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These 4 Simple Words Will Banish Your Negative Self-Talk FOREVER

Chances are you have experienced a voice inside your head bashing and questioning your abilities. This is the definition of negative self-talk. Meditation teachers, lawyers, yogis, writers, and mindfulness experts – no one is immune to negative self-talk.

Negative self-talk is the inner dialogue that belittles, chastises, and criticizes you, your thoughts, and your actions. This dialogue reduces your self-confidence, limits the positive steps you take, and thaws your potential.

Here are some examples of insidious self-talk:

“I can’t do anything right. I am a failure.”
“I will never succeed.”
“I am not worthy of…”

With statements like these, it is no surprise that negative self-talk can damage your self-esteem and paralyze you, leaving you feeling stuck and unmotivated. If allowed to fester, it can cripple you and create a path for negativity to enter other areas of your life.

Negative self-talk reduces your self-confidence, limits the positive steps you take, and thaws your potential.

It’s like having a friend who constantly complains or speaks poorly of others. After a while, it can be draining – but if you spend enough time with them, you might find yourself adding to the discussion and sharing the misery.

Interestingly enough, self-talk is a natural extension of thoughts. Your mind processes thousands of environmental stimuli, which leads to analysis, thought, and inner dialogue. We then assign a judgement that determines if it’s positive or negative.

The key to managing negative self-talk is through awareness and identifying the pain triggers to stop them in their tracks.

These Are the Causes of Negative Thinking:

Belief, environment, and habit are the components that produce repeated negative chatter. They interlock like building blocks clicking into each other to form a majestic structure.

These elements interconnect as follows:

Your environment influences your beliefs. Consistent, unwavering belief impacts your efforts, behavior, and decision-making. And, repeated actions form binding habits.

Attention to your beliefs, habits and environment is essential if you want to minimize negative chatter. It is impossible to change behavior if you are not aware of it.

Repeated actions form binding habits.

In a perfect world, You, the Master-Builder, would use these three uncorrupted building blocks to create a sanctuary (which is the ideal space for positivity to thrive). However, the world that many of us navigate is far from perfect, which taints our beliefs, environment, and habits with negativity.

There Are 3 Main Elements That Impact Our Self-Talk:

Let’s take a more in-depth look at each of these elements.

1. Belief

The number one source of negative self-talk is cynical beliefs. Your negative ideas impact your disposition and become a negative filter.

They also influence your internal environment. If your beliefs are overwhelmingly negative, your inner dialogue will follow suit.

David D. Burns, author of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy is credited for coining common names for the thought distortions that cause depression.

While negative thinking is not as severe or sneaky as depression, the sources are eerily similar.

Burns identifies these 13 thought distortions:


  • Filtering
  • Polarized thinking
  • Overgeneralization
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Control fallacies
  • Fallacy of fairness
  • Blaming
  • Shoulds
  • Emotional reasoning
  • Fallacy of change
  • Global labeling
  • Always being right
  • Heaven’s Reward Fallacy


Notice a pattern? Each distortion is rooted in belief.

Burns explains that the research he’s conducted shows that any thoughts resulting in emotional turmoil typically “contain gross distortions.” These thoughts seem valid when in fact they are irrational (or simply wrong), and this distorted perspective is what causes you to suffer.

The key to managing negative self-talk is through awareness and identifying the pain triggers to stop them in their tracks.

Burns goes on to explain how our negative thoughts tend to spiral. He uses the example of applying for a new job. After a day passes without receiving a reply, your mind starts jumping to conclusions and spiraling down the rabbit hole of negativity.

You begin to believe you didn’t get the job, that you’re not qualified or worthy of it. Then your mind goes to the furthest extreme: you are a failure.

Negative, warped thinking is easy to see in this example, but not so much in our personal lives.

If you don’t tame it, the mind can be a dicey character. Taming your mind becomes more difficult once you get into the habit of entertaining negative beliefs.

But have no fear, because it is possible to break all habits – even this one. Which leads us to #2.

2. Habit

Continually thinking negative is nothing more than a thought pattern that remains unchecked.

When flawed inner discourse roams free without challenge or repercussion, it grows and intensifies. This negative self-talk is self-perpetuating. The more you think in this vein, the more defeatist thoughts will continue to pop up.

Most people never look at their negative inner dialogue as a habit. But putting it in this framework positions it in a way that can stimulate change.

Continually thinking negative is nothing more than a thought pattern that remains unchecked.

A 2006 Duke University study examining the difficulty in breaking habits found that 45% of behavior is habitual.

Duke found that building a habit actually changes the brain. Wow! Anything capable of changing the landscape of the brain is worth your attention.

No wonder it is so difficult to rise above negative thoughts. But while it may be hard, any habit can be changed.

