Self talk has a really significant impact on our confidence and self esteem. It also has a huge impact on your happiness, and success.
You may not think that you practice self talk. Perhaps when you think of self talk you imagine Beyonce or Victoria Beckham talking to themselves out loud, and it seems like a crazy, far-fetched thing to do. Maybe you haven’t heard of the term at all yet, but each moment of each day whether consciously or not, you have an inner dialogue running, talking to and about yourself.
The thoughts that run through your mind and the things that you say form beliefs, which impact your behaviour and in turn your results.
The thought manifests as the word; The word manifests as the deed; The deed develops into habit; And habit hardens into character; So watch the thought and its ways with care, And let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings… As the shadow follows the body, As we think, so we become.
Have you thought about what you are thinking?
What are you telling yourself over and over?
Do you talk to yourself like you would someone you love? For example:
“Ebonie you are a talented and passionate coach.”
Now you have a go, tell yourself something you would tell someone you love, and use your name.
I really mean it, have a go, and use your name.
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 stupid after all, quite the contrary in fact. 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.
This in turn allows you to review and assess the situation, and choose to exert self-control when faced with tempting options in the short term – from skipping a meal or a yoga class, to not taking a business opportunity which would be great for you, but is outside your comfort zone.
Over the years I’ve had my moments of self doubt, the days when my own personal 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?”
Do you have thoughts like this sometimes?
Natalie Nahai explains how addressing ourselves by name and self talking in the third person; we give ourselves a level of authority which we will listen to, for example:
“Ebonie, you can do it. Take that action now.”
I have been practicing both and have found the research really interesting. The statement above really makes me think, and changes my mind-set in a way that “I can do this” just doesn’t.
How important is the structure of what we say?
I am a big fan of affirmations, I use my wisdom cards every day to give myself something to ponder on, and I believe the key is ‘saying something positive’ to ourselves and keeping an enquiring mind-set.
Just saying an affirmation that you don’t believe is not helpful. For example repeating to yourself “I am rich” will probably leave you more frustrated than before.
Noah St John Ph.D, author of The book of afformations uses creation afformations instead of affirmations (which in essence are empowering questions like “Why am I so rich? ”) and immediately change what your brain focuses on.
The problem is, that with some affirmations your clever brain simply won’t accept statements that you don’t believe. Humans are wired to seek for answers. If I ask you “Why is the grass green?” your mind immediately starts searching for the answer.
Afformations according to St John are a way of asking a question that changes your mind-set and gets you thinking differently.
“How do run your businesses and life with such ease and grace?” will get me 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.”
I’d love you to have a go at trying out these differing forms of self talk and let me know how you get on. I’m fascinated to find out which way works best for you – don’t forget to let me know in the comments below.
photo credit: deathtothestockphoto