Do you have speech habits in your life that are undermining your self confidence? Negative self talk is something that we all struggle with at some point, and these seemingly innocent phrases can easily chip away at our ability to stand strong in our identity as God’s beloved daughters.
Join me as we discuss six specific negative self talk patterns and how we can stop negative self talk by replacing these words with positive phrases to embrace more gratitude, positivity, and healing.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:
- [04:24] Negative Self Talk Phrase #1: Switching “I have to” with “I get to”
- [06:07] Negative Self Talk Phrase #2: Paying attention to “always” and “never”
- [08:14] Negative Self Talk Phrase #3: Switching “What if it’s hard?” with “What if it’s easy?”
- [15:22] Negative Self Talk Phrase #4: Removing “just” in order to increase confidence
- [18:40] Negative Self Talk Phrase #5: Letting go of apology statements
- [20:18] Negative Self Talk Phrase #6: Removing speech disclaimers in order to increase confidence
- [22:12] How we can break free from these negative thought patterns
[04:24] Negative Self Talk Phrase #1: Switching “I have to” with “I get to”
When something feels heavy, or like a burden on our to-do lists, we often say “I have to” complete x, y, and z. I find myself using this phrase even when it’s simply a task that needs to be done. With some of these tasks, we put more burden on ourselves by making it a chore. Even something small, like “I have to pick my kids up from school.”
I’ve found that by switching “I have to” with “I get to,” a different energy appears, an energy of gratitude and positivity. In changing the verbiage around more of my tasks, I’ve noticed that I feel a bit lighter, because I’m filling my day with “get-tos” rather than “have-tos.”
ACTION STEP: Question to Ask Yourself:
- Is it really an “I have to” task, or can it be an “I get to” moment?
[06:07] Negative Self Talk Phrase #2: Paying attention to “always” and “never”
Something that I struggled with for a very long time is the use of the words “always” and “never.” Although I haven’t entirely eliminated them, I have noticed that these phrases begin to resurface when I have moments of hopelessness. When we become extremely frustrated about a situation, we sometimes go deep into our emotions which makes it difficult for our logical brain to take over.
Instead of shaming yourself when you use these words, I encourage you to use them as indicators, to help you see the reality of the situation. When I hear myself use “always” or “never,” I remind myself to stop and see that I’m generalizing behaviors or scenarios because I’m coming at it from an overwhelmed, emotional perspective. When we use these phrases as trigger words to remind us to stop and reflect, we can then approach the situation from a perspective of truth.
ACTION STEP: Ask yourself:
- Does this really always/never happen?
- Does this person truly always/never behave this way?
- Why does it currently feel like this always/never happens?
[08:14] Negative Self Talk Phrase #3: Switching “What if it’s hard?” with “What if it’s easy?”
A speech pattern that I believe has been ingrained in most of us is that life has to be hard. This was an idea that was reinforced throughout my life to the point that it truly felt like it was a part of my DNA. “Everything we do in life requires us to toughen up and knuckle down,” but the truth is that it doesn’t.
I came to a realization that one of the reasons I clung to this belief was because I didn’t want to be surprised or disappointed when a challenge came along, and that by holding onto this belief I was actually adding more stress to the situation. A reminder that we use often inside of the Christian Mindset Makeover is “I can let it be easy. I can get out of my own way.” Reminders like this are vital to creating new dialogues inside of our heads.
After working through the Week 1 material inside the Christian Mindset Makeover, one of my clients shared her story inside the Facebook group. She had become conscious of the ease that she felt when things were going well for her spiritually, physically, and emotionally, and that she struggled the most when challenges would arise. She mentioned that hearing the phrase “I can let it be easy” made her feel both encouraged and frustrated.
She felt encouraged by the thought that it could be easy, and the belief that as long as she does her part to be healthy then God will step in and take care of the rest. She felt frustrated because she knew that while God doesn’t want change to ever be hard or complicated, there will be times where God uses something that we’re experiencing in life to develop character traits within us such as perseverance and endurance.
When it comes down to it, we are the ones that get in God’s way of working in our lives because we have already mentally subscribed to the belief that something is going to be near impossible to do. Instead of committing ourselves to drudgery, we can use these moments to take steps forward in faith and turn the process completely over to God.
ACTION STEP: Reflect on these phrases:
- There may be challenges along the way, but they will be presented to me one day at a time and God will give me the strength in that moment to deal with them.
- I'm not responsible for the outcome. I'm responsible for showing up and doing the work that he's called me to do.
- I'm going to believe that he is going to ease my path and make this as simple and straightforward as possible. It doesn't mean it's going to work out the way I expect, but it is going to be something that God's going to have his hand in and that God's going to work with me on.
