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  • Writer's pictureZolita Brown

Set Yourself Free with Self-Talk

Many of us have been prisoners to our self-talk. We continuously tell ourselves negative things. We keep ourselves in a self-imposed prison with fear, anger and negativity. The message we give ourselves is we are not good enough, there's no point in trying. Sometimes we go to the extreme and say we’re a loser or failure.

These thoughts keep us from moving forward. We become comfortable in our dysfunction and misery. These words create a prison. We look through the bars at other people and admonish ourselves for not reaching the perceived successes of others. We create situations so we can fail. The failure then supports our negative talk. Have you ever set unrealistic goals for yourself? Like I’m going to run a marathon next month, but you haven’t run since childhood.

I was also in a self-talk prison. I told myself I couldn’t open a private practice because my 501c3 did not succeed. You are a failure was on repeat. I made excuses about not having the support or resources. I was talking myself out of my goal before I even started. Then one day I hit a new low and was doubting everything in my life. I was re-examining all my decision and choices. I was experiencing internal conflict.

I had to facilitate an anger management group; the topic was choices and self-talk. As I was working with the group, I began to have a revelation. I realized that my self-talk was controlling my actions in a negative way and I needed to make some changes.

After the group I began to change my self-talk, I started focusing on the positive things, used affirmations, and my thoughts changed. As my thoughts changed by behavior changed. And my perceptions changed until I believed that a private practice was possible. I had to give myself permission to be free to try.

We are our own worst critics, and we can kill a dream before it begins. Learning to give ourselves a break and give ourselves the empathy we are quick to give to others is necessary. We have to tell ourselves that an error is not a failure but a lesson. Understanding that a bad decision in the past, was possibly the only option at that time and hindsight is 20/20.

We need to encourage ourselves for having resiliency to keep going after the traumas we have endured. Don’t focus on the negative; highlight the good. I’m not asking anymore to ignore problems or negatives because they can offer insight but don’t have tunnel vision.

When you change your self-talk to positivity then things begin to change. Your outlook changes, it becomes beneficial. Your self-esteem grows and the fear of the unknown diminishes. The understanding that mistakes do arise, but they are not seen as personal failures but as lessons. The lessons show you how to adjust so you can excel the next. Changing your negative self-talk releases you from your prison (isolation).

Changing self-talk is not easy. For some the negative talk may be rooted in our childhood experiences, for others it may be stemmed from a trauma in adulthood and for a select group, the origin may be unknown. But wherever it comes from work on changing it. If you need assistance seek it. Help may be in a book, or by seeing a professional but get the help you need.

The words we tell ourselves are some of the most important words we hear and they effect how we behave. Changing our thoughts, changes our behaviors.

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