3 Simple Steps To Let Go Of Negative Self-Talk and Self-Doubt
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I believe that you are smarter, wiser and stronger than you give yourself credit for
I believe that you are destined for a happy, purpose-filled life.
I believe that you make a difference in people’s life than you realize.
I believe that you are a unique, incredible person with unique, incredible things to experience and accomplish.
I believe that you are beautiful, inside and out. I believe, without a doubt, that you are amazing!
The real question is: do you?
“When you change a belief, you change everything.” – Tony Robbins
Your belief… that’s what it really comes down to.
But when you start to truly, deep down believe all those things for yourself… well, that’s when real amazingness happens.
When you believe you’re worthwhile, your worth and goodness stand all on their own – without needing to be measured against others.
When you believe you’re beautiful, beauty starts looking back at you in the mirror.
When you believe you’re good enough, you stop telling yourself you’re not.
When you believe you’re happy, amazing, and capable of extraordinary things, you start living that way.
Telling ourselves things like “I’m not good enough,” or “She’s a better mom than I am,” or “I’m such a bad friend.” or “Everyone else does it better,” or “I’m not as smart… I just got lucky…,” These thoughts and beliefs may not be true, But this habit of self-doubt, negative self talk, constantly bad-mouthing ourselves and limiting beliefs feels convincing enough for us to think that this is who we really are.
THOUGHT HABITS & NEGATIVE SELF TALK
A stream of water running down a mountain naturally follows the path of the water before it. And with each minute the water flows, that path gets more and more defined. I’ve learned our minds work the same way.
Our thoughts follow the paths we’ve created for them. Every belittling thought of guilt, self-doubt and shame carves out the pathway deeper. We tell ourselves something over and over, and it becomes the default for next time.
Our thought patterns and our self-talk becomes a habit before we even realize it.
Changing a belief starts with creating new patterns. If you want to feel joy and happiness you need patterns that take you away from negativity and lead you to optimism instead. If you want to feel worthwhile and purposeful you need patterns that steer away from self-doubt and take you directly to confidence and empowerment.
Ultimately you need to catch, challenge and change your negative thought habits. These 3 simple steps to let go of negative self-talk and self-doubt has helped me immensely since I began implementing them.
You must know, I used to be a very negative and critical person. Thing was, I only directed all that negativity and criticism to none else but me. I was the object of my own negative self-talk, criticism and everything else.
I also doubted everything about me including the very “good morning” I say to my mum. I was constantly trolling myself with words and thoughts I would never say to or use on another person.
I never saw anything good about me, so I was comfortable in my default state of the persistent self-doubt (talking myself out of opportunities and everything else that required efforts), critical and negative self-talk.
When I discovered how these thought patterns where keeping me from showing up the way I wanted to and how they kept me stuck and in a vicious cycle of failing from doing nothing, I knew I had to stop. I spent time reading Psychology books, getting NLP and CBT training and figuring out the best way I can stop sabotaging myself. There are many other CBT techniques that offers simple steps to let go of negative self-talk and self-doubt, but lets start things off with this one:
Download This Free Worksheet To Help Walk Through The Steps I’ll Mention Here:
CATCH. CHALLENGE. CHANGE.
Personally, I’ve used this process in battling chronic negative self-talk, severe self-doubt and anxiety, as well as calming my worrying, regret-filled, perfectionistic self. I’ve felt the weight lift as I’ve erased some of my worst negative thought habits. Others I’m still working on.
It’s a process that takes patience and effort. But if you stick with it, it has the potential for powerful change.
Here’s how it works:
Start recognizing what your negative thought patterns look like and catch yourself in the act. Whenever you’re feeling bad about yourself or a situation, look back. Almost always there’s a negative thought habit that sent you there. But changing it always starts with finding it.
Learn to identify the thought or belief that triggers each sabotaging behaviour and name it.
Understand that this thought pattern doesn’t benefit you in any way! If this is hard to grasp or leads to an inner argument, then go back and read the beginning of this article… as many times as you have to. Please hear me and trust me. Any thought you feed yourself that leaves you feeling less than amazing and capable is reason enough to change it.
- Ask yourself questions like:
- Is there any evidence that supports what I’m thinking?
- What alternative perceptions or thoughts are they?
- What would I tell a friend if s/he was saying this about her/himself?
- Am I being too hard on myself?
- What am I feeling right now?
- Is this thought always true?
- How likely is this going to occur?
- How is this thought serving me?
- Am I jumping to negative conclusion?
These questions will not only challenge the thoughts, but it will also help you form a different perspective on what you were thinking.
Replace the thought.
Once you have challenged the thought, you’ll probably realize how irrational and unreasonable those negative thoughts were. At that point, you can try replacing it with a completely different thought or try reframing the old thought in a way that is not sabotaging and self critical.
Say it out loud if you have to. Literally block that old pathway and point it to a more beneficial direction. This isn’t about changing the situation or finding a different way to rationalize or validate. This is about a simple adjustment in the way you think. You’re not changing the outcome, but rather changing the words you tell yourself.
