5 Ways to Stop Negative Self Talk

Growing up can be very difficult for a lot of people. Many adolescents are struggling with bullies who pick on them, tear them down, abuse them, torture them, and make them feel absolutely terrible about themselves.

One in five students report being bullied at some point in their youth. It is a heart breaking number, but luckily more and more people are speaking out against bullying. The statistics have dropped significantly since 2003, according to recent studies.

While this is great news, and hopefully those numbers will continue to drop until bullying is a thing of the past, our greatest bully is yet to be faced:

Ourselves.

We are our own worst bully, and this bully doesn’t graduate and move away. We cannot turn this bully into the princical to be punished or tell on them to our parents. So, our bully stays with us throughout school and into our adult lives.

How we are bullying ourselves is through self-sabotage or negative self talk. What this means is the little or sometimes loud voice in our heads is limiting our own potential.

We all have an inner dialogue that is constantly conversing with ourselves every single second of every single day. This helps us weigh decisions, plan, organize, make judgements, and so on.

When we develop negative self talk, it can actually harm us and prevent us from functioning properly.

If you begin to tell yourself that you’re fat, ugly, and unworthy of love, it is going to prevent you from loving your body enough to feed it healthy food, feeling beautiful/handsome, and feeling confident enough to go after the person you could be interested in.

If you’re already in a relationship and are constantly thinking negative thoughts about yourself, your partner will eventually catch on to it and possibly decide that they deserve better. Some people even take their own self-hatred and project it onto their partner, resulting in an abusive and toxic relationship.

Negative self talk will affect every single area of your life. It can hold you back from pursuing the career that you desire and that you actually deserve, by telling you that you aren’t enough.

Not good enough. Not smart enough. Not outgoing enough. Not pretty enough. Not thin enough. Not strong enough. Not calm enough. Not happy enough. Not (insert any adjective here) enough.

In this article, we will go over 5 ways to stop negative self talk, so that you can start feeling like you are enough:

  1. Keep a journal. Most people keep a private journal as a safe space for them to get all of their thoughts out of their head and onto paper. Whether they are positive thoughts or negative thoughts doesn’t matter, just getting them out is the key. There is something about the physical act of writing out what you are thinking so that your thoughts become a visible object, that feels like a release. You will also get to see the words that your inner bully has been telling you over and over again, which makes it easier to not listen to it. You will see how ridiculous that voice really is and how unrealistic it can be. Journaling can also be a way to track what triggers that inner bully, which makes it easier to identify when to become aware of it in your daily life.
  2. Make it so being grateful is a habit. We are creatures of habit. Negative self talk is a habit that we get ourselves into without consciously realizing it. This particularly bad habit makes it really easy for our inner bully to perpetuate our self-hatred. It holds us back from living our best lives. The good news is, is that our habits can change. We are able to develop healthy habits with a little practice. In order to stop negative self talk, creating a habit of gratitude and self love can help immensely. Every single morning for 21 days, simply write out a list of 10-20 things you are grateful for and that you love about yourself. This actually rewires our brain to begin thinking more loving thoughts, and seeing all of the amazing things in ourselves and our lives that we love and should appreciate.
  3. Mindfulness Meditation. Meditation has been known to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. It is a way for us to center ourselves and create an awareness of our body and our thoughts. Bringing your mind to a calm and relaxed state that one feels when deep in meditation allows for a clear observation of the thoughts that bubble up to the surface. It gives us a safe space to explore the feelings related to those thoughts and time to process them. A daily mindful meditation practice can help you silence your inner bully once and for all. This can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour of practice per day.
  4. “I AM” affirmations. Self affirmations are a great way to stop negative self talk. You can either write them out on paper and repeat it back to yourself, or speak the words out loud during meditation. The whole trick to it is keeping it short, sweet, and simple. For example, “I AM powerful. I AM strong. I AM beautiful. I AM healthy. I AM worthy of unconditional love.” However, if you do not have the right intention while doing this practice, it will not work as well. It might even feel strange at first, or you might not believe in what you are saying fully. The whole point of it being a practice is that you must continually work at it in order to see improvement.
  5. Notice when the negative self talk arises. While this may seem simple and obvious, this is extremely important and can be difficult to accomplish. We become so used to that inner bully that we sometimes forget that it should not be allowed there. The practices I mentioned previously should help you become more aware of the thoughts you have on a daily basis. When you notice that negativity arise, or when your inner bully gets triggered, first breathe through it. Take 2-3 mindful and deep breaths, in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds, then slowly breathe out through pursed lips for 6 seconds. This method will help you center yourself so you can think more clearly, and has been proven to help people feel calmer when they’re in a panicked or highly anxious/nervous state. Identify where your self-talk became negative, why it did, and switch it into something positive. You can turn a thought such as “I’m going to completely fail this presentation” into “I may be nervous for this presentation, but that will not stop me from trying my best”. It’s simple, yet effective.

