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Have you ever noticed the kind of language you use in your day-to-day life? Do the following statements resonate with you?
“This is going to be really difficult…”
“I’m totally exhausted…”
“Sorry to bother you…”
These phrases may seem harmless and inoffensive enough, and may be ones that you use frequently in your life. However, when you look more closely, you will notice the language is quite negative. When we use this kind of negative framing in the words we choose to talk about our life, actions and thoughts, they reflect on us in a way that shows we feel uncertain in the way we view ourselves and that we don’t value ourselves highly.
How different does it feel when you transform the phrases above, which are energy sapping, into ones that are positive, and which indicate what you can do (not what you believe you can’t) and show your life in a constructive rather than destructive way.
“I’m totally up for that challenge!”
“I’m feeling really good!”
“I want to suggest…”
These reframes using positive language will allow you to speak in a way that is congruent with how you want to feel and how your life authentically feels like.
Deal with the inner critic
It is very easy for us to be hard on ourselves and to allow our inner critic to place judgements. Often these judgements are based around fears which we hold inside us. However, it is possible to become empowered and to create change in your life simply by changing the angle of your self-talk. Speaking positively helps to instil positive beliefs in yourself which give you the confidence to succeed in your dreams, goals and desires.
It isn’t always easy to reframe your language, especially when you are facing challenges or feel unhappy. It might seem false or unrealistic to speak in a positive way when you don’t feel good about the situation or about yourself. However, it is exactly for this reason that it is important to find the positive so you can recognise the true value in yourself, your life and others.
Use positive affirmations
In order to make using positive talk become second nature to you, it is important to practice positive affirmations every day. Once you start using positive self-talk regularly, it can start to influence your behaviour. But how do you go about changing the scripts you use?
It can be as simple as changing your phrasing from “I can’t”, which is limiting, to “I don’t” which puts you in charge of your thoughts and behaviour. Notice the difference in how it feels to say “I can’t run very fast” to “I don’t run very fast”, or “I can’t eat chocolate” to “I don’t eat chocolate”. The subtle linguistic change of using “don’t” is much more empowering and encouraging.
Listen and reframe
It is also important to start really listening to the words you use when talking to yourself. If you notice your inner voice becomes critical, particularly in emotional situations, make a decision to pause those thoughts and reframe them. It can also be useful to switch from using the first person “I” and instead use your own name or another pronoun when thinking about the situation. So instead of saying, “I always get nervous when speaking in public”, you could say, “Why do I get nervous when I do just fine!”. By doing this, you can distance yourself emotionally from what is bothering you, which means you can have more control over the situation and are less likely to feel the anxiety which feeds negative thinking.
Prep and Pep
If you know that certain situations are likely to bring about negative thoughts you can prepare pep-talk phrases to use which are motivational and which will help to boost your confidence and belief in yourself. Using phrases such as “This is great”, “I will be on-time”, “Let’s make this happen” are positive and uplifting.
Ultimately you want to talk to yourself like you would your best friend. Be compassionate, think about how you would respond to a situation if you were giving a friend advice and don’t be demeaning and negative as though you are your own enemy.
When you change your language so that it’s happier, it will help you in so many ways. Your mood will be more positive, your emotional well-being will be improved, others will view you more positively, and it will boost your performance and confidence, allowing you to deal with life’s challenges more successfully.