How we talk to ourselves dictates how we show up and interact with others. So, when we spiral and indulge in negative self-talk, we block our growth, creativity and, ultimately, greater levels of success. If we’re feeding ourselves a diet of negative self-talk, we’re creating an environment of suffering. This can happen when we say things to ourselves such as
- “That was dumb. I can’t believe I did that.”
- “I’m sorry, this isn’t going to be very good.”
- “I’m never going to be able to afford that.”
You’ll know your internal dialogue is veering into the negative by how you feel, which may be uncomfortable, anxious and insecure. In a sea of kudos, negative self-talk and mindsets can cause us to home in on that one critique we heard, which we then attack ourselves with. There’s another way to go about this.
Transforming negative self-talk
When the unkind voice of sniping self-critique strikes, think of that moment as an opportunity to make another decision. Instead, try saying, “Hey negative self-talk, I see you. I understand that you’re here. Thank you so much for showing up; however, I’m going to choose a different direction right now. I’m going to choose to move in the direction that feels better for me and is more helpful.” You’ll be surprised at how different your next conversation with someone will look.
Here’s how this could look with a prospect:
You’re going through a fact-finder with a prospect and having a good conversation. They seem to be on the brink of becoming a client, and then it doesn’t happen.
Allow yourself that moment to feel the disappointment, or whatever it is that comes up for you. Then tell yourself, This may not be the person who I am meant to be working with right now. If it’s not the best fit for them, then it’s not the best fit for me.
Start to think about what space this truly opens up for you. Feel how the prospect’s no opens up to another person saying yes. It’s a person you’ll connect with, who has wonderful positive energy and who refers you to others. It opens up your world.
Choosing a better story
Begin moving to a more positive mindset by looking at what part of the interaction didn’t go as well as you would have liked. See if there are areas for you to improve on, and if so, view it as a learning experience. Remember that the interaction was only one instance of your life. It doesn’t define you. And sometimes we can do everything right, and it’s just not meant to be.
Then become aware of how the negative stories we tell ourselves are untrue. Because once we start to notice these stories, then you get to say, “I see you. Thanks so much for sharing. I am going to listen to another voice right now, and I’m going to start talking to myself in a way that moves me forward.”
Remember, the noes or this feeling is just for this moment, and the yeses are going to come. When you move into a different headspace, you will begin to feel more self-confident.
To move away from the untrue and destructive voice of self-doubt and into the space of growth, confidence and success, identify what makes you feel confident and capable.
One way to do this is to write down all the reasons why you’re wonderful at what you do. Write down past experiences that went well and what sets you apart from others.
You also may need to step away to reset your brain. For some, that could be going for a walk. On your walk, pay attention to the trees, look up at the sky, listen to the birds and take a moment for yourself until you feel at ease.
You also can do a reset by noticing the positive in someone else. So perhaps in the next meeting, compliment someone.
Whatever you choose to do, know that it’s what feels right for you, and it requires some thought. It requires that you really think about the direction you want to go in. Once you understand what helps you move into a better mindset, you can see the negative self-talk for what it is — a story that’s not true.
Cynthia Kane is a certified meditation and mindfulness instructor. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, and she’s a bestselling author. She lives in Washington, D.C., USA. Learn more about her at cynthiakane.com and her company the Kane Intentional Communication Institute. You can see more from her in the video “How to feel more confident by ending negative self-talk.”
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