Have you ever paid attention to the words you say to yourself on a daily basis? We all know that negative self-talk is neither productive nor helpful, but not talking negatively about ourselves is much easier said than done. Today we’re going to look at some ways to stop that inner critic in its tracks when it’s being less than helpful.
Negative self-talk: we all have it from time to time
You know you’re familiar with that little voice in your head. It’s the one that tells you to double-check that your parking brake is on or to not eat twelve cookies. It’s the one that can look at a product you’ve made and tell you how proud you should be because, dang, you did GOOD! That inner voice isn’t always bad, and in many situations can be really helpful. But just like with many other things in life, there can also be a flip side to that voice inside our heads.
Harmful vs helpful
There is an ugly side that can often be heard when this voice speaks to us (and this includes everyone, but it is especially true for women). When that voice speaks far more negative words than helpful words, this is the land of negative self-talk and it can be seriously detrimental to both your mental and physical life. It can cause elevated levels of stress not only for yourself but for those around you as well.
What is negative self-talk?
Negative self-talk can take many different forms. For example, I accidentally sent peanut butter flying all over my kitchen a couple of weeks ago. Instead of laughing it off and cleaning it up, without even thinking I loudly stated, “Oh, my gosh, Jade, you’re such an idiot!” When I step outside of the situation, I would absolutely NEVER direct those words at someone I loved and cared about. But there I was speaking them out loud to myself and making anyone in my vicinity feel pretty yucky too.
For you, it might be words like, “I’ll never be good enough,” or “My products will never be as good as so and so’s, so I might as well quit” or “I can never do anything right!” This inner dialogue very well may be limiting what you think you can do and the success you can have. It can ruin our self-confidence and can prevent us from making positive changes in our own lives, which in turn, directly affects our Etsy shops and the success we are capable of finding.
It’s a big problem
Along with decreasing our motivation, when we have negative self-talk it can also increase our feeling of helplessness. This will block creativity and make us believe the lie that we will never succeed or be good enough at anything we try. This in turn leads to an increase in depression. It’s just all around not good. And all of these negative thoughts increase stress in our bodies. With a quick Google search, you will find that increased stress levels cause a whole slew of health-related issues that no one wants to live with.
So how can you minimize negative self-talk?
There is a ton of info out there on how to break this habit! Some of these strategies might work great for you or you might need to try a few in order to really see a difference. We’d recommend doing as many as you can consistently for thirty days and see how much those inner words change within a month.
Stop the critic in its tracks
A great way to begin to change this behavior is to pay attention when your inner critic raises its ugly head. Notice the words you’re speaking to yourself and ask yourself if you’d speak them out loud to someone you love. If the answer is no, try your best to change the narrative.
Speak the words out loud
Some of the best advice I’ve received on this topic is to actually say the opposite of what I automatically want to say to myself when something isn’t going right. So instead of loudly proclaiming, “You’re such an idiot, Jade,” I would instead say out loud something like, “You’re allowed to make a mistake! Just clean up and keep going!” Which can feel stupid at the moment, but what this will do is help you focus on words that aren’t negative.
Negative self-talk: give it a name
Another tip is to actually name your inner critic. So now, Negative Nancy is the one speaking those negative words which helps you to understand that you do NOT have to agree with NN. What does she know anyway? This also helps the situation to be less threatening and can help you understand how ridiculous some of those critical thoughts are.
Not always accurate
It’s also important to remember that those intense negative feelings you’re experiencing at a certain moment cannot be trusted overall. These feelings are not an accurate representation of your life as a whole. I know I’m not an idiot, and so, I cannot trust that inner voice proclaiming that I am. Our thoughts can be swayed by our current mood, which will absolutely change.
Challenge that negative self-talk critic
Do not let that inner voice get away with saying terrible things about you. Challenge what you’re hearing and what you know to be true about yourself. Call your inner critic out when Negative Nancy (or Negative Norman) tries to tell you those lies. Don’t let her/him just say whatever to you. If you wouldn’t let someone else speak to you in this way, you shouldn’t let your inner critic either.
Would your friend speak to you like this?
A great way to measure how your inner critic is speaking to you is to think of the words in your head from a friend’s point of view. When you catch yourself saying negative words in your head, imagine your closest friend saying these things to you. If you can’t imagine them saying these things, then put a stop to that thought process. This is a great way to begin to change the narrative you’ve written and told yourself over and over.
Another really simple and effective practice for stopping negative self-talk is to stop a thought in its tracks. This is known as “thought-stopping” and can be something like snapping a hair tie on your wrist. Whatever you need to do to change the thought as soon as it comes into your head, do that!
Have you found that your inner critic is mostly speaking negative words to you? Are you living with this or have you found helpful ways to combat them? If you’ve found productive ways to change this negativity in your life, share them with us below! We’d love to know what you’re doing to stay positive in your thought life.
Happy positive thinking, everyone!