The More Trauma, the More Complicated your Personality

In parts therapy today, this was my realization. The more trauma in your history, the more complicated personality you have in the present.

On the extreme end of the “inner personality parts” spectrum, those with Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personalities) typically have a higher amount of trauma in their history than the average person.

Where does this leave us?

I don’t know. You could ask how this applies to you. Do you have trauma in your background? if so, can you imagine how that trauma may have created inner complications? Irrational fears, anger, and so forth.

The Single Best Thing you can do to Create Inner Healing

The best thing you can do to create inner healing and wholeness is to accept your fragmentation. Today we’ll take a look at the parts model from Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which is actually useful in many fields and with so many issues.

That might sound radical. Who wants to be fragmented? Deep inner healing, however, may depend on seeing the parts of your psyche that need inner healing the most.

Most of us associate being split or divided or fragmented – not with inner healing but with mental illness. The reality is being fragmented, having various parts of your personality, is normal.

Inner fragmentation is embedded in our language.

I’m torn.
I wasn’t being myself.
It was like a part of me took over.
On the one hand, this. On the other hand, that.

These are all common sayings, but we seem to stop short of just admitting that our basic nature is fragmented.

We have different parts of ourselves.

This is true physically. You have a head, kneecaps, a right and left hand, and so many other parts of your body.

It’s true of our brain as well. You have a prefrontal cortex, a midbrain, and a primitive brain. It’s proven that the brain is divided and that different parts of the brain are often in conflict with each other. You may be planning to start a business (prefrontal cortex) but are terrified of failing (primitive brain).

The same is true psychologically, which is important for inner healing.

We may have a part of us that’s scared or hesitant or critical of moving forward toward a goal and yet we have another part of us that’s really passionate about the goal. We don’t want to be divided on the inside, so we try to act out of the passionate part and ignore the hesitant part. It’s very likely that the ignored part is going to sabotage us at that point because it’s a legitimate part of us with real concerns.

Parts all have their own story and some need inner healing.

They all have their own perspective and they are capable of acting independently. Suddenly coming out and taking over. You may find that you’re going to give a speech and you prepare for the speech and you’re a little nervous, but you override that. You do everything you can. You get to a place where you’re feeling confident and then when you stand up in front of everyone, the terrified part of you comes out and you panic.

It’s like that part of you, regardless of everything you did, that part of you was not prepared…you were not able to access and reassure that part of you was terrified of getting up in front of people.

If we give up the idea that we’re whole and just accept that we have various parts and these parts don’t always agree with each other, we can invoke inner healing with the parts that need it.

At that point, we can begin to address the conflict. We can do an internal negotiation, which again might sound really odd to people. I’m negotiating with different parts of myself. How weird and yet it’s not so weird. What’s really weird is pretending that a part of you doesn’t exist and then being sabotaged by that part later when it comes to communicating with our parts.

We can speak to our various parts and get a response – and that seems odd…

…but what seems even odder is to have these parts talking to us and giving us feelings all day and pretending they don’t exist.

I may have a part of me that is criticizing me throughout the day. You’re no good. You’re going to fail. Who Do you think you are, and this part of me, this inner critic is giving me a hard time throughout the day and while we may think it’s weird to stop and turn to that part and say, I’m listening. What do you want?

I suggest it’s even more bizarre to pretend that part of you doesn’t exist to ignore that part of you because it has an effect on you. We can’t wish these parts of ourselves away and ultimately we can’t avoid them. They have an impact on our life and so why not consciously listen and experience these parts and work with them toward a resolution. It really works to do that.

How do you work with your inner parts?

The first step to working with your inner parts is to accept them that they exist and the second step is to separate from them enough that you can communicate with them from yourself, your core self. It’s when parts kind of take over and our two clubs and we ended up in a struggle with them that we lose all perspective, but if at first you calm down and center yourself and then talk to the part of you that you’re having a problem with, it will go much better.

I often think of it as one friend talking to another. This whole process we call inner dynamics. At the iNLP Center. We even have a training called inner dynamics. The purpose of this training is to help us understand and negotiate and heal our various inner parts. It’s profound work.

