Self-talk has a really significant impact on our confidence and self-esteem. It also has a huge impact on our happiness and success.

Every moment of every day whether consciously or not, we all having an inner dialogue running. We all talk to and about ourselves. The thoughts that run through our mind and the things that we say form beliefs, which impact our behaviour and in turn how we show up in the world, and our results.

  • Are you conscious of the things that you say to yourself?

  • Have you thought about what you are thinking?

  • What are you telling yourself over and over?

  • Are you kind to or about yourself?

  • Do you talk to and about yourself like you would a cherished friend?

Talk to yourself with love

One strategy is to say things to yourself like you would someone you love.

It’s not just saying kind things though, The evidence shows that actually using your name and addressing yourself like you would another person, makes a significant difference to your choices and actions.

Talking to yourself in the 3rd person (while it may feel ridiculous at first) may not be so silly after all, quite the contrary in fact. For example: “Ebonie, you are a masterful and passionate coach.”

Our mind is much more likely to believe the statement if it is delivered in this way.

  • What statement would you like to tell yourself?

  • How would you say it, if you were saying it to someone you love?

  • Write it out and repeat it to yourself, looking in the mirror and using your name.

  • How does it feel? (After the initial silly?) What happens if you change your tone? Try it in an assertive voice...

Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan conducted research published last year, which suggests that talking to yourself using ‘I’ can stress you out, whilst referring to yourself by name or as ‘you’ enhances self-distancing.

Self-distancing allows you to review and assess the situation, and then choose to exert self-control when faced with tempting options in the short term – instead of skipping a meal, choosing not attending a yoga class or not taking a business opportunity which would be great for you, if you feel like someone else is telling you that you can, or believing in you, you’re more likely to comply.

Cut the negative chatter

Over the years I’ve had many moments of self-doubt. My internal negative committee come out and say “You can’t do this. You’re not a business person. You’ll never be a real entrepreneur – who are you kidding?” or "You can't talk on this stage, no one wants to hear what you're saying."

Do you have thoughts like this sometimes?

Of course you do, everyone does. Choosing to pull from your 'toolbox' and support yourself is the key to overcoming the fear and becoming more confident.

Natalie Nahai explains that when addressing ourselves by name and self-talking in the third person we give ourselves a level of authority which we will actually listen to, for example: “Ebonie, you can do it. Take that action now.”

Practise both. What difference does it make to you, do they feel different?

How important is the structure of what we say?

I am a big fan of affirmations. I often my affirmation cards to give myself something to ponder on. I use affirmations to reframe negative beliefs and I believe in the value of saying something positive to ourselves. I like to try different styles and combinations rather than just chanting the same thing over and over in order to keep an enquiring mindset.

That said you do need to believe what you're saying in order for it to be effective. For example, standing in front of the mirror repeating to yourself “I am rich” will probably trigger some resistance in your subconscious if it’s not true for you.

Whereas standing in the mirror and saying "This is what a wealthy woman looks like" is authoritative and you might just believe it. (Thanks for that one Denise Duffield-Thomas)

If the statements aren't working for you, trying asking a question instead.

Noah St John PhD, author of 'The book of Afformations' uses afformations instead of affirmations (which in essence are empowering questions like “Why am I so rich?”) which immediately change what your brain focuses on.

If your brain simply won’t accept a statement that you don’t believe, you can use questions instead. Notice for example what happens when you ask “Why is the sky blue?” your mind immediately starts seeking an answer.

Affirmations are a way of asking a question that changes your mindset and gets you thinking differently.

So trying:

“How do you run your businesses and life with such ease and grace?”

will get you thinking differently to

“I run my businesses with ease and grace”

which again is different from

“Ebonie, you can do it, you have all the tools and resources you need to run your businesses and life with ease and grace.”

One of the best ways to think about self talk, and whether the words and the way you are speaking to yourself is helpful or unhelpful is to consider whether you'd talk that way to a friend, or to a child, or to yourself when you were a child?

  • Would a successful, happy person who trusted and believed in themselves talk to themselves the way you do?

  • What do you think they would do differently?

  • How do you think they would talk to themselves when things didn't go to plan, or when things felt uncomfortable or outside of their comfort zone?

Why not have a go at being mindful of your self talk this week. In fact why not have a go with all the different options above? Need some help getting started? Check out our Suspend Self-Sabotage masterclass!


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