“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” –Dr. Wayne Dyer
There is no escaping negative self-talk. We can be the most positive person and view the world through the eyes of a six year old child with not a worry. Still will this mindset negative thoughts will eventually creep into our heads. Don’t worry we are human and life is not over. We can use negative self-talk to our advantage. How? We must turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk. The more negative the more fuel you will have.
I know this sounds crazy but trust me. I have used this theory with many athletes that are affected by negative thoughts and negative self-talk. First we need a piece of paper and pen. Got it? Good. Draw a line down the middle of the page. Not the straightest line? That’s okay!
On the left side of the page I want you to write down any negative thought or negative self-talk that is infecting your mind. Once you have “verbally thrown up” on the page with every nasty thought or negative self-talk that has been casting a dark cloud over you, you need to examine each thought one by one.
Why did this negative thought or self-talk come to mind? Think about it. Dig deep and get real with yourself. Face you the truth and what has been holding you back for moving forward and achieving success.
What can you learn from this negative thought or self-talk? There is a lesson to everything that we do.
Now comes the most important part of the exercise. Turn every negative thought or self-talk to a positive thought or self-talk.
Great example from, “Zen Habits: Handbook for Life” by, Leo Babauta. The author talks about negative comments left on his blog how he dealt with negative criticism. He used a similar exercise where he turned the negative into a positive. Here is the example:
Criticism: “You write about the same things over and over and your posts are boring and stale.”
Positive response: “I need to increase the variety of my posts and find new ways of looking at old things.”
Turn every negative thought or self-talk into a positive thought or self-talk. Go through each line and answer the questions above. Why and what can you learn? I know our first instinct is to get offensive and try to defend ourselves. It’s okay, breathe. We are not attacking you; these are your thoughts. There is a reason for your thoughts. This is a time to learn from them.
Take every negative thought or self-talk and write a positive affirmation how you will better your thoughts or self-talk. Another example:
Negative thought: Why did I get my master degree in sport psychology? What a waste. I fell back into the same job I had in school.
Positive: I have been given the tools to be an active listener and effective communicator. I can bring something unique to my position and I get to practice daily the things I learned in school.
If you are not sure. The positive affirmation should be written on the right side of the line.
Okay, done? Good! Here comes the fun part of the exercise. Fold the paper in half with the negative shit on the left side and all that sexy positive stuff on the right side. Now rip that shit in half! Take all the nasty negative stuff and crunch it up into a ball and throw it away. This is a metaphor for getting all that negative energy out of the brain and throwing it away. You are now left with only positivity!
Keep this sheet in a place that you will see daily. That could be on the fridge, mirror in the bathroom, book marker, etc. I just need you to see it daily to remind you of the positive moves you are making and going to make in your life.
Like I said above, negative thoughts and self-talk will enter our mind but how we react to these thoughts and self-talk will determine how we move forward in life. Negativity is normal because we are our own critics. We want the best for ourselves but sometimes we just don’t know how to achieve our best. Use this exercise anytime you have a negative thought or negative self-talk. It is important that you get it out of your mind, on paper, and turned into a positive experience.
I am excited to know how this exercise has helped in your life! Comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share. Remember standing up to our negative thoughts or self-talk can make us stronger and more aware of who we are because we have to step back and really look at what these negative vibes truly mean. Only positivity can come out of learning who we are and where we are headed in life.