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Stop Trash-talking Yourself

by Frame of Mind September 12, 2013

“I should have done this better.”

“I’m not good enough.”

“I suck.”

“I’m so lazy.”

“I’m so unproductive.”

“I’m having such a bad day.”

“I can never win.”

“I’m going to fail for sure.”

Is this what your self-talk sounds like?

Certain amounts of self-criticism can help motivate you and move you forward, but self-deprecation to this degree is just plain bullying. Here are some ways to reduce your self-sabotage and ultimately reduce your stress levels and increase your mental wellness and health:

1) Write Out your Insulting Remarks

Insulting ourselves is different than getting insulted by someone else. When we are attacked by others, we have the tendency to get defensive and to focus on our positive attributes. When we criticize ourselves, our defences are down and this makes the self-talk even harsher. Writing down your criticism can help you realize how unproductive it is, and it can spark questions like, “Do I really mean this?” “Is this true?” “Would I say this to a good friend?”

2) Challenge your Thinking

We often jump to conclusions, to the very worst-case scenarios. If we’ve had a bad day at work, had a fight with a loved one, or are just feeling down, our thinking can spin out of control into a downward spiral of self-bashing. Before you criticize yourself, ask yourself these questions: Are these thoughts facts, or are they just interpretations? Am I jumping to conclusions? What are other ways that I can look at the situation?

3) Put things into Perspective

Let’s say you blurt out an insensitive comment to a co-worker during a meeting. On the way home from work, all you can think is “I’m done for. He/ she is going to hate me now. I’m going to get fired.” Wait a second. The situation is not always as bad as you make it out to be. It can help to ask yourself: “Am I over-exaggerating here?” “What’s the very worst thing that could happen?” “How likely is this to happen?”

4) Find a Better Insult

There’s a big difference between saying to yourself “I am an idiot” and saying to yourself “I feel like an idiot.” Pay attention to how you say things to yourself. Telling yourself that you “feel like an idiot” or “sometimes behave like an idiot” gives you the option to behave differently the next time a similar circumstance is encountered.

5) Remember that you are human

Give yourself a break! Stop being your own worst enemy. Instead of endlessly criticizing yourself, start challenging and changing your self-talk.

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