Self-criticism is good, but only in small doses. Too much self-criticism can severely affect your mental health and how you perceive yourself and your abilities.
“You are such an idiot,” used to be my go-to internal reprimand. It’s harsh, I know but I used to be the Queen of negative self-talk. No matter the circumstance, I could find a way to blame myself for falling short, even if the outcome was good. Forget waiting for the other shoe to drop or finding someone else to blame, I was more concerned the sky was falling and it was all my fault.
The powerful and challenging thing about negative self-talk is learning that you ARE your inner critic. Therefore, in order to navigate the rough waters of negative self-talk, you have to cultivate a healthy sense of self-awareness.
For a long time, I thought I was being appropriately hard on myself because if I wasn’t, who would be? I couldn’t have been more misguided.
Almost everyone on the planet has experienced a moment when positivity goes out the window and you become your own worst enemy. It’s in those moments when your inner critic pipes up and begins hurling destructive falsehoods at you.
Negative self-talk is so insidious that you may not even realize it’s happening until you are in the throws of self-inflicted internal flogging. It may start out as a little personal reprimand that goes on unchecked, which spirals into a full-on “I’m an Idiot, WTF was I thinking” scenario. Before you know it, you’ve blamed all the world’s problems on yourself and all you want to do is crawl under a rock.
Thankfully a little self-awareness goes a long way. It can be like a lamp turned on in a dark room that immediately allows you to feel more secure, confident and knowledgeable about yourself. In an effort to help you turn on the light.
Here’re 4 types of negative self-talk you need to stop right now:
Some examples of personalizing are:
“We didn’t get the account! It must have been because of my presentation. “
“Friendsgiving is canceled this year? It has to be because no one likes my food.”
If any time something bad happens, you automatically think it has something to do to you directly, you have personalized the outcome.
One cause of personalization is insecurity. When you feel insecure, uncertain, and anxious, it is easy to label yourself as the cause of unfortunate outcomes. The challenge is slowing down long enough to acknowledge that there is no evidence to support the personalization of the outcome.
One way to halt personalized negative self-talk is to first acknowledge that you are personalizing. Then, ask yourself if you know it to be true. The following line of questioning has worked wonders for many dealing with personalized negative self-talk:
Is it true that you are the reason things went wrong? Is it true that you are the reason something bad happened? What evidence do you have to support that?
Honest answers to these aforementioned questions can help give you the distance you need from the outcome to make an objective assessment of your role, while also quieting your inner critic.
Some examples of filtering are:
“So what I got that done, there’s still a ton to do if I want to be successful”
“They enjoyed that garbage? I thought I could have done so much better!”
When no matter what happens, you disregard what has been accomplished and focus on what you have left to do, then you’ve filtered the outcome.
A lack of mindfulness can lead to filtering. Mindfulness is about connection when it is absent, all of our actions can feel disconnected. If you are not clear about how your current actions are connected to your overall goal, it can leave you feeling like an untethered balloon floating aimlessly with no direction.