As children, we’re taught to have respect, manners, and compassion in regards to others. There isn’t nearly as much emphasis on having respect, manners, and compassion for self.
The majority of society grows up with basic understanding about appropriate interaction with the outside world. It influences how we look at them, talk to them, and think about them. Those same qualities are not being applied to interactions that you have with you.
How do you talk to yourself when you’re all alone?
When there is no one else around, are you respectful and compassionate to you? Is your mind filled with positive self-talk or negative self-talk?
Self-help gurus the world over remind you to surround yourself with positive people who are going to encourage you, build you up, and remind you that you matter. Perhaps you have that in the outside world.
However, are you a positive influence in your own life? Do you love the person you are, flaws and all? You probably forget – as I have – that YOU are listening.
Every word, every thought, every conscious or subconscious action that critiques your mind, your body, your abilities, and your worthiness to attain the things that will make you happy impacts the outcome.
Have you heard the term “self-fulfilling prophecy?” That’s when you have expectations about something in your life or how a situation will turn out, and then you behave (often subconsciously) in ways that guide the end result to the one that you expect.
Ways that Negative Self-Talk Influences Your Daily Life
Let’s talk about how this kind of negativity ruins personal and professional relationships. If you’re the kind of woman or man who questions the people around you, their motives, and if they have some sort of “agenda” that you’re unaware of, then you’re sub-consciously sabotaging the relationships in your life.
You can’t open yourself to the possibilities that exist with others if you’re constantly questioning whether or not they really like you, are lying to you, or have some sort of ulterior motive for being with you.
Often, it’s the questions inside you that influence the conclusion of interactions with others. Negative self-talk about your attractiveness, intelligence, sexuality, and overall nature can make you feel insecure or anxious. Some people take these sad emotions and express them with anger or aggressiveness to hide the way they feel about themselves.
You see this often with those struggling to be “manly.” What is manliness supposed to be anyway? There is a high probability that you’ve met a man like this in your life. Sometimes, we frown and say things like, “He’s compensating for something.”
When I witness men acting overly aggressive in a public setting, it annoys me as it does most of you…but I also feel sorry for them. How horrible it must be to feel the need to pound your chest or make others feel small so you don’t feel so small?
With women, the signs can manifest differently – though I’ve certainly run across strangely confrontational females over the years. I knew a woman when I was in my twenties who was a pathological dater. She was a lovely person with a fantastic brain. Time after time, she dated random men, ended up in bed with them, and then cried at work the next day about how ashamed her actions made her feel.
This isn’t about slut shaming. You have the right to own your sexuality in whatever way works for you! However, if you cry the morning after and it makes you hurt on the inside, then it isn’t about sex at all. It’s your negative self-talk saying that you’re worthless, telling you that you should settle because it’s the best you’re going to get, and even that you “have no choice.”
Ultimately, the answer was rooted in her relationship with her older sister. Her sister was considered the “perfect daughter” while my friend seemed to mess up more often than not. She felt as if she couldn’t do anything right, that she was “less than” her sister. She believed the company we worked for was only keeping her employed there until they found “someone better” to replace her.
Negative self-talk affected her entire life.
Several years later, she met a man who changed the way she thought about herself because he drilled all her amazing qualities into her head until she finally believed them. He was able to get through to the heart of her. I wish the same thing happened with everyone who feels “less.”
Ways We Sabotage Happiness
People get into the habit of knocking themselves down before anyone else has the chance. As if this isn’t bad enough, it invites others to do it anyway.
Thoughts have energy – a signature – that other people notice. As a result, people who employ negative self-talk attract others tuned to such negativity.
I’ve seen this in particular within my own family. My mother is a woman who has a unique beauty, talent, and way of looking at the world. For many decades, her insecurities about her deafness and worsening vision made her feel vulnerable.
As a result, she drew the attention of men who were happy to play on her vulnerabilities. The men were insecure for their own reasons but being with a woman like my mother made them feel powerful and in control.
They were bullies and she has been a victim for most of her life. Every bad relationship or event she’s been through is set on replay in her mind. She can’t let go of the past and it makes it hard for her to expect more from her future.
