling calmer, more peaceful, and more in control. Her situation hadn’t changed, but she had.
#3: Identify Unconscious Phrases and Negative Narratives
It’s likely that we all have some story we’re telling ourselves that’s similar to Marisa’s client’s. Like her, we may have even picked up these stories from someone else. Negative bias happens in all areas of life — relationships, money, you name it. What are your negative narratives? Here are a few examples:
- Life is hard.
- I’m late, now the day is ruined.
- There’s always something.
- I can never get ahead with money.
- There’s no way I can …
Give yourself a week or two to make a conscious effort to notice. What stories are you telling yourself? Keep them in a journal.
#4: Replace Negative Narratives with Positive Ones
Once you’ve identified problem areas, it’s time to make some changes. What’s key here, according to Marisaa, is to be neutral. You’re not trying to apply false positivity here, nor are you trying to deny reality. Don’t bypass the difficulty of a difficult situation. However, your emotionally charged critical language isn’t objective — it’s negatively biased, and it creates stress and painful emotions. Shift your language to something more neutral.
Let’s look at a few examples:
- Life is hard — Life can be challenging sometimes, but there’s also beauty and happiness in it. I can find resources and tools to help me through the hard times.
- I’m late, now the day is ruined — I didn’t get here when I wanted to, but there’s still the rest of the day to go right.
- There’s always something — I’ve handled issues in the past, I can handle them again. There’s always something wrong, but there’s also always something right.
- I can never get ahead with money — I haven’t been great with money in the past, but I’m getting better and learning more and more about creating wealth.
- There’s no way I can … — I haven’t done this before, but I can learn new skills.
When comparing the negative statements to the neutral/positive statements, which ones make you feel better? Which ones make you feel scared and worried, and which ones make you feel empowered and hopeful? Would you tell a friend “You’re late for work, now your day is going to be ruined” or would you tell them, “You’re late, but you still have the rest of the day?”
Treat yourself lovingly and kindly by using neutral, more positive statements with yourself.
#5: Make a List of Phrases to Use Regularly
The way you think and talk is ingrained and unconscious, so it takes time to identify and shift those patterns. According to Marisa, having a list of go-to list of phrases (otherwise known as affirmations) to use every day can help make it easier.
Identify how you want to feel, what you want to be, and what positive circumstances you want in your life, and create phrases around those. You should also include some to replace the repeat offenders you’ve already identified. Your list might look something like this:
- Things always end up working out.
- Life can flow and be easy.
- I’m getting better and better at saving money every day.
- I’m beautiful, talented, and desirable.
- I have the power to create the conditions I want in my life
#6: Repeat the “I Am Enough” Mantra Every Day
At the root of many people’s problems lie feelings of unworthiness, says Marisa. While we tend to make things complicated, she aims to simplify. No matter the complexities of our situations and life circumstances, at the root of unhappiness and unfulfilled potential is the belief, “I am not enough.”
Self-criticism shuts us down, disempowers us, and drains the fun out of life. It’s counterproductive (though understandable). Much like your negative bias, your inner critic wants to keep you safe, to protect you from embarrassment, disappointment, and failure.
To combat this ingrained pattern, simply say “I am enough” regularly. Say it whenever you pass by a mirror, repeat it before bed, use it whenever you feel the first inklings of a negative, self-critical narrative starting to form. According to Marisa, repetition is what’s key. Saying things enough times will eventually convince your brain the truth.
Here’s what Marisa has to say about the phrase:
“I Am Enough” is the most powerful statement of truth I have taught millions of people all over the world to use to transform their lives. Put the phrase where you will often see it — by your bed, on your mirror, fridge, phone, laptop, car’s dashboard, etc. Tell yourself out loud that you are enough, regularly and repeatedly, as this is how the mind learns. Say it in multiple tenses: ‘I am enough, I’ve always been enough, I will always be enough.’” – Marisa Peer
#7: Give Yourself Compliments
Being praised feels amazing. We all love getting accolades, recognition, and compliments from our colleagues and loved ones. We may even crave them so much that we fish for them, hoping whoever we’re with has taken notice of the things we deeply desire recognition for. But why wait for someone else? Give yourself the praise you want.
According to Marisa, you should consider which compliments you love most from other people, and use those as part of your self-talk and self-love work. Write them on a sticky note, stick it on your bathroom mirror, and repeat them often. The process of complimenting yourself in front of a mirror is one of the most powerful techniques to build self-love.
#8: Use Self-Talk to Heal Yourself
You can use positive self-talk to improve every area of your life, including your mental, emotional, and physical health. Negative self-talk creates fear, tension, and stress that affects your well-being in myriad ways. As we’ve seen, it also sets you up to feel like you can’t handle the challenges in your way or life itself. Positive self-talk empowers you to overcome obstacles and, importantly, can help you feel safer, more peaceful, and more empowered.
Instead of “I never have enough time to fit a workout in,” try, “I have amazing organizational skills and I can make time for the things that support my health.” Instead of “I’ll always be this anxious,” try “I always have the ability to change.”
What shifts would you like to see in terms of your well-being? Get started changing your self-talk around them today.
#9: Use Self-Talk to Heal Your Relationships
Positive self-talk can support your confidence and self-esteem, so you can attract the relationship you want. When you don’t feel good enough, you might settle for someone you don’t really like out of fear of being alone. Or, you might put up with disrespectful or abusive behavior because you don’t think you can do better.
Negative self-talk affects all our relationships, not just romantic ones. You might be a people-pleasure or struggle with being authentic because you don’t believe revealing the real you will bring favorable results. At the root of both of these are feelings of unworthiness. But you can heal this unworthiness through self-talk.
Use the I am enough affirmation along with any others you’ve identified to remind yourself of all that you bring to the table. When something doesn’t go as expected, don’t jump to negative self-talk right away. Instead of “This was a failure,” try, “This didn’t work out as expected, but I’m learning more and more about who I am and what I want in this process.”
#10: Use Self-Talk to Manifest Success
Did you pick up self-talk about money from your parents? Many of us did. Maybe you were taught money doesn’t grow on trees, you have to work hard to make money, or that it’s not noble to care about financial abundance. These beliefs can lead to negative self-talk around what’s possible that can truly limit you.
A self-critical voice can easily show up when you feel you’re not where you should be financially. You might be critical about your debt, your credit score, or your spending habits. While you should be realistic and honest about where you are, emotionally charged judgemental language may actually make things worse. It creates a sense of hopelessness, which can prevent you from doing anything to change your situation.
If you ever think to yourself, “I’ll never get out of debt, I’m so bad with money,” or, “This is hopeless,” make an effort to change your self-talk for the better.
You Can Heal Your Self-Talk
If you’re learning about how your beliefs and perspectives influence outcomes, you might have gotten into vision boards, affirmations, positive thinking, energy work, and more. But have you looked at your day-to-day self talk? When you’re not reciting an affirmation, how are you talking to yourself and others? What phrases are you using as you describe life events? Words have power. When you stop describing things to yourself or others in negative terms, you change the way you perceive challenges and your ability to overcome them. It’s time to get into the nitty gritty of your word choice and descriptions and make new choices that support positive outcomes.
Greatness Authors is a collection of writers, thinkers, curiosity experts, and students of the world who are committed to bringing you the most up-to-date, impactful, and inspiring information surrounding Greatness topics.