Negative self-talk is such an easy trap to fall into, and we often don’t recognize when we’re doing it. It can be little moments, like when you answer a question wrong and your first thought is “Oh I knew that! I’m such an idiot!”. It can be extremely harmful, like when you look in the mirror and all you see is your flaws and nothing positive comes to mind.
Negative self-talk doesn’t have to be so pervasive in your life! It’s a habit like any other, and it’s possible to break free from doing it. Below are some of my favorite methodologies for stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. What do you do? Comment some of your favorite tips!
Recognize When You’re Doing It, Then Counteract
This will be retroactive at first. You’ll say something negative to yourself, like that you’re stupid or lazy or difficult. Try to recognize that you’ve just talked badly to your own self. Then, counteract it with a more rational and level-headed explanation. Use the ADHD, other difficulties or external factors to recognize what’s really happening.
- “I’m stupid” becomes…. I’m lacking the necessary executive functions for this to come naturally, so I’ve made an understandable mistake
- “I’m lazy” becomes…. ADHD makes activation difficult so I have to work twice as hard to do tasks that others might consider easy, which often zaps my energy
Imagine You’re Talking to a Friend
Would you call a friend a loser if they made a mistake? Hopefully you wouldn’t! We all tease each other, but often when a friend feels down on him/herself and engages in negative self-talk, our first instinct is to say something positive that lifts them up. It’s difficult for most of us to watch someone else beat themselves up about something, especially if it seems minor.
When you talk down to yourself, think about whether you would say the same thing to a good friend and actually mean it. If the answer is no, then you shouldn’t say it to yourself either!
Instead, consider what you might say to a friend who used the same negative language about him/herself. If you need to, say it out loud to reinforce the message. Repeat as often as needed.
Engage in More Positive Self-Talk
Every morning, write down 1-2 things that you like about yourself. They can be physical, intellectual, or emotional things – the only rule is that it has to be something positive! Throughout the day, as you notice you’re engaging in negative self-talk, visualize your list. See what you wrote that’s positive and remind yourself that there are things you like about yourself.
If you’ve engaged in negative self-talk daily for many years, this may be difficult at first. Try to make the list from real examples. Did you cook a good meal recently? Did you compliment someone? Did you do a favor for a friend? Did you perform a task that felt overwhelming?
This may be easier to do on a day you’re in a good mood. Try to do it every day, so you can practice positive self-talk when you’re in any kind of mood.
If negative self-talk is your default mode, it will be difficult to change your perspective – and this is one of many steps to practicing more self love. But try to do it every day and the change will happen over time! Start today – drop a comment below to share something positive that you like about yourself!