“I can do better.”
“Why am I so weird?”
“I look awful today.”
Have you ever said any of these statements to yourself? Or anything similar? It seems as though sometimes it can be easier to talk to ourselves this way than it is to talk to ourselves kindly. This kind of self-talk can negatively impact our mental health in many ways. It also impacts the way we view ourselves and the confidence we feel.
I recently read a quote from Brene Brown that said, “Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” This particular quote spoke to me on numerous levels. I personally would never talk to my friends or family in a way that brings them down or discredits any part of who they are as a person. When talking to myself, I always think of this quote. It truly helps the way I talk to myself and view myself as well. Think of a person who you would do absolutely anything for. Would you ever tell them they could do better or they’re acting incredibly weird? No. I imagine you would never. So, you should never talk to yourself in that way either.
Having self-compassion and practicing positive self-talk benefits our mental health in so many ways. It impacts the way we view ourselves and the world. It can provide greater life satisfaction, reduce feelings of stress and distress, help us solve problems, and even help us be more efficient at coping with challenging situations.
Practicing positive self-talk is not always the easiest thing to accomplish though. There are a few things we can all do so it is more natural to practice positive self-talk.
–Identify negative self-talk situations. Are there certain situations or events in your life where you find yourself talking to yourself more negatively than usual? Figure out what those situations are and prepare for the feelings you might have.
–Surround yourself with positive people. You might not even realize it, but sometimes when we are around negative people, that can affect our outlook on ourselves and the world.
–Practice common humanity. It is important to realize that we are all humans. There will be days where it is harder to practice positive self-talk than other days. Practicing common humanity allows yourself to realize that you are not the only one who is feeling the way you are feeling. You are not alone and realizing this can also allow us to reach out for help if our negative thoughts are too much.
It is not easy to practice positive self-talk. It is something that takes a conscious effort. If you have a mental health condition it can be even harder. Be sure to give yourself grace just like you would give a loved one grace. If you find yourself with an inner critic instead of a kind inner voice, take a step back, try and figure out why you are talking that way, apologize to yourself, and do your best to practice positive self-talk in the future. If you are struggling with negative thoughts and the tips mentioned above are not helping you, be sure to reach out for help. Our thoughts are incredibly powerful and the way we speak to ourselves truly makes a difference. The next time you think something negative about yourself, ask yourself if you would say that to a loved one… if the answer is no, try and speak with more kindness to yourself. There is only one you in the whole world, so be sure to treat YOU well.
Katie Zimmerman, Project Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Katie Zimmerman joined The Kim Foundation in June 2019. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and Sociology from Central College in Pella, Iowa. During her time in college, she volunteered at many non-profit organizations and took multiple sociology classes which focused on mental health. Katie’s role at The Kim Foundation includes running the social media accounts, assisting in the Youth Advisory Council, and providing mental health awareness and education to the community through A Voice for Hope and Healing presentations.