Here are three examples of how you could put this into practice right now.
Catch: “I am not doing it if it’s not going to be perfect…”
- “I’ll look so much better once I’m more in shape.”
- “My house isn’t clean enough to have friends over.”
- “I did it once and I failed, I’m not doing it again.”
- “I won’t stop until I’ve done it perfectly with any mistake or without missing a day…”
Challenge: “Is it really possible to do anything without mistakes or failing at the first few attempts?” “Does having a spotlessly clean home (even when I’m too tired or stressed to clean) mean my friends will accept me more?” “Do my friends really care if my house looks unkempt right now?” “Does my feeling beautiful and good and happy and accepted depend on my shape?” “So what’s wrong if I skip a day of working out”? “Does everything really have to be perfect?”
Change: People over perfection. “Progress over perfection.” “Making a mistake or failing is a sign of progress. A sign that I tried something, that I’m willing to bet on myself.” “My weight or shape doesn’t determine my worth or whether or not I’m beautiful.”
Thinking this way means that you are shifting from feeling ashamed of your mistakes and failures to allowing yourself to learn and grow with each experience.
It means you are relieving yourself of all that stress and expectations and pressure you put on yourself to look, be or do things a certain way to feel loved, accepted and worthy.
This means shifting your focus from your flaws to finding joy in meaningful relationships and connection.
Try spending an entire day in this new perspective and you may be surprised how many opportunities perfectionism has been robbing you of.
- You see your neighbor at the grocery store and instead of worrying about your outfit and hiding in the next aisle, you enjoy a sweet 2 minute chat and leave her happier than she was before.
- You have an honest, heartfelt conversation with a friend instead of worrying what she’ll think of you and cutting the call short.
Catch: “I should…”
- “I should offer to help… even though I’m SO busy this week.”
- “I should at least make an appearance. She’ll think I’m a flake if I don’t show up at all.”
- “I shouldn’t have yelled at my kids. What a horrible mom I am!”
Challenge: “Why do I feel obligated to help?” “Why should I…?” “What will happen if I don’t?” “How will acting out of guilt, and the pressure to meet some unstated expectation and obligation make me feel about myself or my friend later on?”
When we guilt trip ourselves, or do something to avoid one later, we often act out of obligation or just because we don’t want to feel bad about ourselves later or because we want to be liked or be seen as ‘good people’ (people pleasing).
Pushing ourselves to step out of our comfort zone or supporting a friend even when it’s not convenient are all good things to do.
But the problem with being driven by guilt is that you look back on the experience and resent doing it or feel even more guilty for not doing it at all. Either way, it somehow always ends with negativity and shame.
Change: Be driven by growth, not guilt. “I’m busy but I really want a way to give back. This is the perfect opportunity.” “I can only stay for a minute, but I know it will mean a lot to her to have me there.” “I feel so bad for yelling at my kids. Tomorrow I’m going to do better!”
We all want to be a better than we were before, and the most impactful self-improvement happens in our day to day choices and actions.
When you look at a situation as an opportunity for growth, rather than obligations, those small daily actions become major stepping stones to becoming who you were designed to be.
All it takes is a simple shift in why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Catch: “I’m not as good as her.”
- “He does it like he was born for this… Me? I’m a mess”
- “Blogger A does it better. I’m no good.”
- “She’s so much better at [fill in the blank] than I am. Why bother?”
Challenge: “Why do I reallu have to compare myself to others?” “What is the basis for this comparison?” “Is there a point in putting myself down like this?”
When we compare ourselves to others, we not only miss out on the opportunity to celebrate someone else’s strengths, but we also downplay our own by zeroing in on how we measure up to a different person with different strengths. It’s a lose-lose.
Change: Turn comparison into a compliment. “She does such a good job teaching her kids. It’s truly one of her gifts.”
“You’re so good at this! I admire you! I can learn from you” “She’s so great at [fill in the blank]. There is a lot I can learn from her.”
I know it’s hard to do, but you’ll be surprised how empowering it is to focus on others’ strengths without attaching them to your own insecurities or weaknesses.
Let them shine the way they do best and remember you shine just as bright in different ways. When you choose to soak up someone else’s light rather than spend your energy trying to outshine it, you’ll feel better about yourself and so will they.
Catch. Challenge. Change.
Just three simple steps to let go of the negativity, criticism and doubt we feed ourselves day after day and start replacing them with self-compassion and positivity.
It probably won’t feel natural at first. And definitely not easy. You may not even truly believe these new positive words you’re telling yourself. But change can come from the outside in just as easy as it can come from the inside out.
It may not happen right away, but it’s only a matter of time before those messages start sinking in and finding their way to your heart.
And once you let go of negative self talk and all the self-doubt and critical talks, you can start believing in a happier, more purposeful you. Because while I believe, without a doubt, that you are amazing, you ultimately are who you tell yourself you are.
And that conversation is entirely up to you.
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P.s: Did this post resonate? Do you find that you often talk negatively about yourself or struggle with self-doubt? What have you done before to let go of negative self-talk and self-doubt? Let me know your questions and thoughts in the comment below.