What’s positive self talk, really?
People often hear someone talking about the power of positive self talk and the first reaction is eye rolling. Many automatically think the words (positive self talk) are trying to be sold as some magical cure all, and because most of us know there’s no such thing, the idea alone can rub people the wrong way.
Today, I want to share how I approach this concept when working with clients I coach. First, part of being a coach who knows what it feels like to be extremely low in self love, respect and belief, means I also know that just thinking more positive doesn’t make problems and deep-seated beliefs vanish. I actually dislike how quotes about positive self-talk are shared without adding that it’s a process. For someone having a terrible life day, the last thing they need to see is a quote saying, you’re sad because you’re ungrateful and not trying hard enough.
People who practice positive self talk still have hard days. They still face all the challenges others do, BUT they have committed themselves to a way of thinking that helps them crawl out of the dark hole faster or avoid it all together. Here’s an example of a person who doesn’t practice positive self talk versus someone who does.
– Amanda had a terrible week. She started it off waking up late on Monday, which turned her day upside down. When she arrived home, she was stressed and overwhelmed. She skipped a good meal for ice cream and got lost scrolling social media into the wee hours and following this cycle, ended up being late for work 2 more days over the week, which only made her feel worse.
~ Amanda started her week off on the wrong foot and found herself late for work Monday morning and it turned her day upside down. Once home, she went to reach for some ice cream, had it in her hand and thought, “will this make me feel better or worse?” Knowing the answer, she walked it back to the freezer and made herself a nice chicken salad. She recognized that the stress of the day was following her into the night, so she she gave herself a pep talk. “Ok Amanda, your day sucked. You need to have a nice hot bath, read a little and get to bed at a decent hour so you can wake up on time tomorrow rested. Today sucked, but let’s make tomorrow great. The way she talked to herself allowed her to move past her off day and the rest of the week was much better.
Notice in the last example I said much better and not perfect. The key to positive self talk is recognizing that we’re in a downward spiral or could be if we don’t turn things around. Practicing positive self talk doesn’t always change outcomes. Amanda was late for work on Monday in both scenarios. It does, however, allow us to evaluate life situations as they come up, where we can work out a positive solution to turn things around or keep things from coming undone in the first place. Practicing positive self talk is a choice to be your own cheerleader like most of us already are for those we love and care about.