I consider myself an active worrier and manage my anxiety with prayer, meditation, and consistent self-care. I don’t remember a time when I haven’t suffered from anxiety, but I can say that it’s better than it used to be.
Like most of us, I have a lot going on in my life. I do a lot of self-talk: “What’s the worst that can happen?” “You can do this!” “Stop second-guessing yourself!”
Self-talk is a natural thing that we all do in our waking hours. It’s that small voice that we certainly have control over, and if used properly can be a useful tool to increase self-confidence and keep negative emotions at bay.
I keep a few sticky notes on my desk that have affirmations written on them. One says, “I am worthy of the life I envision.” I repeat this phrase over and over again. Each time, it sinks deeper into my emotions. Sometimes it brings about tears, when I reach the point of opening myself to the idea that just maybe I really am. There was a time when I choked on “I am worthy,” and the power of my own words disturbed me.
I attended a women’s conference several years ago, and the session was aimed at networking and public speaking. They broke us off into groups for an exercise. I didn’t realize that my negative self-talk had programmed me to question my value in ALL situations. I believed God was a giver of good things, but I didn’t think I deserved them.
The exercise did have an effect. I became more aware of my head talk and began consciously choosing to speak the words that affirmed my strengths and values. Because I wanted more out of life, I could no longer accept the words and thoughts that took me away from the life I wanted to live.
Here’s how we can confront negative self-talk:
Feeling Rejected. Sometimes, we can interpret rejection as a measure of our personal value. Instead, it should be viewed as a sign that something better is coming. If a job you were hoping for didn’t work out, or you didn’t get that opportunity you really wanted, it just means that God is working on something beyond what you could even ask or think. Recognize that rejection only gets its power by the value we give it.
Complaining. If you spend too much time complaining, eventually you will become a victim. When things don’t go your way, which will happen a lot, you can’t think the universe is conspiring against you. To accept a victim mentality is to give away your power. Practicing gratitude will move you into your place of power.
Downplaying Our Strengths. As adults, we rarely give ourselves the encouragement we need. It’s okay to believe in yourself! You are not being arrogant. Healthy self-worth requires that you acknowledge your strengths.
The bottom line: Honor yourself by doing the work. Manage your self-talk by developing a list of 10 positive affirmations. Write them down on post-it notes and place them on your mirror where you can see them every morning. Make a recording of them and listen every day.