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An Effective Process For Overcoming Negative Self-Talk - Part 4

Written by: Phillip Golding, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

In my previous article ‘Be the Master of Your Mind’, I focused on the two foundational principles of Self-Mastery (Laws of Consciousness) – 1. Self-Acceptance and 2. full Personal Responsibility – and what real Self-Mastery does and does not look like. With this article, I will focus on showing you how you can practically make a real positive difference to your life. In all of my previous articles for Brainz magazine, I have been showing you how to awaken your Awareness by placing Acceptance and Responsibility at the center of your approach to the way you care for and manage yourself and how you deal with the world around you. So let’s look at how these two Laws of Consciousness can be put to work to transform your mind. I will focus on a common problem that undermines and disempowers us and that is negative self-talk.

woman in gray shirt looking at the window.

Consequences of Negative Self-Talk

Our perceptions about ourselves and the world around us are determined by the ways our minds think, and the meaning our minds place on all that we experience. The way our minds think is determined by the ways we have become conditioned throughout our formative years. The quality, or usefulness of our conditioning is determined by whether it has been predominantly based on unconditional love or fear and judgement. If our conditioning has been overly influenced by fear and judgement, we are likely to have developed the habit of judging ourselves and deeming ourselves unworthy if things don’t go our way. In other words, we have taken on habits of rejecting ourselves instead of accepting ourselves as we are. When we judge/reject ourselves, it makes it very difficult to turn mistakes and difficulties into opportunities to learn and grow. Instead, we tend to blame ourselves or others and remain stuck. We only see and create more problems, rather than seeing and becoming the solution.


Becoming the Solution to Your Negative Self-Talk


There is a secret that those who are resilient, who can bounce back and succeed in the face of difficulty know, whether consciously or unconsciously. The secret is that our lives are not determined by the world around us. Regardless of our circumstances and conditioning, our lives are determined by the ways we think about and react/respond to the world around us. If your self-worth/love is dependent on being accepted and approved of by those around you, or by things always going your way, than your peace of mind and stability will be at the mercy of the ever-changing conditions of your circumstances. If you are committed to accepting full responsibility to accept yourself, your fallible humanness, unconditionally and take responsibility for all that you think, say and do, and therefore feel, then you are going to want to learn more about how to care for and master yourself when life gets challenging. Every experience, whether positive or negative, is now turned to your advantage. You are no longer a victim of life, you are now a student of Life. Life is now happening for you, not to you. You are no longer an ego being controlled by a blindly conditioned mind. You are an awakened awareness, learning how to care for and master your own mind. You are learning how to be in the drivers seat of your mind, steering it toward your real potential and the life that you really want.

Overcome Negative Self-Talk Exercise

I will now lay out for you a practical exercise that will show you how to identify negative self-talk and turn it around so that you can have a positive and empowering relationship with yourself. This will, in turn, improve the ways you care for yourself, your decision making and the ways you form and conduct your relationships, whether personal or business. This exercise is adapted from my book ‘Five Steps to Freedom, Revised Edition’. Make good use of your journal while doing this exercise. Writing down your thoughts greatly increases the power and effectiveness of the process, because you are lifting your thoughts up out of the recesses of your mind and into the light of day of your awareness, where you can take control of your life. Once recorded, you can then delve deeper into what you have written to gain more perspective and insight. What this exercise is about is learning to be the wise, loving parent to your own vulnerable and confused human-self. If you persist, this exercise will enable you to experience love as something that you can access internally. You are always within the embrace of Universal Love and you access this love at any time through actively and responsibly caring for yourself ‒ by being a representative of this Universal Love to yourself. This is not an exercise to do just once. In order to gain positive control of your mind, it is essential to do this exercise on a daily basis, at least until your new positive and loving self-talk starts to feel normal and natural. Also, don’t expect to be very skilled at it at first. It is normal to not be used to looking within and being there for yourself, and being your own best friend.


