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  • Writer's pictureWendy Jameson

Negative Self-Chatter: Break the Pattern

In my ongoing series of Mind Matters column reposts, this one is especially meaningful today, after listening to a Brene Brown AMA podcast on Shame and Accountability in her Unlocking Us series. I urge you to consider for yourself...do you use shame in an effort to motivate others to change themselves? How has shame held you back in your life and career? What would it take to change your inner dialogue and how might that affect your life?

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Ever notice that nagging little voice somewhere in your brain that tells you what a numbskull you are?

I do…more often that I like.

Once, while jogging near home, my nagging little voice suddenly appeared, and she was telling me in no uncertain terms that I was completely unprepared for an upcoming presentation. She doubted everything! Although the whole conversation in my head lasted only seconds, I easily went from “confident professional” to “cowering, incompetent idiot.”

Amazing what we can do to ourselves, isn’t it? As my mind raced with negative thoughts, my body adjusted to my mood—my heart raced, my shoulders slumped and my stomach churned. A mere thought changed everything about me.

What happened to me has likely happened to you, too. We get lost in our own inner world of negative thoughts and allow them to convince us that we’re not what we should be, implying we’re not enough.

Controlling your self-talk is an important part of building a healthy ego and strong self-esteem. Positive self-talk initiates positive action and creates your desired mental, physical and material world. Negative chatter, on the other hand, creates a world of painful “reality”, one that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and can lead to real physical ailments. Truth is, it’s not “reality” at all.

You can learn to maintain a positive mental state while controlling your thoughts and directing your focus. Start by noticing the conversation. What triggered it? What does it mean to you?

Once you’re aware of your thoughts, you can start to change them. For example, you might try shouting nonsense to break the pattern. Or, you could try stating some simple positive assertions, like, “I’m really great at this,” saying them over and over again. Remember, positive breeds positive.

Whatever you do, stop the negative spin and right yourself again. You deserve it.


Originally published in July 2003, "Mind Matters", Building Edge Magazine.

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