Let’s be clear: The rhetoric you speak over yourself isn’t just meaningless or just “words.” What you speak (inside your head or outside) determines the course of your life. (And best yet, you can actually change your self-talk!)
Simply speaking, this is how it works:
- Speak life= move closer to being fully alive
- Speak death = move closer to death
This is a spiritual principal backed by tons of research, neuroscience and all of our collective life experiences. If you don’t want to be miserable and live a life of purpose, we can change our self-talk to reflect this. So let’s try this again:
- Positive self-talk = better life-satisfaction, contentment, “prophesying” good, hope, purpose, confidence, belief in the life-giving words you are speaking, etc…
- Negative self-talk = higher anxiety, greater depression, hopelessness, worthlessness, stolen dreams, murdered purpose, believe in the future and negativity your are speaking over yourself, etc…
In other words, if you want to be who you are meant to be and make the difference you were born to make, we’ve got to get on top of our self-talk.
Actually, I Can
Need a place to start? If you’re meant to, CALLED to do/be something/someone, and got the POWER backing you, practice saying this:
Actually, I can.
Because then, actually, you can.
Got the way it works? Good.
Three Ways To Change Your Self-Talk
I am pretty sure changing self-talk is something you can do. Here are three rock this so you can be more fully alive and better make the difference you are born to make.
I can give you countless examples of specific phrases to change your self-talk from negative to life-giving and and positive (like “Actually, I can” from above), but it is much easier just to give you the formula: flip-it.
The next time you noticed yourself saying something inside your head or speaking something out loud that isn’t good, then just PROACTIVELY say the opposite of that.
- I look so ugly = I am beautiful
- I can’t do this = I can do this
- I am stupid = I am smart
Okay, let’s be honest though. These often don’t work for me. They are too simplified and don’t usually get to the root of the issue. For me, being more specific and intentional really helps. Hence mine tend to look more specifically at the not-good (which I tend to call I “lie” as dubbed in Christianeze), find the root of it, and directly attack it.
These are more recent examples of how I’ve had to change the above:
- I look ugly = I am still beautiful, I am just super-focusing on parts of me I don’t like or comparing myself to others–and their beauty doesn’t lessen my own. Besides, my family thinks I am beautiful and no one else cares much what I look like anyway–my worth is so much more than my appearance!
- I can’t do this = God has or will equip me for anything that comes my way. He gave me this job, so he’s got my back. I’m not leading this alone here!
- I am stupid = I am smart in all the ways that matter for where I am at. And if I don’t have the knowledge, book or my friends do. And If I don’t have the wisdom, I’ll ask God.
See how specific these get? We’ve got to get to the root of the negative self-talk, the lie we believe, if we want to start speaking life to it.
2.) Make Truth Cards
Daily affirmations is not only the most popular way to flip-the-phrase, but it is actually kinda fun. Personally, I use what I call truth cards, which are essentially good things or truths that I need to work on to believe. It is kinda fun to have someone make them for you, it feels like a gift if you like words of affirmation.
How? I usually color things on paper and laminate and cut them out. But you can buy affirmation cards, use index cards, write them on scraps of paper, or cover your bathroom mirror with dry-erase marker or lipstick. I even have some laminated truth in my shower to read and have used kids crayons in there before, too.
3.) Find A Safe Tribe of “Identity Allies”
If you want to change your self-talk to be positive, you must grant permission to a safe tribe of people to call you out on it. Yes, I know this requires vulnerability, but this is the best kind of vulnerability.
I read the term “identity allies” in a book, RARE Leadership, a few years back. It is super cheesy, but I love how specific it is, to have a group that is pre-committed to not simply holding you accountable, but they are committed to hearing and seeing you through the lens of we are working together for your good by calling out who you are becoming. They are invited to remind you of your identity and worth. They are given permission to note and correct your self-talk when it doesn’t match who you are becoming.
My spouse, co-workers, and closest friends know (or they should know–if you are in my inner circle and reading this, I henceforth give you explicit permission) that I expect them to speak good and life to me. I need them to. For example, what I do to make a difference in the world had historically often gotten confused with my worth. I’d never be where I am today, so much more alive, if they haven’t been behind me to remind me that I am already enough and that I don’t have to prove myself to be loved. Many of my truth cards and affirmations speak this to me, just like they do.
Find friends to be a safe tribe of “identity allies” and give them explicit permission to help you see when you are using negative-self talk, and ask them to give you life-giving words to help you when you are struggling.
Self-talk might not seem like a big deal, but it is because it can keep you from being fully alive and making the difference you are born to make in the world. And no surprise, when you begin proactively changing it, good is at your is at your fingertips.