Read the exercise through first at least a few times before you start in order to gain a good feel for the process. 1. Today, right this moment, make a rock solid commitment to treat yourself and speak to yourself only with acceptance, loving kindness, compassion and forgiveness. This will also help to bring your self-rejecting thoughts more into focus. Post yourself reminders in as many ways you as can, so you can stay aware of your positive intention throughout your day, otherwise your old mindsets will just take over and cause you to forget.


2. Keep a little notebook with you always, that you can use to write down your self-rejecting thoughts, as you become aware of them (our mobile phones are now useful for this purpose). Don’t be surprised by how often you observe such self-destructive thoughts.


3. The more you lift your negative self-talk into your awareness, the more power you will have over it. The more familiar you become with it, the more you will be able to identify it in the moment and make a better choice.


4. Identify the negative self-talk, but do NOT identify with it. Recognise that if any thoughts coming from your mind are unkind/unloving towards you, then they are the product of past confusion. You are learning to no longer reinforce this insidious form of self-harm.


5. Also, understand that you are not doing this to become self-indulgent, but to become self-responsible, to become the wise, empowered and loving forever parent to yourself.


6. When you observe negative self-talk, write it down in that moment, or as soon as you can, before you forget. In that moment or later on that day or evening, make time to focus your awareness on the self-rejecting thoughts you have recorded. Feel into what these thoughts are doing to you. Write down what you discover, while remembering that you have a right to be human and that this process is a starting point to making a positive difference to your life.


7. As you contemplate your self-rejecting thoughts, imagine this human-self, that you are putting down, is you when you were a vulnerable child just wanting to be accepted and loved. Look back at how vulnerable and powerless you were as that child, knowing also that you have done the best you could with the awareness that you have had, from then, right up to now.


8. Always remember that you have a right to be human. You have a right to learn and grow. Self-acceptance must always be our foundation. Children, as well as adults, learn and grow to be happy and healthy in an environment of Unconditional Love. You are now taking control of the environment that your mind/your humanness/your inner-child lives in. You are setting things right. That is your power of Conscious-Awareness.


9. Examine the negative self-talk that you have identified so far and explore and write down positive self-accepting/caring/loving things to keep saying to yourself instead. Let your feelings guide you.


10. Pay attention to any resistance to being kind to yourself that may be coming from your old conditioning. Spend time exploring and writing about this to compassionately connect to the dilemma that you were in as a child, adolescent and young adult. Reflect on these memories with the awareness of how powerless you were then and how you could not avoid taking on negative conditioning. Know that this is your life and your mind and you now have the power to take charge.


11. As you become more skilled with this process, you will gain more of a feel for the right things to say to yourself. On a daily basis, use your new positive self-talk, that you explore and right down on a daily basis, to keep countering the negative. If you persist, your new positive self-talk will soon be triggered along with the negative, increasingly neutralising the negative. In time, the positive will overtake and replace the negative. This will be the result of your never-give-up persistence.


12. You will also notice that some recurring negative self-talk will give way easily, while other negative self-talk will be more persistent, held in place by deeper, more entrenched conditioning. Don’t be discouraged. Keep working with it for as long as it takes. This entrenched self-rejection may take to deeper layers of healing that you need to do for yourself.


13. If you experience others putting you down, feel into how that affected you. If it hurt you, or in other words, if you think their confusion had something to do with you, look closely at what you are thinking about yourself. Even if you made a mistake, you don’t deserve to be belittled or spoken to harshly. You have a right to be human. Let go of the other person and focus on how their harsh words have exposed doubts you have about yourself. This is about you caring for yourself and therefore taking charge of your own life. We give our power away by holding others responsible for our worth. If you do need to set boundaries to protect yourself from negative people, as a part of caring for yourself, this exercise will help you gain the necessary clarity and courage to do so.


14. Remember, you did the best you could in the past with the awareness that you had, right up to this moment. This also applies to your efforts now. Forgive yourself for your human mistakes and realise that you now have an opportunity to treat yourself differently and to work toward healing the wounds of the past. Forgiving yourself is an important step toward living this new way of life.


