Welcome to our three-part series, Realistic Resolutions! In this installment, we’ll cover how to stop negative self-talk in 2018.
The voices in our heads can be extremely powerful. Some would even argue that by telling ourselves certain things, we make these ideas materialize in our lives over time. Negative self-talk is a pervasive problem, and can lead not only to lowered self-esteem, but also paralysis. If you convince yourself you’ll never get that promotion, you probably won’t apply for it — and certainly won’t get it! In 2018, we’d like to challenge you to learn how to stop negative thoughts and self-talk.
“I would be happier if I lost weight.”
By telling yourself over and over that your life would be better if you were thinner, or in any way different from how you are now, you trick yourself into believing that what you currently have is inadequate, and that it’s related to your true happiness. When you continually reinforce unattainable standards, you doom yourself to discontent.
If you’re interested in taking control of your diet and exercise program, there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you believe that slimming down will make you love yourself, you’re likely to be disappointed. Your amount of self-love stays with you regardless of how much you weigh.
“I can’t change.”
Many people doom themselves to failure, whether at work, in their relationships or in their personal pursuits, by telling themselves that they’ll never be able to break through restrictive patterns. The truth is, everyone can change. Unfortunately, many people do not believe wholeheartedly in their ability to change, and therefore make only a mild effort to do the hard work.
“I’m a hot mess who will never have her/his life together.”
A lot of people tend to avoid making improvements to their lives by pretending that failure is inevitable. If you really wish you were more organized, but you constantly laugh off your messy office, you’re resigning yourself to failure.
If you’re okay with your life as it is, then great! But if there are improvements you’d like to make, don’t sabotage yourself before you start.
“I’m not loveable.”
One of the saddest forms of negative self-talk, believing that you are unlovable can cause you to settle for bad relationships, accept less than you’re worth at work, and not make long-lasting friendships. If this is something you struggle with, a therapist is a great resource to help you discover why you hold this fundamental un-truth about yourself.
“Others are better than me.”
Comparing ourselves to others can only end in misery. Everyone’s path, strengths, weaknesses, valuable insights and unique qualities are different, and by holding others up on a pedestal, we inevitably fail to compare. Always remember that everyone — even those who you perceive as better than you — has flaws and shortcomings. That person you admire probably has someone else they admire (it might even be you!) to whom they feel they cannot compare. Learn to be content with your own journey.