Positive Thinking: How to Curb Negative Self-Talk 

By Keven Lahey, Clinical Intern

“We’re our own worst critic”.

That’s probably something you’ve heard before, and for a lot of people, it definitely rings true. Whether we’re being overly hard on ourselves when we try something new or scolding ourselves for messing up something we should know, we’re often harder on ourselves than even other people would be. Unfortunately, many of us have just gotten used to being hard on ourselves. Society often pushes us to strive to be exceptional, or even perfect in the things that we do, and when we can’t reach those unrealistic standards, we go on to criticize and think negatively of ourselves. In many cases, it’s even something that happens automatically, almost like we’re hardwired to think about ourselves in such a harsh way.

With that in mind, you might be asking yourself, “What can I do about that?” Fortunately, the answer can be summed up in a single word: “Reframing.” Put simply, to reframe something means to look at it in a different light or from a new perspective. This is more than likely something you already do, and already do regularly! What’s important, however, is that you’re consistent and deliberate in the reframing of your negative self-talk. Engaging in negative self-talk and not actively attempting to push back against it allows for those overly critical thoughts to continue to negatively impact your life.

As an example, let’s take a quick look at a phrase we may use regularly, especially when it comes to doing new things. “I could never do that.”

Instead of thinking like that, try to reframe that thought. Instead of thinking about something new and associating it with failure, try to associate it with opportunity.

“I could give it a try.”

“It’s a chance to try something new.”

Thinking like that helps to shift your overall mindset, and regularly making the effort to put a positive spin onto previously negative thoughts makes that shift continue to happen. By no means is this something that will happen overnight. It will take time, and you might even go back to old habits on occasion, but that’s okay. After all, growth and change aren’t linear. There are ups and downs, but so long as we’re trying, we’re making some sort of progress.

If you’d like to work on curbing your negative self-talk, all of us here at Owens & Associates Counseling & Therapy Center are ready to help out in any way we can! Call our admin team at 847-854-4333 to schedule an appointment. We can’t wait to hear from you!