15. Be open to whatever emotions that are released during this process. Do your best to let them flow while breathing deeply and slowly, which will help you manage the emotions more effectively. Acknowledging your own pain works the same as when someone else important to you acknowledges your pain. This is not about indulging in self-pity or being a victim, it is taking your own mind into your heart, like embracing your own upset child. Staying with your vulnerable emotions, with your self-accepting and compassionate heart open to yourself, is very important for healing. It is about helping your inner-child/human-self feel that he/she is in the presence of your Love, simply by you being there. Let your emotions flow and trust that any emotional release will pass naturally and have a chance to heal in the process while you compassionately stay open to it. This is one of the great powers of awareness. Much of this pent-up emotion comes from your childhood. You were so small and powerless then. It is normal to feel that uncomfortable vulnerability again as the emotions are coming through your consciousness now. This can be challenging at first. Remember that you are an adult now with Conscious-Awareness. These challenging emotions are coming from memories where you were powerless, but you now have the power to be there for yourself in a way that you couldn’t as a child.


16. Don’t try to force or ‘fix’ your emotions, like there is something wrong with you. Go gently. Learning to be there consistently for yourself with acceptance and compassion is like giving yourself the love that you didn’t get when your memories/conditioning was being formed. This is what you needed then and what you need now.


17. You don’t have to be experiencing emotional release. There are no shoulds or shouldn’ts. It is more about learning to be there for yourself and acknowledging what you are feeling, validating that you have a right to be human.


18. To help you recognise what is for your highest good, consider viewing these new ways of talking to yourself and caring for yourself in the long term. Would it enhance your life in the short, medium and long term? How does it compare to the old negative self-talk?


19. Don’t be concerned about finding the perfect answers. It is all a journey of trial and error. Any step toward genuinely caring for yourself is going to improve your life. Be free and open to learn from each attempt to talk and act more lovingly toward yourself.


20. Write out on a card or in your pocket book or phone your new positive self-talk and refer to it regularly in order to keep your Conscious-Awareness ahead of the old destructive habits. Give yourself as many reminders as you can. Your awareness needs as much help as you can give it.


21. You can program your mobile phone to give you positive messages every couple of hours. Regular reminders are essential for reprogramming the old conditioning. Habits are formed through repetition. You are now removing the power from the old destructive thinking habits and putting that power into creating good thinking habits.


22. When you catch yourself again in a state of self-rejection, you increasingly have these new strategies that you are creating to fall back on. When you keep referring to these new positive intentions, you will increasingly gain more clarity of the consequences of self-rejection. You will also have more clarity around how to treat yourself with loving kindness in that moment.


23. Continue to put this exercise into practice on a daily basis. Try to see this as your new lifestyle and not some unrealistic quick fix. It is not about getting it right. It is about having a go and learning from each experience. Recognise that by making this your new lifestyle, you will naturally continue to heal and grow.


24. No matter how tough, persistent and multi-layered the old self-destructive mind-habits are, they will inevitably give way, so long as you patiently, gently, but with determination, persist, with a never-give-up attitude. Therefore, easy dose it, but keep doing it. There is no “are we there yet”. There is you, your mind, now and every day. Feed your mind positive energy every day, because it will grow on what you feed it. That is the power of your awareness. If you keep doing this, realising your increasing, self-created experience of happiness, fulfilment and empowerment is inevitable.


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Phillip Golding, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Phil has been on his own personal development journey since 1984. He overcame chronic depression and PTSD, which motivated him to continue to learn about emotional healing, psychology, and self-awareness. Phil’s qualifications and experience cover general psychology, existential/spiritual/transpersonal psychology and mindfulness and a post-graduate degree in psychology. With his personal and professional experience, Phil developed the powerful and effective mindfulness-based “Five Step Process,” which has been the foundation of his psychotherapy practice and mindfulness/self-awareness teaching. Phil is also an author and is in the process of completing the second edition of his book, “Five Steps to Freedom.”

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