If you find yourself guilty of engaging in harmful self-talk, do not fret, you are not alone. Many of us are guilty of using shaming or denigrating language to speak to ourselves on a daily basis. Our intimate thoughts can sometimes be a scary place, especially when they are riddled with negativity and self-hate. How often do we take time to notice the way we “talk dirty” to ourselves?
Better yet, how often do we take the time to reframe those negative thoughts into more compassionate musings? If you are like many individuals, it is likely that you have not taken the time to notice your negative self-talk, much less considered speaking more kindly to yourself. Here is a three-step process for identifying and reshaping damaging self-talk.
First Step: Notice our Dirty Talk
Where does our dirty talk come from? For most, it comes from a combination of experiences and interactions we have with others- parents, teachers, classmates or coworkers. Regardless of where your negative self-talk comes from, it is important to identify it and recognize how it infiltrates your day-to-day routine. Here are a few examples of distorted self-talk:
– I am not good at my job
– I’ll never be good at anything
– I am not smart enough
– If only I was thinner
– I’m so stupid
Second Step: Swap Your Dirty Talk
If you are able to identify your negative self-talk, then you are taking a step towards changing the way that you experience your world and the people in it. While identifying dirty talk is important, if what you want is to live a more growth promoting life then it is important make steps towards changing those self-damaging thoughts. One way to do this is by writing down your internal negative thoughts and reversing them. For example:
– I am not good at my job vs I work hard at my job
– I’ll never be good at anything vs I am good at several things
– I am not smart enough vs I work hard to learn new things
Third Step: Challenge Your Dirty Talk
The last step and possibly the most challenging, is to provide yourself with reasons why the reversed thought is true. Distorted self-talk is just that, distorted. Which means that the things you tell yourself are most likely untrue and there is evidence in your own experiences to prove this. For example:
– I am good at my job because I work hard to complete my tasks
– I am good at many things like reading, and helping around the house
– I am smart because I take time to learn new things
– I am not stupid because I am able to accomplish many tasks throughout my day
Reframing your dirty talk may be a very challenging thing to do, especially when you are unaware that you are doing it to yourself. However, you can rise to the challenge. If you want to positively change the way you perceive yourself and your experiences, you can. Retraining yourself will take a conscious effort, but the outcome will be very rewarding. Change your negative self-talk step-by-step and leave the dirty talk for the bedroom.
For more information on changing your negative self-talk check out Dr. Helmstetter’s book What to Say When you Talk to your Self.
For more information on self-talk, visit Taylor Dickerson’s blog.