Everybody has an inner critic. It’s human nature for us to assess ourselves and how well we’re doing—we hear it as a small, silent voice within us. At times, this little voice helps us and pushes us to become better versions of ourselves. However, other times, our inner critic can be too much.
Under the influence of this little voice, we can end up spiralling into a pit of negativity and helplessness that’s difficult to get out of. This is the effect of negative talk. Here, we will be discussing what negative talk is, how it affects you, and what you can do to overcome it.
What Is Negative Talk?
All of us engage in negative self-talk at some point in our lives. It comes in many forms and varies in intensity. In our mind, it might sound reasonable and justified, even if what we’re saying can be hurtful and excessively critical in reality.
Simply put, negative self-talk is any type of conversation you have with yourself that prevents you from believing in what you can do. This type of talk hinders you from reaching your fullest potential. It stunts your confidence. Negative talk also fosters the feeling of being lost, anxiety towards the future, and procrastination.
How to Identify Negative Talk
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether you’re engaging in negative talk. Here are some signs to help you identify it:
- You focus on the negatives and ignore the positives.
- You automatically think that it’s your fault when something goes wrong.
- You always expect the worst to happen.
- There is no grey area for you—only good and bad.
If you’re experiencing any of these, it’s best to take a step back and assess the situation to help refresh your mindset.
What Negative Talk Does to You
Negative talk robs you of the joy you feel when you accomplish something. It can lead you to develop a pessimistic outlook towards life and to constantly worry about your future. You’re also more likely to engage in procrastination because you don’t believe that you’re capable or good enough to accomplish a certain task. As such, negative talk hinders you from achieving success.
Here are some of the other effects of negative talk:
Sets unrealistic standards for goals
You never believe that your work is good enough. Because of this, you hold yourself to unrealistic standards, and you become preoccupied with achieving perfection. This leads to added stress and dissatisfaction.
Harms your mental well-being
Habitually engaging in negative self-talk affects your overall mental state. You may experience a sense of helplessness—along with feelings of being lost—about your situation.
Strains your relationships
Negative talk can create challenges in your relationships with other people. Even playful banter and constructive criticism can take a toll on you.
How to Overcome Negative Talk
Negative talk is tricky to fight off. However, it can be done by staying focused on the present, recognising the things within your control, and actively concentrating on the positives. A professional life coach may also help guide you on your path to embracing yourself and unlocking your full potential.