Inner dynamics brings on an entirely new understanding of how the psyche works and it’s a practical understanding. So we can go through the day pretending that we’re whole while various fragmented parts of ourselves get in the way. Or we can stop, step back and say, “I have a lot of parts of me and these parts don’t agree with me all the time and they don’t agree with each other all the time and so it can be a bit of a jumbled mess inside me, but I’ll relax.”

Take a look at these different parts and start the process of healing any divides. That seems like such a sane and grounded and common sense approach to solving a problem.

We’re missing it because we don’t want to admit that we’re not whole.

The Death Part of Adam

Adam (pseudonym) was obsessed with death.

Not consciously, although he’d learned to live with the unconscious predictions of death. A silent assassin followed Adam around during his days. He’d notice the figure of a man with a rifle pointed at him…just on the edge of awareness. This happened every day. Around every corner, some part of Adam expected to be killed.

Beyond the mysterious rifleman, Adam frequently lamented death. Why did he have to die? He longed to live forever. This longing only heightened his fear of death.

Adam knew he’d had a rough childhood. It was very rough indeed. But He told himself there were people in this world who had it much worse. His life was never in jeopardy while growing up. Why all the fuss?

It never occurred to Adam that a part of him did experience a constant threat of death during childhood. The physical and verbal abuse he endured was suppressed. Now, 25 years later, the death part of Adam was alive and well, actively influencing his thoughts and decisions on a daily basis.

In fact, the death part inspired all manner of inner dynamics.

The Easiest Way to Face your Fears

You can face your fears easily by talking to the part of you that’s afraid.

Doing this requires stepping back from the part. Let me explain.

Face your fears by realizing not all of you is afraid.

Not all of you is afraid. A part of you is. The parts model of psychology can come to your rescue. You also have curious and courageous parts. And parts that are disinterested as well.  You have many facets to your identity and this is 100% normal. You can face your fears painlessly by leveraging this concept.

Let’s say you’re afraid of speaking up, of voicing your opinion. A part of you is scared of being criticized, or of conflict. In the moment, that part of you takes over and you do it’s bidding. You shrink, clam up, and hold back your opinion.

It’s just a part of you. Other parts of you are less afraid, or not afraid at all. But the part in question has powerful reasons it refuses to allow you to speak up.

Listen.

Before you decide if this argument is valid, listen to yourself Ask yourself, “Is there a part of me that’s afraid to speak up?”

Listen. Feel. Look inside.

If you’re like so many of us the part of you that holds onto the fear will make itself known. Congratulations! You’ve just faced your fear by calling on the part of you that’s afraid. Witnessing the part of you that’s afraid puts the fear in a contained framework. It’s no longer hijacking your brain. You can see it more objectively. Better, yet, the parts model is such an accurate representation of common experience.

In other words, it’s true. Part of you is indeed afraid and this part of you is making you anxious. It’s also true, however, that you have other aspects of your personality that you can draw upon. You’re not 100% afraid as a person. In many ways, you and I are not whole people at all. We’re a collection of various parts. You can face your fears by facing the afraid part of you and thus containing it a bit.

Face your fears systematically.

Once you get this concept, you can not only face fears but any issue that bothers you. Almost any problem can be reasonably attributed to a part of you that’s worried, scared, angry, or upset in some manner. If you’ll allow for this, you can begin a healthy process of negotiating and healing these elements of your psyche. This is what Psychevolution is all about.

Anxiety, depression, weight loss, and many issues can be dealt with using the parts model. It’s an accurate, handy, and above all easier way to do personal development work.

Inner Dynamics Principle #1

Inner Dynamics is a specialized training for life coaches, therapists, consultants and trainers in the human relations realm. The training itself is a course at the iNLP Center and housed at Inner Dynamics Training.

This article reviews principle #1. Inner Dynamics reveals a series of principles that also serve as steps to a unique inner healing protocol. Working in alignment with the principles will yield the best results.

Inner Dynamics Principle #1

Locate the core self. 

Above all else, the self must be present for healing to occur. No core self, no healing. To better understand and apply this principle, let’s define the core self – what it is and isn’t so that you can recognize when you’re in it.

What is the Core Self?

The core self is the “part” of you that isn’t a part. Meaning, when you’re experiencing the core self, you’re “just you.” The core self has wonderful, almost too-good-to-be-true qualities.

When you’re in the core self, you are:

• Compassionate
• Calm
• Patient
• Curious
• Mature (at your current age)
NOT triggerable. 

The core self is immune to typical triggers that set off other parts of you. This may be the greatest gift of the self, to experience problems and conflict without getting triggered into an emotional reaction. This will be particularly useful when dealing with inner parts that are struggling and need to heal.

If you’re being triggered and feeling it, you are NOT in your core self.

How to Enter your Core Self