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How to Stop Negative Self-Talk

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

In this week's video, I talk about identifying negative self-talk and negative default programming, how to reduce the shame around it, and provide some practical tools to help you feel better about your own negative self-talk. Negative self-talk is the naughty, self-deprecating things that we say about ourselves to ourselves. It's the unedited version of just how awful we can be towards ourselves...and we ALL do it! Negative default programming is a term used to identify when and how negative self-talk was born and why it still persists. It is the automatic, negative thought(s) that comes up when something doesn't go our way and we either:

a) direct that negativity towards ourselves,

b) direct it towards others, or

c) both

As children, we are blank slates. We are sponges to the experiences around us and we are simply soaking it all in at a rapid pace at all times. The most challenging part is that we do not have a choice of what gets absorbed and how much because the ego (sense of self) has not yet fully formed to filter these things out. Additionally, a child is ego-centric which means the child, by default, can start to blame his/herself when he/she is directly, or indirectly, exposed to enough negative experiences. This results in not being able to decipher when things go wrong whether it is his/her fault or someone else's. Over time, if the child continues to be exposed to these types of experiences, and it isn't corrected, the individual will internalize such negative messages as not being lovable, not good enough, they are damaged, something is wrong with them, etc. These messages, or some form of them, can carry over into adulthood and oftentimes show up as the first thing to come to mind when something goes wrong, there is an inordinate amount of stress, or an experience is simply perceived as negative. Another point about negative default programming is that we actually have no control over it as it is a survival instinct that is inherent to the human condition. It actually functions to keep us safe and alive. The purpose of the automatic negative thought is to simply get our attention that something is wrong...that's it. Once it's been realized, we then have the choice regarding how we want to react to it and when we are healthy we choose the positive choice. That's how things can get better. How to feel better about negative self-talk:

1) Recognize that the origin of it was born long ago and there is nothing you can do about removing it. Once it's there, it's there and you can't control it. This now frees you up to focus on what you CAN control

2) Remind yourself that it exists to keep you alive and it is bringing your attention to something that needs your attention for further exploration and it is a growth opportunity. The decision you make following that realization is then up to you.

3) What you can control: reduce negative influences in your life and increase positive ones. a) Take an inventory of everything that influences you (i.e. media, friends, work, relationships, etc). b) Then, label them as mostly positive or mostly negative - notice the thoughts, feelings, and body sensations that come up as you think about each item to use as a guide. c) Finally, begin to take steps to reduce or eliminate negative influences in your life and begin taking steps to increase the positive influences. Surrounding yourself with things that uplift you and make you feel good about yourself helps to navigate how you choose to react to negative situations following the default negative thought when it occurs. If you enjoyed this video, let us know by hitting the like button, subscribing to our channel, and leaving a comment in the comments section below.


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