Building confidence is a worthwhile endeavor on your journey through life. The great motivational speaker Marcus Garvey had a quote that goes:”With confidence, you have won before you have started”. It is a reminder that a positive self-image is one of the cornerstones of self-worth and must be cultivated with care.
We all have an inner voice that speaks to us throughout the day. It gives us feedback on everything from our appearance and behavior to our actions and reactions. For some people, this inner voice is a source of encouragement, while for others, it can be a constant source of negative criticism. This negative self-talk can be a significant obstacle to building confidence. It can also deter you from achieving your goals. With the application of practice and persistence, it is possible to learn to master your inner critic and become an Assertive individual.
Start building confidence by understanding negative self-talk
Self-worth is tied to how you see yourself, whether in the mirror or in your mind. It is important to guard your thoughts from negative self-talk. Negative self-talk is the voice in your head that tells you that you are not good enough, smart enough, or worthy enough. It is the voice that points out your flaws and weaknesses and compares you in a negative way to others. It can be triggered by a variety of things, such as a mistake or failure, a difficult situation, or an unkind comment from someone else.
Negative self-talk can have a powerful impact on your self-esteem, mood, self-worth, and behavior. It can make you feel anxious, depressed, or ashamed, and it can hold you back from pursuing your dreams and goals. It can also lead to self-sabotage, where you undermine your own efforts and success.
Types of Negative Self-Talk
There are quite a few types of negative self-talk, each with its own distinct characteristics and effects. Here are a few examples:
This is when you view things in absolute terms, without any nuance. For example; you either succeed or fail, and there is no in-between. This type of extreme thinking can be very limiting and discouraging, as it can make you feel like you are not good enough unless you achieve perfection.
This is when you imagine the worst possible outcome of a situation and convince yourself that it is inevitable. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and helplessness, as well as a tendency to avoid challenging situations.
This is when you take one negative experience and use it to make sweeping conclusions about yourself or the world. For example, if you fail a test, you might conclude that you are not smart enough to succeed in school. This type of thinking can be very damaging to your self-esteem and confidence.
This is when you blame yourself for things that are not your fault or take things too personally. For example, if someone cancels plans with you, you might assume that they don’t like you or that you did something wrong. This type of thinking can lead to feelings of guilt and shame, even when you have done nothing wrong.
Challenging Negative Self-Talk
The first step in mastering your inner critic is to become aware of your negative self-talk and learn to challenge it. Ask yourself questions that challenge the assumptions and beliefs underlying your self-talk. Here are some examples of questions you can ask yourself:
Is this thought true? Often, our negative self-talk is because of false or exaggerated beliefs about ourselves or the situation we are in. By questioning the truth of our thoughts, we can begin to see things more objectively.
What evidence do I have for this thought? When we are feeling down or anxious, it can be easy to ignore or discount evidence that contradicts our negative self-talk. By looking for evidence that supports more positive or balanced beliefs, we can begin to shift our perspective and build confidence.
What would I say to a friend who was thinking this way? Sometimes, we are much kinder and more compassionate to our friends than we are to ourselves. By imagining what we would say to a friend who was struggling with similar thoughts, we can learn to treat ourselves with the same kindness and understanding.
Is there a more balanced way to look at this situation? Negative self-talk often involves extreme or black-and-white thinking. By looking for more balanced and nuanced perspectives, we can avoid getting stuck in negative thought patterns and open ourselves up to new possibilities.
Building confidence by replacing Negative Self-Talk
In addition to challenging negative self-talk, it is important to replace it with positive self-talk. Positive self-talk involves using encouraging, affirming, and optimistic language to talk to yourself. This can help to start building confidence and improving your mood, It will also motivate you to take positive action towards your goals.
Examples of positive self-talk include:
I am capable of handling this situation.
I am worthy of love and respect.
I am making progress toward my goals, even if it is slow.
I am proud of myself for trying.
I am strong and resilient.
It is important to remember that learning to master your inner critic is a process that takes time and practice. You will not be able to change your negative self-talk overnight. But with patience and persistence, you can learn to replace it with positive self-talk and start building confidence. By doing so, you can build confidence, improve your mood, and achieve your goals with greater ease and resilience.
Continue your journey of building confidence by investing in yourself. You may find the book: The six pillars of self-esteem to be a good read. See you on our next post.