How we speak to ourselves matters. The inner voice in our heads that chatters to us can say things to help us believe in ourselves, or it can tear us down to the point of depression. So, have we thought about how we speak to ourselves? We do it every day. Many of us don’t even realize it’s running commentary, but it has a significant impact on our lives, so we want to be kind with our self-talk.
The negative self-talk we all recognize as the egoic voice in our heads that admonishes us. Telling us what “should haves” and “could haves” we missed out on, making us feel miserable about our lives. The ego’s voice limits us by keeping us from trying, growing, and living our dreams by holding us in a fearful state.
When we talk positively to ourselves, we are patting ourselves on the back for the work we’ve done. It’s the optimistic, soulful voice that looks at the bright side of things. The heart’s encouraging voice pushes us to take a risk to move towards our dreams.
We can’t avoid self-talk, but we can alter what we accept as true. Our thoughts are neither good nor bad. They are. We need to accept them as they come, but we don’t have to believe that every thought is the truth.
If you hear a voice within you, say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~ Vincent Van Gogh
Noticing Our Self-Talk
Self-talk is a large part of our self-esteem. When our inner voice is kind, we will feel more in control of our lives and believe that we can accomplish our goals. To change how we talk to ourselves, we first have to become aware of our inner voice.
Our self-talk reflects our thoughts. So, what are we reflecting? Fears, pain, joy, hope? Let them flow so we can identify if we are judgmental and critical of ourselves or loving and compassionate.
We don’t want to get lost in the endless barrage of thoughts the egoic mind throws at us. We want to notice which voice is speaking, our egoic negative mind, or the emotional, calming soul. As the thoughts arise, try naming the voice we hear. Realize that we are the observer of the two voices. Therefore, it helps us to detach from any negative impact we may feel.
After reviewing these thoughts and voices, we can see that the egoic voice reminds us of past pains. That is its job, to protect us, so it wants us to avoid those scenarios that might harm us as we’ve experienced in the past. But we know that the past is not an indication of the future. Therefore, we can dismiss the ego’s fears and know it’s not speaking the truth to us.
Positive self-talk is to emotional pain, as pain pill is to physical pain. ~ Edmond Mbiaka
Benefits of a Kind Inner Voice
When we speak to ourselves with kindness, we reduce our stress levels. Studies have shown those who think optimistically have better-coping skills when faced with stressful conditions. Why? Because when our self-talk is positive, it reframes the circumstances to look for the lesson or the solution to the issue at hand. An open mind sees solutions where a closed mind sees a dead end.
Positive self-talk builds confidence. When we believe in ourselves, we are more likely to achieve our goals. We are also more resilient. Because our self-esteem is healthy, and when things don’t go as planned, we find alternative ways to move past the obstacles we encounter.
Optimistic people build more authentic connections with others. Why? Because positive-minded people are more attractive to others. These people are content and self-assured, and we like to be around them. They get along better with others and form lasting bonds. When we talk positively to ourselves, we naturally can see the same trait in others.
The way you choose to think and speak about yourself IS A CHOICE! You may have spent your whole life talking about yourself in a negative way, but that doesn’t mean you have to continue that path. ~ Miya Yamanouchi
Ten Internal Ways to Increase Kindness with Our Self-talk
So how can we decrease the egoic voice and increase our kindness with our self-talk? Here are some ways to be kinder to ourselves.
- Reconnect with Spirit. When we are authentic, we know there’s a spiritual realm in which we can connect. This faith increases our self-esteem and positive attitude in our life. This connection allows us to see a unique perspective, showing us that there is more to our lives. This renewal of purpose proves us inspiration to move forward towards the soulful dreams of our hearts.
- Be Grateful. Gratitude is a beautiful way for us to see the blessing in our lives. And when we recognize the wonderful and positive things we have in our life, our self-talk reflects these realities. Gratitude increases our fortitude, concentration, and passion in our lives. Our inner voice speaks kindly to us more often. By keeping a gratitude journal, we feel like the positive events we are having are more tangible and feel better about our lives.
- Believe in Yourself. Isn’t the mind incredible? It can keep us stagnate for years because we believe the self-imposed limitations of the ego. Imagine the limitless possibilities that can occur in our lives when we believe we can achieve our dreams. The doubts of the egoic mind have held us back- but no more. We can change the self-talk from one of limitations to one of success. Even if we take a misstep or two, we can overcome any obstacle in our way.
- Start Each Day with Affirmations. Every morning I recite what I call my “I Am” statements. [See the picture below.] I use these, so my inner voice begins the day by speaking kindly to me. Using them has helped me shape my self-talk to build myself up and be compassionate when I fail.
- Fear is an Illusion. The fear of failure is a lie of the ego. Why? Because we can overcome any disappointment when we learn from our efforts. The egoic mind’s fear is a deception because there is no real danger of harming coming to our physical selves. The ego wants to maintain a mundane existence to keep us small and safe. Instead, look for lessons in all our attempts to accomplish our goals by reframing our missteps.
