Sandy was training for a job in law enforcement. During the final exam, she would have to run a 9-minute mile. Not a big deal for some, but she wasn’t a runner. She had to work hard to trim her 12-minutes to nine.
Every day she hit the pavement. In the beginning, she was walking/running… Running was painful to her shin splints at times, but she was determined not to let them win.
As she worked, she trimmed half-minute by half-minute. And some days, she had to literally say aloud to herself, “Come on, baby girl, you can do this.”
Huffing and dripping with sweat from the Alabama sun, she pushed on. She wanted that job and she wasn’t going to lose it over three minutes.
Every day, anyone passing her on the street could hear her talking to herself. Supporting herself…from the outside.
Until she made it.
She made the cut. She pushed herself to success. It wasn’t easy but she just wanted it to be possible.
That wasn’t always the case.
Growing up, Sandy had a horrible habit of tearing herself down. She always felt like what she was doing wasn’t good enough. The monologues in her head, had she said them aloud, would have sounded like, “Oh my god…WHY did I do that? That’s NOT the way it’s supposed to look.” Or, “What in the heck was I thinking?”
She had developed the habit of negative self-talk.
Whether it was her clothing choice, locking her keys in the house or just choosing a restaurant that no one liked, it was all tied to her inability to do anything right, not the circumstances surrounding the events.
But getting that job that she worked so hard for made her realize something: She COULD do anything she wanted, IF she said the right words to herself.
There’s Proof Sandy’s Right
The research suggests that people who use positive self-talk can encourage themselves, manage stress better, have lower rates of depression, and achieve more goals than those who listen to the repetitive mental chatter that beats them down.
Because talking to yourself isn’t just a confidence booster, it changes the way you think about yourself, reports Koss and his team in their study, “Self-Talk as a Regulatory Mechanism: How You Do It Matters”.
And any time you find yourself wishing you “woulda, coulda, shoulda” done something, that’s fear, in some form, telling you that you wouldn’t have, couldn’t have, or shouldn’t have.
When you kick fear and those incorrect beliefs you hold sacred to the curb, you give yourself permission to win. Permission to be strong and achieve. You give yourself permission to experience the success that you deserve.
How to Shut That Negative Nancy Down For Good
- Recognize that it’s only fear standing in your way, and that you’re perfectly capable of achieving your dreams. Ask yourself, “is this literally impossible for someone else?” If they can do it, then I can…
- Tell Negative Nancy to shut it down. Give that voice in your head the props it deserves for trying to protect you by saying thank you and moving on. We know that fear is an emotion that has a place in our amazing nervous system to prevent us from hurting ourselves or allowing us to be hurt. But sometimes the fear isn’t real. Know the difference.
- Talk to yourself, aloud and use your name or “you” when you do it. Because we tend to support those around us more than we support ourselves and when you refer to yourself in the third person, you separate yourself from the negative you and the “U”, you want to become. Try it. Try talking to yourself negatively in the third person. I guarantee you’ll squirm because you’re not going to say the words you say to yourself to someone else.
- Practice positive affirmations. Affirmations are credible, present-tense statements that are the opposite of your self-sabotaging, negative thoughts.
You’re kind to everyone else. You support their dreams and goals.
How about start supporting yourself too? Stop the negative chatter.