You’ve certainly heard about your self-talk by now. That’s the non-stop flow of thoughts that goes through your mind. The vast majority of it is about yourself. It can be good or bad, and it can either build up or tear down your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Naturally, positive self-talk -that is, positive thoughts about yourself -raise your self-confidence and negative self-talk lowers it. Negative self-talk can completely destroy your self-confidence.
If you’re trying to build your self-confidence, you’re going to need to get control of your self-talk and stop the negative thoughts that are harming you. Then you need to replace them with positive thoughts.
Here’s how to do it.
1.) Begin noticing your self-talk
Everyone talks to themselves constantly. The majority of people don’t realize they’re doing it unless an unusual thought sticks out or they start paying attention. The first step to controlling your self-talk is to begin to notice it. Pay attention.
The importance of this step can’t be overstated. You need to notice and understand your self-talk before you can change it. The most important thing you need to notice are the negative thoughts. If you’ve been having self-confidence issues, these might be the majority of your thoughts. Perhaps you can relate to some of the following common negative thoughts:
“What were you thinking, you idiot?” “You can’t do that!” “What’s the use?” “I’ll never succeed at anything.”
Any time you put yourself down or denigrate yourself counts. This includes the use of self-deprecating humor.
2.) Start challenging the negative thoughts
The next step is to begin challenging the negative thoughts when you notice them. When you catch your self-talk being negative, stop the thought and tell yourself “That’s not true.” It doesn’t matter what the thought was or what name you were calling yourself; it’s not true.
3.) Choose a positive thought to replace the negative one
After you’ve gotten good at challenging negative thoughts, start amending them to positive ones. “I can’t do that” becomes “I can do that if I try hard enough” and so forth. Do this every time you catch yourself having a negative thought about yourself. It may be difficult, especially in the beginning, but stick with it.
If you do this consistently, the number of negative thoughts in your self-talk will gradually diminish. This takes time, but you will eventually replace them with the positive thoughts you’re using instead. You’ll slowly reprogram yourself into thinking positively about yourself, which will boost your confidence.