7 powerful ways to change how you talk to yourself so that success and happiness comes easily
I expect, if you’re reading this, that you’re well acquainted with your inner critic? You know… that little voice in your head who tells you not to bother, or that you’re a failure? That really mean voice that says you’re too stupid or too fat or too old? (You are none of these things!)
I also expect that you know you wouldn’t dream of saying these things to someone else, so why the heck would you say them to yourself?
But we do say these things to ourselves.
If there is one thing we are really good at as human beings it is being really harsh on ourselves.
But one thing we’re NOT so hot on is accepting full responsibility for that inner voice, learning to control it and - as a result - choosing to speak to ourselves with more compassion instead.
The fact is, that voice comes from you. The inner critic who says the most unspeakable things, some of which you wouldn’t even admit to, is you. It’s not the whole you, but it is part of you.
Before we talk about some powerful ways you can change how you talk to yourself, let’s take a moment to understand what is going on inside. Your mindset is not just the inner voices aka self-talk (the good, the bad and the ugly). It is also made up of your beliefs and values, and your physiology.
These three aspects impact how you view the world, different situations, other people and yourself.
- Beliefs and values: What your unconscious mind, deep down holds to be true about yourself, other people and the world around you.
- Physiology: The chemicals your body creates to pass messages i.e. hormones!
Both your beliefs and your physiology are controlled by the unconscious, which in some ways is really helpful – imagine if we had to think consciously that it was time to start digesting our breakfast!? But in some ways, it is not so helpful. Because so much, that impacts our conscious self-talk, is happening unconsciously we are tricked into thinking it is out of our control. We then may also fall into the trap of blame and excuses.
I’m going to say it straight… No one else can impact your self-talk and your mindset but you. You are fully responsible for how you choose to respond (physically and emotionally) to everything.
Accept that and you are ready to explore ways you can change how you talk to yourself.
1. Physiology (part 1) – remember the three areas? They all impact each other, and you can impact how you talk to yourself by connecting with the other areas. My top tip to connect with your physiology is to complete a body scan, asking yourself, what’s going on for my body right now? You may discover you are hungry, or tired instead of grumpy or sad.
2. Physiology (part 2) – Get up and move. Movement reduces the body’s production of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenalin) which can negatively impact your self-talk. Movement also promotes the release of endorphins – mood boosting chemicals – encouraging feelings of optimism and relaxation.
3. Beliefs – Your beliefs are not facts. They are things about yourself, others or the world that you have, at some point, learned are true for you. Some of these beliefs – known as limiting beliefs – are not helpful. The good news is that if you’ve learned them, you can unlearn them too. My personal preference when it comes to identifying and removing unwanted limiting beliefs is TimeLine Therapy and you can read my blog all about what that is here.
4. Values –Above I grouped beliefs and values together because values are part of your belief system. They are what you hold important, they are the things that drive you forward and motivate you. Identifying your values means you can learn why you are doing what you are doing. Knowing your why is incredibly motivating. So, if your self-talk has ever said you can’t be bothered…this could be a great tool for you! Value elicitation can be done through journaling or by working with a coach – I offer 1 hour Citrus Boost Sessions which provide a great focus for this task.
5. Ditch the shoulds, the have tos, the need tos and the got tos – I get it! As busy people there are always going to be tasks that aren’t our favourite but there is always a choice about whether you do them or not.
- ‘I should post on social media every day’ – not if you don’t wanna!
- ‘I have to pay my bills’ – no you don’t!
- ‘I’ve got to get the washing on’ – nope, you haven’t!
You may believe you don’t have a choice about all these different things but you do. And knowing your values (point 4) will give you your explanation as to why you feel like you don’t:
- ‘I should post on social media every day’ changes to ‘I choose to post on social media every day because consistency is important to me’
- ‘I have to pay my bills’ becomes ‘I choose to pay my bills because I believe it is right and having basic amenities is important to me’
- ‘I’ve got to get the washing on’ reframes into ‘I choose to get the washing done because I love my family and want them to be comfortable’
6. Learn to connect with and love your inner critic – the more you meet your inner critic with criticism, judgement and aggression the louder it will become. Learning to love it and offer it compassion can be very powerful. I actually have a meditation on this topic in my membership The Bubble – you can learn more about that here.
7. Learn your own language – we all have preferences when it comes to how we communicate with ourselves, a style of language that means more to us unconsciously. These styles are visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and auditory digital. You can learn more about these and download your free communication preference test here and learn how to effectively speak with yourself.
These points only just scrape the surface of different tools and techniques you can try in order to positively change how you talk to yourself. There is no right or wrong. There is no one size fits all. We are all unique and we are complex beings. If you find that you are not always kind to yourself but you’re not sure where to start or what would be best for you, why not book a free 20 minute clarity call to talk through different options? You can book a call here.
The way you talk to yourself might not feel like a huge deal, after all you’ve been doing it all of your life, but it can make a huge difference to how you commit to your goals, how much you believe you can make them happen plus in how you show up to go get them too! Get all 3 right? Success is yours for the taking. All from simply being nice to yourself. That doesn’t seem so bad, does it?