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5 Things I Do to Change Negative Self-Chatter – You Can Try Them Too!

By Kathleen Sinclair June 18, 2022 Mindset

Self-talk or chatter is a tricky thing. There are so many layers to what we think and say, how we treat people, and how we treat ourselves.

Did you know that every single day, we speak 7,000 words out loud, on average? The real question is, how many words do we actually speak to ourselves?

Our Words Have Power Over Us

Science has proven that powerful words and thoughts are tied to our actual happiness level. It has often been noted that words are powerful; almost more powerful than thoughts. Whether spoken to our inner selves or outward to other people, words can support or break our spirit.

Whenever I hear talk of childhood traumas, adult pushback, societal expectations, and everything in between, I think of a question posed by Allen Ginsberg, poet laureate of the Beat generation of the 1950s: “What do you say to yourself lying in bed at night, making no sounds?”

It’s in that very timeframe that you can reshape your world.

I’ve never been much of a negative nellie, though I’ve experienced drowning days. For the most part, I have always had a way of telling the story just a bit differently to myself so that I can feel better. To me, mindset is about feeling good, mostly living in a state of being content and… well… happy.

I didn’t grow up that way. In fact, my parents had a limited mindset, and it took me many years to realize that I didn’t have to follow in their shoes. I am thankful I realized I had choices – and tools.

So, here are five tools I have used to get out of the limited mindset and move into a growth mindset. (Mind you, I know I am still growing every day.) I’m sure they will work for you too.

Listen to the Way You Speak Out Loud and to Yourself

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Replace judgement of yourself and others with acceptance.

When you find yourself making a comment about the person on the phone, in line in front of you, or anytime someone or something irritates you, just take a deep breath and see if you can reframe what you were going to say or not say it at all.

This exercise takes focus to catch yourself in these exact moments. But I promise you, once you catch yourself, you’re going to be surprised how many times a day you have the opportunity to stop and change your negative inner and outer talk.

Trust Yourself

You don’t need approval from anyone but yourself. If others say something negative to you, remember that it is their opinion and none of your business. There is no way you can control what another person thinks about you.

One of The Four Agreements from Don Miguel Ruiz is “Never take anything personally. Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” That includes what others think or say about you.

Do you realize the power of this truth? We can control what we think about ourselves and that is our mission here.

Look at Challenges Differently

When you have challenges, and we all do, look at them as opportunities and not huge setbacks. Remember – the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Chunk things down into manageable bits.

When I need to transform something overwhelming into manageable and doable, I often have to get out a pencil and paper. I split the page into two columns – “Why I Can’t” and “Why I Can.”

Something else that helps with accomplishing goals is setting a deadline for each one. This can always be changed but it also makes it look like it can be done in real time and not some imaginary future.

Learn How to Be Authentically You

Being authentic means that you do not change your personality to match what others want you to be. Look at your specific qualities as the things that make you special.

To do that, though, you might have to first ask yourself who you are and discover your special gifts. This is usually a combination of inside qualities, like compassion, understanding, keeping your word, or being a great listener.

The outside things that make you unique could be your skills with gardening, cooking, or teaching others. Maybe you are very organized or creative. Find that special you and nurture her.

Grab onto Your Purpose

Ask yourself what you really want to be doing and why. Finding your purpose takes some time and asking yourself a lot of questions. The important thing to do each time you feel you have an answer is to ask yourself why and who will benefit from your purpose?

Sometimes we have a purpose to make a lot of money so we can have things. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but “things” don’t usually give us the inner happiness that lasts.

To date, I have written out almost 200 why’s for my purpose, and here’s what I found to be my bottom line: I want to make a difference and help make people’s lives better.

Take time today to be very conscious of your self-chatter. It’s time to get un-stuck from your old story and embrace the real you!

What are your inner thoughts most days? Do they build you up or tear you down? What steps are you taking to change your negative self-talk? Have you tried nurturing your good qualities instead of judging yourself? Please share any tips you may have!

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The Author

Kathleen is on a mission to challenge “the heck” out of aging. She earned her Master's at 60, joined the Peace Corps at 63, and now travels the US with her trailer in tow. Her passion: motivating people over 60 to live a purposeful second half of their lives and reframe how they view aging.

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