[15:22] Negative Self Talk Phrase #4: Removing “just” in order to increase confidence
There are two ways that we use the word “just” in a way that undermines our confidence. First, it tends to be used as a replacement for the word “only.” I’m just a mom sounds like, “It’s not a big deal, I’m only a mom.” This way of talking about ourselves not only minimizes our self confidence but also our view of the position that God has given us. We can bring back the power to these statements by simply replacing “I’m just” with “I am.”
The second way the habit of using “just” can undermine our confidence is when we use it in an apologetic way because we don’t believe we have a right to take up space. “I’ll just need a few minutes of your time” or “I just need a few things” is a way of trying to make ourselves smaller and more convenient for others. I’ve recognized that I use these phrases when I feel like I’m asking too much or am afraid of being judged.
ACTION STEP: Ask yourself:
- When I hear myself saying phrases that include “just” a lot, what might I really be communicating?
- Is the word “just” a habit, or is there an apology behind what I’m saying?
[18:40] Negative Self Talk Phrase #5: Letting go of apology statements
Another speech habit that we fall into when we’re afraid of taking up space is the apologetic statement. “Sorry to bother you” and “Sorry if this is a silly question, but…” are only two examples on a very long list of ways we use apologetic statements in an attempt to avoid bothering others.
This is something that’s seen often when there’s people pleasing tendencies involved, and it can be used as a way to avoid getting hurt. As someone who has struggled with this habit, I encourage you to reflect on your apologetic statements and practice differentiating between moments of politeness and moments where you’re making yourself smaller.
[25:29] Mindset Skill #3: Self Control and Self Discipline
The final mindset skill is the idea of self control. This means having self control of our perception of life, our circumstances, our attitude towards ourselves and towards other people and self control of our actual thoughts.
How often do we find ourselves on these emotional thought spirals? This ties back to the first skill of noticing and acknowledging. Once we begin to recognize what we’re doing, we can learn to take control of our thoughts and lean into our feelings without spiraling out of control.
Only we can be the ones to control our thoughts. No one is going to do this work for us! We have to regularly cultivate the emotional self discipline to notice when we’re spiraling and to take steps to take back control of our thoughts as part of our mind maintenance.
[20:18] Negative Self Talk Phrase #6: Removing speech disclaimers in order to increase confidence
Disclaimers are another tricky speech habit that dismantles our identities and makes it appear as if we really don’t know what we’re talking about. Phrases like “I’m no expert, but..” or “I could be wrong, but…” undermine our ability to speak with confidence. Even in my coaching, I’ve noticed that I often use the phrase, “Does that make sense?” when speaking on topics that I’m highly educated about. These disclaimers can be ways to soften our opinions on the off-chance that someone disagrees with us.
ACTION STEP: Ask yourself:
- How may I be using these kinds of speech habits to undermine my ability, my voice, or the truth that God has given me that He wants me to speak?
[22:12] How we can break free from these negative thought patterns
The first step in breaking free from negative thought patterns is to take notice. Increase your awareness and take note of how these thought patterns show up in your daily life. When you take notice of when these speech patterns appear, you can reflect on them and ask yourself how you were really feeling in that moment. Did the phrases rise from insecurity or discomfort? When you have a better understanding of why and when negative thought patterns appear, it becomes a bit easier to practice switching the phrases to come from a place of security, reflection, and gratitude.
[22:52] Alicia’s personal experience of noticing and stepping out of her own speech patterns
Over the weekend, I had family coming into town and I noticed a few of these negative speech patterns showing up. My daughter had a swimming event that changed at the last minute, which meant it was going to interfere with the original plans we had for the weekend. I found myself immediately leaning into apologetic statements. I was so concerned about them being upset that the plans had changed and not wanting to cause any friction or drama, so I was backpedaling and doing anything I could think of in order to please them and smoothe over the situation. Even though I was caught up in negative speech patterns at that moment, because I’m making an effort to notice when and why they may be popping up, I can take that information and use it the next time a challenge appears, practicing how to speak with kindness but also with truth and confidence.
OTHER RESOURCES MENTIONED:
Other Podcast Episodes on Negative Self Talk:
- Ep. 65: Identity Pt 1: How to Stop Negative Self Talk + Walk in Your Identity in Christ
- Ep. 72: Mindset Matters: How to Renew Your Mind + Overcome Negative Thought Patterns
- Ep. 76: Transformation Story: How Kate Let Go of Control + Rewired Negative Thinking for a Happier, Freer Life
- Ep. 129: How to Identify Toxic Thinking Patterns and Break Free from Negative Thoughts
- Ep. 133: Brain Priming: #1 Brain Hack to Renew Your Mind and Overcome Negative Thoughts
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