One of the number one forms of mental and emotional suffering comes from the way we talk to ourselves in our own minds. We’ve all done it at some point or another. We beat ourselves up with no basis for doing so, and we’ve suffered due to it. We call this negative self-talk and there are many forms of it. In this post, I’ll be talking about a few different forms of negative self-talk, and how we can combat them.
One of the best examples of negative self-talk is mind reading, and no I don’t mean actually reading someone else’s mind. Mind reading is when we assume we know what another individual is thinking without any concrete evidence for it. An example of this is when your significant other doesn’t immediately say hello when you first see them, so you assume they must be upset with you.
This form of negative self-talk involves taking an exorbitant amount of responsibility, primarily for things that are likely out of your control. Something such as your superior pointing out that there’s an area in your work where you can improve, so you immediately make the worst out of it and assume that you’re a failure. This can lead to stress and anxiety and is one of the more common forms of negative self-talk.
When we tend to make decisions based on how we feel rather than what we value, we call this emotional reasoning. This can end with us running away from things that make us uncomfortable and can lead to depression and procrastination. A common example of emotional reasons is going to the gym simply for the reason that you just do not feel like it.
That’s a dangerous way to feel and can spin out of control rather quickly.
How we can combat it
There are so many ways to fight back against all of the negative self-talk we inflict on ourselves. Some people like to take all of their negative emotions and put them in the smallest box possible, so instead of saying “I ruined everything” they say “I messed up, but it’s not the end of the world”. This can help give yourself a better idea of the scope of the problem you’re facing is. Another great tactic is to ask yourself if you’re really as guilty as you make yourself out to be. Maybe you said something embarrassing and now you’re thinking everyone thinks you’re a fool. Ask yourself, does everyone really care that much about one little thing? You’ll likely feel better for it. Nick Wignall also writes an entire guide which goes in depth in ways to change negative thinking.
There are so many different forms of negative self-talk, but there are also countless ways to fight back and be a better you. It’s important to remember that not everything is your fault, and not every mistake is the end of the world. Try to breathe, and act rationally, otherwise, you’ll only drive yourself crazy.