- Set Goals. Big audacious objectives for ourselves five and ten years out. If we tie these ambitions to our soul’s dreams, then they are part of our purpose. Then break down the aspirations into steps that we can move towards. For example, getting my memoir published was a huge undertaking. I had to write the book, edit it, write a book proposal, find publishers who would accept an unsolicited proposal, send out the proposals, and wade through rejection letters. I broke the process down into steps, gave each area a timetable to accomplish, and consistently moved forward. And my book, Raven Transcending Fear, comes out in March 2021.
- Visualize Success. This tool is a great way to help us transition from fear of failure to seeing ourselves succeed. We can imagine ourselves encouraging us as we face an obstacle or concern. When we can see ourselves push through and succeed by visualizing, it will help us achieve our goals. Thus, we have created a strategy for us to implement when we hit a bump in the road. We are committed to our dream, and quitting isn’t an option.
- Let Go of the Past. We all have a past—some splendid memories and some that we’d like to forget. But we have to release the baggage of the past to move forward. If we are attached to the past, we allow the ego to replay those things it wants us to remember, so we don’t take action towards our dreams. We want to stay in the present moment where we can take steps towards achieving our goals. To see the limitless potential in front of us, nothing behind us is worth stagnating.
- Exchange Negative Viewpoints with Encouraging Ones. We will have depressing thoughts, but we can refocus our attention away from the undesirable lookout to that of a solution-oriented mindset. The egoic mind believes in duality, so there has to be a positive concept to adopt for every harmful idea. Let’s use its dualistic perspective to our benefit by finding the advantage we can use from the negative thought. By repeating this new pattern, we will overcome the harmful self-talk and be kinder to ourselves.
- Get Physical. Moving our bodies has many benefits. It reduces our stress, improves our mood, and causes a release of hormones that make us feel good. We can exercise, dance, sing at the top of our lungs, take a walk in the woods. When we physically feel better, our self-talk becomes kinder.
Watch what you tell yourself. You’re likely to believe it. ~ Russ Kyle
Five External Ways Be Kind with Our Self-Talk
How we deal with others and the world we live in can affect our inner voice. Here are ways we can be kinder to everyone, including ourselves.
- Speak Kindly to Others. Words have power. When we are critical or judgmental, when we speak with others, it’s far easier to do the same with ourselves. But when we use encouraging terms with others, we are more inclined to use them with ourselves out of habit. Encouraging others improves our connections with them as well as elevates our overall attitude. Simple things like saying “thank you” and “please” go a long way in making authentic connections and inspiring ourselves and others.
- Stop Comparing Ourselves with Others. When we allow the egoic mind to compare us with another, we can quickly get down on ourselves. Comparing is a tool the ego uses to keep us small and stop us from taking action. None of us are exactly alike, having the same experiences, making the same choices, so we can’t equate ourselves with others in any meaningful way. We don’t know one another’s complete story, so stop the comparisons.
- Detach Ourselves from Negative People. We all know a negative Nellie. The person who is always having a bad day, even when the sun is shining. We need to distance ourselves from this type of person. Many of us allow the moods of others to influence us without realizing it. And we don’t want their negativity to affect our perception or bring us down. So, we want to spend the least amount of time with these people, which we can do by implementing personal boundaries.
- Limit Pessimist Media. Yes, I mean news and social platforms because most of what they broadcast is negative. When we feed our mind destructive and cynical messages, we reflect it in our self-talk because we mirror what we see. It’s one thing to be informed. It’s another to be demoralized. Many times it’s better for our souls to turn the media off and get quiet to reconnect with Spirit and have peace.
- Serve Others. When we help someone, it brings us joy. As we see the benefit our actions have for another, it increases our self-worth. We see how empowering and optimistic we are in our acts of service, and thus our self-talk is kinder. All it takes is holding the door open for another, smiling while making eye contact with a stranger, simple acts of caring. We share our compassion for humanity and ourselves when we use our light to make a difference.
Be careful what you say about yourself because someone very important is listening. YOU. ~ John Assaraf
Moving Forward by Cultivating Compassion with Our Self-Talk
When we add compassion and self-love to our inner dialogue by encouraging and supporting our self-talk becomes kinder. We are to speak to ourselves like we would a child or close friend- gently.
We aren’t blaming or replaying a misstep. We are reminding ourselves of the lesson we learned through the experience. We are feeling our emotions but then releasing them. We know we are doing our best, and we are proud of ourselves for trying. Over time, we will strengthen our self-confidence. As we do, our self-talk will match our renewed belief in ourselves to accomplish our goals and will be kind as we listen to our inner voice.
Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take its place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it. ~ Beverly Engel
Do you need support to help you improve your self-talk, so you are kinder to yourself? Do you want a strategy to help you overcome the ego’s limiting beliefs and live a successful life? If so, please contact me, and we can put together an action plan for you to create the life you desire.