This morning I read a story on social media from a friend I admire. Her post sums up exactly how I want women to flip their negative self-talk and stop letting fear get in the way of their big dreams.
She decided that she was being her own worst enemy and it was time to be her own champion. Beginning with quitting the negative self-talk.
When you stop flagellating yourself and start encouraging yourself, your world will change, and you’ll quit letting fear get in the way of pursuing your dreams.
Starting today, I want you to choose the words you say to yourself carefully.
I don’t mean that you should ignore any adverse conditions that need addressing. I do want you to love you enough to speak more gently to you. I want you to understand the words you say to yourself have power.
A University of California, Berkeley panel reviewed a set of research studies about the language people use to refer to themselves during introspection and how much it influences how they think, feel, and behave under social stress.
What the studies revealed to the panel is that non-first-person language use leads people to appraise future stressors in less threatening terms. The studies demonstrated that small shifts in the language people use to refer to themselves during introspection consequentially influenced their ability to regulate their thoughts, feelings, and behavior under social stress, even for vulnerable individuals. (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology)
In other words, the use of “I” or “you” in negative self-talk intensifies your negative feelings and causes those feelings to spin out of control. But what’s even more interesting is when you change how you refer to yourself while you are negatively speaking to yourself, you won’t take it in.
For example, when you find yourself saying something like “I look fat in jeans and I am terrible at [XYZ],” change it to “[Your first name] looks fat in jeans and [your first name] is terrible at [XYZ].” Nad POOF, suddenly your negative self-talk sounds ridiculous. You’ll see what’s wrong with how you speak to yourself. Using your name takes the punch out of your words and increases your capacity to control your thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Using your name is a form of psychological distancing that enhances your capacity to exert self-control over your thoughts.
Negative self-talk is a universal human experience. Everyone has an internal discourse that we use on ourselves. But small shifts in the way you talk to yourself can influence your ability to regulate your negative thoughts and diminish the power they have over you.
Which should give you the confidence boost you need to get on with the work you need to do to make your dreams come true.
Iman Woods is an American artist who specializes in pin-up photography. Through a unique and therapeutic process, she’s spent over a decade in perfecting, Iman helps women undo the damage from a negative self-image and unrealistic beauty industry expectations. She helps women embrace their own style of beauty and see themselves in a new light. You can find her on her website, Iman Woods.