Do you have negative self-talk? C’mon, you know what I mean! Some of the things we tell ourselves are not kind.
Let me jog your memory. Here are some negative self-talk examples: “You look so fat,” “No one loves you,” “You’re not pretty,” “You are so stupid,” or “No one cares about you.” It’s that negative self-talk you do daily that no one knows about. Your dirty little secret.
I find it peculiar we would never say these horrible phrases to anyone else (well, I hope not), yet we use negative self-talk with ourselves. That nasty tape running through our heads day in and day out telling us we are nothing. We shouldn’t even exist.
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Why would we want to do this to ourselves? Furthermore, why do we struggle with giving ourselves positive self-talk?
In this post, we are going to talk about the lies we tell ourselves using negative self-talk, and how to defeat them with positive self-talk. Using positive self-talk is a great way to break strongholds and rewire your mind with scripture.
Why Do We Struggle With Negative Self-Talk?
Many women struggle with negative self-talk, yet as a society we love ourselves. In fact, we are probably the most self-absorbed culture to date.
We have self-service for gas and groceries, curriculum on self-esteem, self-help books, and don’t get me started on the “selfie” generation. For goodness sake, we even have a magazine on the stands called Self.
Unfortunately, when it comes to giving ourselves positive self-talk, we go in the opposite direction. We internally bombard ourselves with destructive words, thinking it will make us different in the future.
Last I checked, trashing other people never made them change. So why would trashing ourselves improve our behavior? Terrible logic, in my opinion.
And that is my point…this is not logical at all. It’s emotional.
How Do You Know If You Have Negative Self-Talk?
If you are dealing with negative self-talk, chances are the lies started early in your life and have kept snowballing as you have aged. Moreover, it probably started when you were rejected by others at home, school, on the field, or some other significant time in your life.
Perhaps it was your parents who didn’t have time for you, a sibling who hated you, or the kids at school who said cruel things without thought. I’m guessing it made it worse if what they said was somewhat true about you. In fact, you were a bit pudgy, your sibling didn’t always like you, you weren’t an “A” student, or you weren’t amazing at sports.
Sadly, you felt powerless to change your circumstances so you attached your value or worth to those hurtful words. It became truth to you but not the whole truth…which is actually a lie. Don’t beat yourself up. This happens to a lot of people.
As a result, you carried those mantras into adulthood. And now it is with you all the time. Consequently, you believe you are not loved, not valued, or ever going to be good enough or smart enough to do whatever.
You believed your value and worth were based on what others said about you instead of what God says about you.
But the real truth is only God can define your identity because He is the only one who truly knows ALL of you. And He is the only one who completely loves you.
How Does Negative Self-Talk Affect Us?
If you struggle with negative self-talk, then chances are those old lies are entrenched into your brain (neuropathways) for years now because you gave some misinformed person too much control over your life. Kind of maddening, huh?
To think you actually gave that person who rejected you the right to define who you are as a person when he didn’t know the whole truth.
Perhaps you know this and have already tried a thousand times to change your thinking only to fail miserably every single time.
In fact, you’re sick and tired of trying to change your thought life and failing.
Furthermore, the failure reinforces the lies you already believe. It’s a vicious cycle. I know, I have been there many times.
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How Do I Fix Negative Self-Talk?
So how do we defeat the lies we tell ourselves and change the negative self-talk?
In other words, how do you believe positive self-talk and kick those other people out of your brain? Here is what I have done and it has worked very well. Perhaps it will help you too.
1. Acknowledge you are struggling with negative self-talk and commit to changing your behavior.
Realize you have hard-wired yourself into a self-defeating mantra that has been going on for probably decades. In order to stop it, you have to admit what you are doing doesn’t work. They are truly lies.
Furthermore, you need to commit to changing your behavior. No more wallowing, obsessing, or stroking your pain points. You have grieved long enough.
2. Catch yourself and stop it immediately.
Next time you start thinking about the lies, stop yourself!