In the book The Coaching Habit, author Michael Bungay Stanier lays out five essential elements to build a new habit: a reason, understanding your trigger, creating healthy micro-habits, effective practice, and a plan of action.

3. Environment

Environments plagued with violence, chaos, anger and fear are fertile grounds for creating limiting and negative self-talk.

If you are in a situation where you often receive disempowering statements (from an abusive partner, parent or boss, for example), chances are you will repeat similar statements to yourself.

A guru shared the following example with a student to demonstrate the powerful influence of environments: If you have a bag of apples, and one of the apples goes bad, that bad apple is capable of prematurely spoiling the other apples.

The first key to combating negative self-talk is to minimize or eliminate the time you spend in harmful environments.

What separates someone who has mastery over their self-talk is that they actively create an internal and external environment for positivity to flourish. They are hyper-aware of their emotions, thoughts, and actions, and will protect them at all cost.

This is the insight the Guru attempted to share with the student.

With practice and discipline, you can also gain mastery over your thoughts.

How to Stop Negative Self Talk In Its Tracks (An Easy Path to Victory)

There is a little trick you can use to stop negative self-talk before it plants roots in your psyche and begins to wreak havoc on your life. Use four simple words. When you hear yourself saying phrases like, “I can’t” and “I am not worthy,” respond with:


These four words challenge and dissipate negative self-talk.

Simple? Yes. But it works.

When you say these words to yourself, or out loud, you discredit the negative thought.

Negative self-talk is good at hurling accusations, but it is a terrible lawyer. When forced to build a case to support its prosecution, the statements can’t hold up. The comments of your saboteur are only distortions (remember Burn’s list from #1?).

Practice These 15 Encouraging Mantras to Boost Positive Self-Talk

However, the subconscious mind absorbs these statements as truths, placing harmful negative deposits in your psyche that cause issues.

The affirmation is not powerful enough to shatter these deposits on its own. You must state this phrase with emotional “oomph.” Emotional assertiveness moves energy.

Your emotion must match or supersede the intensity of the negative thought to nullify its effects.

Emotional “oomph” is the explosiveness that adds power and momentum behind your “I DON’T BELIEVE YOU” statement.

Treat your self-inflicting negative statements like you would a stranger who randomly spits profanity at you. They don’t know anything about you. Why should you believe them or pay any attention to what they say?

Negative self-talk is good at hurling accusations, but it is a terrible lawyer.

Through your awareness of the negative statement, you create space between you and the false statement. Once you separate yourself from the idea, it is easier to see the distortion in your thinking.

You can use a variation of these words to get the same effect. For example:


Use words that resonate with you.

And here’s another secret.

If you want to magnify your results after declaring “I DON’T BELIEVE YOU,” simply come up with a positive statement that can replace the original negative thought. This is called displacement.

For example, you can replace, “I am not smart enough to get that job” with “I know enough now to add value and I can fill in the gaps along the way. I’ve got this!”

The full sequence would look something like this:

Negative thought: “You will never succeed.”
Your Response: “I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!”
New Thought: “I am successful in many areas of my life. Success is already present in my life.”

Now, not only have you challenged your belief, but you have given your consciousness something more positive to chew on.

If you ever cared for a child, then you are familiar with the displacement principle. For example, the child has turned some potentially dangerous object into a toy. Of course you take it away from them, but not without a fight. They see fun, not danger. They see a misguided big person trying to take their joy-creator away from them.

However, if you replace the item with a real toy, there is a good chance you two will both walk away happy. It’s a win-win.

Emotional assertiveness moves energy.

This is exactly what you want to do with your mind. Take away the negative thought and turn its attention to a more positive one.

If you don’t replace that old thought with something new and positive, it will take up residence in your consciousness. Your positive affirmation – the replacement thought – gives your mind a new toy to play with and explore.

Brain Hacking and Self-Talk: The Bottom Line

You can overcome negative self-talk by looking it in the face, discrediting its validity, and then replacing the statement with one that is more positive, supportive, and empowering.

With practice, you will notice a reduction in negative self-talk, an improved disposition, and confidence to move towards your life dreams.

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wonderful comments!

Words Create Your Reality - That's Why You Need to Cut These 8 Words From Your Vocab ASAP
Our self-talk creates our reality and the power of words is strong. Cut these 8 words from your vocab for a positive, successful life.
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Nyaima Smith-Taylor

Personal development writer and coach Nyaima Smith-Taylor is a trusted advisor to high-performing, entrepreneurial, and badass women. She helps them nurture their inner perfection so they can crush their goals and achieve their biggest visions. How congruent is your outer life with your inner world? Take her short quiz to find out.

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