Positive Conversations...in Your Head

As you stumble and learn, stumble and learn again, resolve to talk to yourself as if you were your best friend. So no 'What a #?%[email protected] idiot!' when your BFF smashes an egg on the floor, m'kay? Be cool, like the Fonz.”
- Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life

“Be mindful of your self-talk. It is a conversation with the universe. You are a being, full of infinite possibilities! Focus your mind with positivity and you will have dictated the direction of your journey, your soul and your being, cascading in infinite abundance.”
- Angie Karan Krezos

I grew up thinking that negative self-talk was good in that it pushed me to being better. Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong. In college, while studying with A.A. Leath from the Institute for Creative and Artistic Development, I became aware of how easy it was to criticize myself and how difficult it was to take credit for myself. My positive self-talk voice was there but very quiet and not nearly as strong and powerful as the negative voices.

The work I began as a freshman in college has stayed with me since. How to cultivate positive self-talk has come to be a pillar of the work I do with executives, managers, individual contributors, and people in every walk of life. Sadly, there is a dearth of positive self-talk in most people.

This very simple practice will help you cultivate positive self-talk. Since you have more conversations in your own head than with anyone else, this is a good place to start. Our final destination is having positive conversations with everyone, yourself included.

Directions:

Give yourself 15 to 20 minutes at a time where you will not be interrupted.

  1. Using paper or the computer, write one of the common negative comments you say to yourself.
  2. Find an angel voice inside you that will respond to the negative comment. Say what you believe, even if it is very tiny rather than an affirmation that you don't believe. For instance, if your negative comment is, “You are so stupid,” your angel response might be, “No I'm not. That may not have been the brightest thing to say/do in the moment but it doesn't mean I am stupid.”
  3. Let the negative voice speak back to the positive angel voice, saying something like, “You're just fooling yourself. You are stupid.”
  4. Now the positive angel voice gets to respond by saying something like, “I am not going to listen to you anymore. You just bring me down and demotivate me. I'm going to start listening to the parts of me that do believe in myself. Take a hike.”
  5. At another sitting, repeat this activity starting with another negative way that you speak to yourself and continue doing it daily or as frequently as you are willing to.
    The more you cultivate the positive voice, the stronger it will become. The stronger the angel voices become, the more they can quiet and harness the energy of the negative voices. In fact, as you gain expertise in cultivating your angel voices, you will feel less controlled or overwhelmed by the negative ones.
  6. Whenever you become aware of a negative voice in your head, pause, take a deep breath, and call in an angel voice. Each time you stop the pattern of negativity, you are engaging in self-directed neuroplasticity—changing your brain for the better. The more you interrupt the negative patterns of talking to yourself and start positive self-talk, the better you will feel about yourself.

As always, write in via email or on the blog about your experiences.

Learn to catch yourself and stop yourself immediately when you are engaging in negative self-talk.”
- Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life

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