If you are like me, it may take a few minutes before you realize what you are doing because it is an old habit. Once you are able to catch yourself, visualize a big, red stop sign in your brain. The red color should trigger the thought, “Danger! Stop it. Now!.”
Once this happens, you have the choice to consciously continue with the lies and self-pity or stop and replace it with positive self-talk. This is where a lot of people get tripped up. They don’t want to do the work and change their thought patterns. Or stop the self-soothing because they are in so much emotional pain.
They would rather keep on wallowing, obsessing, and stroking the lies. You see, it feels good. Really good. So stop it before you sink into a black hole.
3. Choose to change your thoughts.
If you want to stop the lies, you are going to have to change your thoughts. This means paving new neuropathways in your brain that have never been there before. Don’t be fooled, this takes hard work, self-reflection, honesty, and a leap of faith.
You can not go back and change the past, but you can go back and tell yourself the truth about the past. Many of you have been living in lies for so long that you don’t even know the truth. This is where the reprogramming starts.
4. Write down the lies using a negative self-talk worksheet.
Create a negative self-talk worksheet. Write down every lie you have believed on the left side of the page. This is your chance to call the devil out and catch him in his dirty tricks. It’s actually kind of fun to do this.
It’s an opportunity to right all the wrongs in your life. It may take weeks to identify them all. That’s okay. You have been believing them for a lifetime so take your time.
5, Find a scripture to combat each lie with the truth.
On the right side of your negative self-talk worksheet, write down scripture to combat each lie. Then write the scriptures down on notecards. Read the truth (scripture) every day, several times a day, out loud if possible. Using these daily affirmations of positive self-talk will rewire your brain.
Here is an example of my notecards:
You are creating new neuropathways in your brain and abandoning the old thought patterns you used to have. This is how you stop negative self-talk in your head. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t believe it at first. It’s totally normal. It took me a few months to start believing these positive self-talk affirmations.
If you are a Christian and you are struggling with what God says about you, stand on the Word of God as Truth. This is your plumb line. That’s enough for now.
Trust that you are breaking strongholds in your life when you start speaking verses to yourself. You can even pray these verses and insert your name.
This next phase takes great faith. Simply believe God.
It is time to embrace the truth about who you are in Christ and start acting on it using positive self-talk. Believe you are loved, you are precious in God’s sight, He died for you or whatever else you need to internalize as the truth.
Along with believing the truth comes deep introspection. Repentance.
It may mean you need to make amends for how you acted toward others when you believed those lies. Lies are the root of sin. Abuse, addiction, lust, infidelity, greed, etc. may have manifested itself because of your belief system.
More than anything it means forgiveness. You may need to forgive others, God, and yourself. This is called sweeping your side of the street. Don’t skip this as it is part of the healing process.
John 8:32 NIV
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Lauren Daigle talks about believing God in this music video called “You Say.” Listen to the words.
Sliding Back into Negative Self-Talk
In closing, there are days when you are going to want to slide back into believing the lies. It especially rears its ugly head when you are tired, upset with others, or feeling angry at yourself or God.
You may jump into the lies and roll in the mud again. Perhaps you will be tempted to self-sabotage even though you know the truth.
Afterward, the guilt hits.
When this happens, go back to positive self-talk using scripture. And then get back up and keep fighting. You may need an accountability partner to help you stay out of the lies. Or find a counselor if you are stuck.
My prayer is you find wholeness and start believing the positive self-talk with scripture.
God wants you to give complete control to Him. Let Him define your identity instead of some person who doesn’t know who you really are as a child of God. Believe God’s word and act on it as truth in your life.
Do You Have Family Problems? There is Help!
Are you experiencing family problems or even estranged? Are you feeling shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store.
This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement from my Christian family, but it also gives solid tips to help you with your family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.
Creating Family Memories Book
Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids. It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.
Join Christian Family Living Facebook Group
Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to share their experiences and get helpful tools to navigate the Christian life. We love to laugh, cry, and encourage each other to live out our faith one day at a time.