Mind,  Self-Esteem

The Effect Negative Self-Talk

The impact negative self-talk can have on our overall happiness and wellbeing should not be understated. Therefore, the “effect of negative self-talk” deserves a post of its own. It is just that important.

What is negative self-talk?

In this short post, we’ll provide an overall definition of negative self-talk:

The internal dialogue you have with yourself, which expresses opinions about yourself that are negative.

However, a deep deep look into negative self-talk would reveal that there’s more to it that is not covered in a general definition. It turns out that there are 10 forms of negative self-talk.

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  1. Mind-reading
  2. Overgeneralization
  3. Magnification
  4. Minimization
  5. Emotional reasoning
  6. Black and white thinking
  7. Personalization
  8. Fortune-telling
  9. Labeling
  10. Should statements

The linked text above provides more information about each of these. It’s definitely a good use of time to read up on them and reflect on which one(s) you identify with.

What are the effects of negative self-talk?

Obviously, nothing good can come out of saying negative things about yourself in your mind. There’s a vicious cycle between what you literally think about yourself (your thoughts) and how you actually feel about yourself. Therefore, the most obvious and immediate effect of negative self-talk is a negative impact on your self-esteem.

In addition, the internal dialogue that says you can’t, you’re incapable, or you’re not worthy all limit your ability, potential, and motivation to take positive actions in your life.

Furthermore, when there’s already so much negative noise going on in your head, it’s natural to fear failure and seek perfection. The logic is that if only you’re “the best” then you can finally be able to silence the negative thoughts you have about yourself. Unfortunately, perfection is an endless pursuit. So, you end up feeling even worse about yourself no matter what. Which then leads to more negative self-talk. Hence, the vicious cycle continues.

Beyond yourself, negative self-talk can also lead to a negative outlook on life. It perpetuates a pessimism that leads to feeling depressed. Also beyond yourself are the people around you. Negative self-talk can also have a damaging effect on your relationships with friends and family.

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Take Action

Consider whether you have any negative self-talk and consider it’s various forms. Being mindful of it when it occurs and being able to correct that thought habit will pay big dividends. If you catch yourself having these negative thoughts about yourself on a daily basis, stop them. Over time, they do add up to have a negative effect on our overall happiness and well-being.

Imagine you saying the negative thoughts you have of yourself to someone else. Imagine saying it to a child, a friend, or a person doing their best. If you think that’s awful, why say those things to yourself?

Don’t be awful to yourself.

In a similar vein, imagine someone else repeating your negative self-talk right back at you. You would think that person’s a big jerk–a bully. Well, that’s what you are being to yourself through negative self-talk.

Don’t be your own bully.

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