How to Become Your Own Best Friend with Positive Self-Talk
Are you your own best friend? Do you support yourself, celebrate your wins, and forgive your mistakes?
If you can’t answer a hearty “yes!” to those questions, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, most of us don’t talk to ourselves all that positively. In fact, the way I used to talk to myself was downright nasty.
I didn’t realize the damage this was doing to my mental health and confidence until I hit rock bottom and I had no choice but to change. Nowadays I try to always talk to myself as someone very special, and find myself living a much happier life because of it.
If the voice in your head sounds a lot more like a hyper-critical aunt than a supportive best friend, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel loved and cherished, rather than beaten down? I sure think so. So let me share with you my best tips on how to change that negative voice around.
Get aware of your thoughts
This might sound pretty obvious, but you can’t change your self-talk if you’re not aware of it in the first place. Do you know that it’s been estimated we have 70,000 thoughts a day? I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely not sure what all those thousands of thoughts are about!
The good news is that you don’t need to examine all 70,000 of those thoughts. Let’s be honest, who has time for that?
Instead of trying to notice every single thought that goes through your head, try to identify the themes of what you think about during the day. Are you replaying difficult conversations? Thinking of all the things you need to do? Putting yourself down? Don’t judge the thoughts, but do figure out what they are.
A helpful exercise to increase your self-talk awareness is to set a few timers for yourself throughout the day and then jot down notes about what you’re thinking about when they go off. Then you can review at the end of the day and see what major themes crop up.
If you like journaling, you can also reflect in the evening about what you spent most of your time thinking about that day. Meditation, as well, is a practice I find very helpful for increasing my self-awareness.
It doesn’t matter exactly how you go about this process of identifying your thought themes, as long as you gain an understanding of how you’re thinking about yourself. From there we can start to change that into something more positive.
2. Create some positive affirmations
Make a quick list of your most common self-talk themes. Some examples might be:
-I never do anything right
-I’m always behind
-I’m not worthy of love
Then, in order to counteract this negative thinking, you need to start telling yourself the exact opposite of whatever you wrote down.
So the opposite, positive affirmations of the above list would be:
-I am capable and can handle anything
-I am doing the best I can and that’s enough
-I am worthy of love and good things
Take these affirmations and say them to yourself as often as you can. Write them on post-its and put them on the fridge, repeat them as you’re driving to work, make them your desktop background - it doesn’t matter as long as you say these affirmations as much as you can!
Before you object, let me reassure you that it doesn’t matter whether your new positive self-talk feels true or not. Even if you feel like you’re outright lying to yourself, there’s still something to be gained in practicing positive affirmations. Why? Because you’re making your brain question your deep held beliefs about yourself. And because with enough repetition, we do in fact start believe the things we tell ourselves. Think about how well this works for negative beliefs. Why not try it with something positive instead?
3. Find positive role models
If you spend most of your time hanging around people who are constantly bashing themselves, it’s going to be super difficult to start talking to yourself in a positive way. This doesn’t mean you need to cut those people out of your life, but consider adding people to your life who are self-loving and positive.
Spending time around someone who is comfortable with herself is honestly the most refreshing thing. Their self-love radiates out and makes everyone they meet feel more comfortable too. You want to find people like this to spend time around, whether that be in person or online.
Some of my favorite ways to enjoy the presence of positive people:
-Watching motivational youtube videos (Oprah, anyone?!)
-Joining Facebook groups focused on positive mindset
-In-person Meetup groups (www.meetup.com) on positive topics, like personal development book clubs
-Reaching out to people in my life who always cheer me up
The possibilities for connecting with other soul-lifting individuals are really endless. There are plenty of people in this world who love themselves, or are trying to, and want to connect with like-minded people.
4. Rinse and repeat
If you’ve started to take the steps towards changing your negative self-talk to positive, congratulations! But we’re not quite done yet.
The truth is, as you continue to grow and have new experiences, different negative self talk is probably going to pop up. It’s not a one-time deal where you banish it forever. But once you start getting used to recognizing and changing those negative thoughts, it does get a whole heck of a lot easier to do it in the future.
So just continue to be aware of what you’re thinking and check in with yourself. When you feel like you’ve mastered and truly believe one set of affirmations, make some new ones! This doesn’t have to be tedious, but can instead be a fun journey of exploration and growth. And as you conquer each round of negative self-talk, you’ll probably find yourself feeling a whole lot more like that best friend to yourself.