Self-talk is another way to describe our inner thoughts that connect in turn to our feelings and outwardly affect our behaviours. This is the little thoughts or sentences that run through our head, and at times we consciously tap into. From helpful motivating self-talk such as "You got this" to less-helpful inner- statements such as "Let's just give up" or " you are hopeless".
It's amazing how little attention we pay to "self-talk" and often, how unequipped and unprepared we are to hear, collaborate and nurture these, as adults, into something useful, understood and in-control.
You are probably familiar with the picture below, depicting a devil and an angel. Dividing "self-talk" into good and bad. The truth is that often it can be the negative self-talk that appears to shout the loudest, be the most persistent and even express some fairly stubborn traits in being heard. Indeed you may be seeking out coaching to feel more positive so that you can be more positive and yet the focus of you're attention currently is fixated on a much unwanted phrase like "i don't want to fail" or " I am never going to lose weight" or "I don't deserve this".
Of course, it's perfectly natural that you would grow to "hate" this voice, would be "frustrated" with the belief you hold. ... Have you ever thought though where that hate and frustration is getting directed? .... often it's going right back in, fuelling the source and growing the voice louder and louder... until that self-talk is a carefree bully... an end of level boss!
From here, a fight ensues (with yourself) to conquer it (again yourself).... in an attempt to silence it, the battle ensues for silence and resolve.... perhaps one of you wins. .....perhaps one of you gets hurt.
Working with "self-talk" in a more positive light, I always remind myself that our behaviours/thoughts/feelings have the best intentions at heart, it's just sometimes things have got a little awry. It's amazing some the of the strategies we learn though ourselves under the guise that it makes us safe or stops us from doing stuff that may be "hard", "new", "different" or even "similar to an event that didn't work so well last time. We are clever machines, interweaving strategies of thoughts into a chemical reaction to get an outcome we believe is right...so often though..... it's preventing us getting the thing we want.
Recently I have been exploring some new angles for my business, this process of new and unfamiliar territory can feature a few old self-talk habits. The what if's, the but's the how's and why's. These self-talk statements used to exhaust me, hinder progress and often lead to procrastination.... Now they are a loyal and useful democracy all who i know I can learn from and be curious of, inviting them in rather than squashing them down until they explode in my head from the pressure of long-term subduing!
Firstly I acknowledge them.
Secondly I thank them for being there?
Thirdly I ask myself, what is your best intention with these thoughts?
Next I apply the learning from their intentions so I can take informed action.
I invite a mutual allies in to my thoughts, like a statement reminding myself " things are ok" or "You believe in yourself"... perhaps re framing to "this is new" or " this needs some practice"
I have learned to love and invest kindness in these harsher thoughts and self-talk, this came with time and it's something you can have too. Coaching can guide you to techniques and patterns of thought that create a beautiful dance... a gentle waltz between your "self-talk gurus.... rather than a ferocious Paso Doble. Soon the negative voices are subdued, hibernating while the helpful self-belief takes centre stage.... you will find those voices that shout learn to only do so when you really need to listen, learn and love.