Self-talk has a really significant impact on our confidence and self-esteem. It also has a huge impact on your happiness and success.
Every moment of each day whether consciously or not, you will be having an inner dialogue running, talking to and about yourself.
The thoughts that run through your mind and the things that you say form the beliefs, which impact your behaviour and in turn your results.
The thought manifests as the word; The word manifests as the deed; The deed develops into habit; And habit hardens into character; So watch the thought and its ways with care, And let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings… As the shadow follows the body, As we think, so we become.
Are you conscious of the things that you say to yourself?
Have you thought about what you are thinking?
What are you telling yourself over and over?
What is some of the negative self-talk you catch yourself in? What is the positive?
Talk to yourself with love
One strategy is to say things to yourself like you would someone you love.
The evidence shows that actually using your name and addressing yourself like you would another person, makes a significant difference to your choices and actions.
Talking to yourself in the 3rd person (while it may feel ridiculous at first) may not be so silly after all, quite the contrary in fact.
“Ebonie you are a talented and passionate coach.” Our mind is much more likely to believe the statement if it is delivered in this way.
What statement would you like to tell yourself? Now, how would you say it, if you were saying it to someone you love?
Now, write it out and repeat it to yourself, looking in the mirror and use your name.
Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan conducted research published last year, which suggests that talking to yourself using ‘I’ can stress you out, whilst referring to yourself by name or as ‘you’ enhances self-distancing.
This, in turn, allows you to review and assess the situation, and choose to exert self-control when faced with tempting options in the short term – from skipping a meal or a yoga class to not taking a business opportunity which would be great for you, but is outside your comfort zone.
Cut the negative chatter
Over the years I’ve had my moments of self-doubt, the days when my own personal negative committee come out and say “You can’t do this. You’re not a business person. You’ll never be a real entrepreneur – who are you kidding?”
Do you have thoughts like this sometimes?
Natalie Nahai explains how addressing ourselves by name and self-talking in the third person; we give ourselves a level of authority which we will listen to, for example:
“Ebonie, you can do it. Take that action now.”
I have been practising both and have found the research really interesting. The statement above really makes me think and changes my mindset in a way that “I can do this” just doesn’t.
How important is the structure of what we say?
I am a big fan of affirmations, I use my affirmation cards every day to give myself something to ponder on, and I believe in the value of saying something positive to ourselves and keeping an enquiring mindset.
But you need to believe it to be true for it to be effective. For example, repeating to yourself “I am rich” will probably trigger some resistance in your subconscious if it’s not true for you.
Trying asking a question instead
Noah St John PhD, author of The book of afformations uses creation afformations instead of affirmations (which in essence are empowering questions like “Why am I so rich? ”) and immediately change what your brain focuses on.
If our brain simply won’t accept statements that we don’t believe, we can use questions instead. For example “Why is the grass green?” starts your mind immediately seeking the answer.
Afformations are a way of asking a question that changes your mindset and gets you thinking differently.
“How do run your businesses and life with such ease and grace?” will get me thinking differently to “I run my businesses with ease and grace” which again is different from “Ebonie, you can do it, you have all the tools and resources you need to run your businesses and life with ease and grace.”
So why not have a go and see how you get on with your afformations, you never know, it might make a huge difference!