[Negative self-talk] We all have it and here’s how to avoid it

We all have that inner voice. I call it self-talk.

Sometimes it talks to us in nice ways and sometimes it says things we just don’t like.

When positive, it motivates us and can help us feel empowered, confident and invincible.

But when negative, that self-talk is demoralizing, limiting and self-defeating which further breeds imposter syndrome and disengagement.

This is the inner head trash we have to be aware of, and in my opinion, realize we have the power to control.

We all have inner head trash … even me, and I’m a motivational speaker.

When I was twelve years old, I was diagnosed with depression and an eating disorder. This was in the 80’s and doctors didn’t really know how to treat me. However, if it weren’t for professional counseling and my family surrounding me with love and support, I would have died, and I nearly did.

I don’t remember much back then because it was a very dark time for me both subconsciously and consciously – my mind shut down.

But I do remember one specific counseling session where my counselor asked, “Kevin, what would you do if a song came on the radio you didn’t like?”

“Change the station?” I replied.

She asked, “So if you hear something on the radio you don’t like, you change the station? What if you could do the same thing with the voice you listen to?”

That moment became my turning point. I slowly – and very slowly – became not only more aware of the stations I was mentally listening to, but more importantly, I became aware when I needed to “change the station” to something more positive.

My counselor helped me to discover that just because I had a negative inner voice at times – that negative self talk – it didn’t mean I had to agree with it.

It wasn’t easy, but it became a game to constantly push negative thoughts out of my head when they arrived. I started reading books on positivity. I remember reading Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – twice in 10th grade! I became a motivational quote junky, and I still have those pads of paper.

When I was a senior in high school, I remember a final “goodbye” session with my counselor as I was going off to college and I knew I probably would never see her again. During our final session I told her, “Someday I’m going to figure out a way to help others who battle what I battled through. I want to make sure they don’t feel alone.”

I had no intention of writing books back then or becoming a speaker. In fact, I hated writing and hated public speaking … 20+ years later now I’ve made a career out of doing both. Interesting how life transforms us and creates opportunity when we have a desire to help others isn’t it?

So here’s what I’ve discovered over the years … our thinking is the problem until we discover how to make it the solution.

Often times, unfortunately, what holds us back is how we think. We limit ourselves without even realizing it. We allow imposter syndrome to sink in and we convince ourselves we’re not good enough, or we convince ourselves we can’t do something because of standards or status quo that someone else has set.

I still struggle with this sometimes … but it’s during these times I am aware that I have the power to control that mental radio station. I have the power to focus on a different station that I DO like and one that I WANT to listen to. This is one of the reasons I start most presentations with the song, “Don’t Stop Believin’!”  (watch 0:15 – 0:30 of my demo video with 500 hands waving in the air and singing along at a 9:00am conference keynote!)

Regardless of the industry or profession you work in, or desire to work in, you have to be self-motivated … and self-motivation has business results.

Occasionally you will have inner self-talk, or head trash, that you just don’t like and expect it so you are not surprised. But remember, you have the power to change that station when you’re aware of what station you’re listening to.

And just because you have that inside voice, it doesn’t mean you have to agree with it.

Thanks for reading … share this with someone who needs it.

~  Kevin

P.S.  Below are a few additional great reads on this topic. And if you know someone battling depression or any mental illness, please help them find professional counseling and let them know they are not alone. You can download a free copy of my book, “Think Differently” on my website (www.KevinCSnyder.com) where I dedicate an entire chapter about my depression recovery, titled “Turning Point.”

Forbes article [READ]
Why Internal Dialogue Matters

Psychology Today [READ]
Silencing Your Inner Critic

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