Self Talk is the daily conversation you have with yourself that goes on in your head. Self Talk is a normal regular occurrence, and I’m not referring to the psychotic phenomenon of hearing voices.
Self Talk are thoughts you have when you don’t really notice that you are having thoughts, unless someone like a psychologist has taught you how to recognise them as Self Talk. Self Talk is like having background music playing at a dinner party. Sometimes you hear the music playing, but mostly you don’t hear it because you’re focused on your friends, the delicious food, and enthralling dinner table discussion. You know the music is still playing in the background, but your main focus is elsewhere.
Damage to oneself occurs when you notice and believe Negative Self Talk. And by damage I’m referring to self sabotage, inviting depression, and encouraging anxiety, and many more human conditions that affected by the quality and quantity of our thoughts. You risk both mental and emotional decline, plus eventual physical decline, if you believe Negative Self Talk long enough, and allow it to infect your daily choices and behaviours.
Unless you’ve had specific training during therapy on how to recognise and manage self talk, you are probably at the mercy of your Negative Self Talk.
Next time you are walking to work or doing the dishes, mentally pause and try to recall what you were just thinking. Catch yourself in the moment and replay your most recent thoughts. Go deeper than the most easily accessible thoughts of things like, what to eat for dinner, or should you call your friend tonight? Self Talk are usually the more judgemental type of comments or negative labels you give yourself. For example, when we tell ourselves we are no good, not worthy of that upcoming job promotion, or too fat to wear that new bathing suit. What do you call yourself when you make a mistake? Idiot? Loser? Retard?
Or try recalling the last time you compared yourself to someone else. For example, while waiting for a job interview in a corridor with other interviewees, you might say in your head: “Damn – I should have polished my shoes! You are such a loser – when will you ever learn to get organised!!” Or Saturday night at your local bar when you are sizing up your competition: “Geez she’s pretty. Her hair’s so shiny! Mine’s so dull and flat. I’m never gonna look that pretty with hair like this!”
Negative Self Talk is like that catchy song that gets stuck in the back of your mind. You end up singing all day long without even realising. Sing long enough and eventually YOU become the tune.