The concept isn’t farfetched. If you put negative energy out into the world, the vibration that you are “less than” or “unequal” or “unworthy,” you will attract the kind of people who need someone “weaker” to make them feel “strong.”
Every so often, you attract a strong person who wants to help you break out of your cycle of negative self-talk, such as the man my friend married, but unfortunately, those sort of happily ever after’s are rare. Watching the news is enough to prove that negativity has a firm foothold.
The same goes for positive energy. It has a solid frequency that other positive people notice and are drawn toward. It is scientifically proven that people who focus on the good stuff are happier overall, are more active socially, and have a lower divorce rate.
The energy you put out in the world is a simple give and take that is constantly balanced.
Change Negativity into Positivity
If you’ve been a negative person for most of your life – or if traumatic experiences have carved you into one – then it will take time to get rid of those bad habits. Anything worth having is worth working hard to attain and a positive outlook is valuable to every aspect of who you are.
The work is worth it!
Step One – Never Lie to Yourself Again
Like me, you probably consider yourself a pretty honest person. In my dealings with other people, I can count on the fingers of one hand when I’ve been dishonest.
However, I lied to ME every single day for more than twenty years.
Every day, I told myself I was happy enough. I told myself I didn’t want more. I told myself I didn’t mind always being in last place. I told myself that helping others was more important than helping me.
I pretended, I smiled, I encouraged every person in my world – my husbands, children, friends, family, co-workers, and strangers on the street – but I gave myself nothing.
No time, energy, freedom, kindness, respect, compassion, or love. I was “less than” the people I loved and cared for, I was “unworthy” of the risk involved in chasing my own dreams, and I figured there was plenty of time after this or that or another thing for me to devote to the ideas and goals I had for myself.
More lies I pretended to believe because I was afraid. On the outside, I’m a confident and very happy person. On the inside, for most of my lifetime, I lived in fear. Mostly fear of failure such as being a bad mother, a bad wife, or having a friend turn their back because I couldn’t drop everything to help.
Fear is debilitating.
My fear made me lie to myself for more than two decades. It changed the outcome of the relationships I entered into (and ultimately ended), the jobs I took, and the places I lived, and made my dreams while I slept the only outlet for my subconscious to show me the truth. I’ve had an on-going battle with fear since my first memory.
A year ago, for the first time, my fear almost won. On that day, I promised myself never to lie to me again. No longer would I be the “Manager of the Universe” because no one else wanted to bother figuring out solutions to their problems.
Finding the source of the biggest lies you tell yourself is the first step to changing your life for the better. Don’t lie to you about how any of people or things in your life make you feel.
You have the right to be happy. If you don’t make yourself and your dreams a priority, no one else is going to do it either.
Step Two: Give Yourself Permission to Let It Go
When bad things happen, it’s so easy to dwell. Before you know it, years have passed and you’re still focused on an old job, an old relationship, or a traumatic experience.
Why are you hanging on? Staying in that moment makes it impossible for you to live in the present or truly plan for the future.
Remaining stuck in a bad time covers your entire life in residual negative energy slime!
It’s time to let it go. It doesn’t matter who was to blame, it doesn’t matter how it made you feel then, and it doesn’t matter if you’re still angry or hurt. It is your past.
Scream about it, cry it out, break old pottery in your garage, or simply sit down and write it all down in a notebook and then burn the notebook. Burn it, commit to moving on, and then do it.
No more talking about it, no more tears, no more anger because it no longer has a place.
I’m not telling you it will be easy, I’m telling you it will help. I speak from personal experience, having burned journals I wrote as a little girl living in an incredibly abusive environment.
Those negative moments took a piece of you for a month, a year, a decade…maybe longer. Do not give them one more second. You have the power to stop this cycle in your life NOW.
Step Three – Start Fresh
Allow these positive changes to cause a chain reaction. Living in constant negativity is similar to being hungover or sick with a flu. You physically ache, your mental clarity is compromised, and your energy levels are in the toilet.
Once you release past negativity, you’re going to feel as if you’ve lost a horrible, painful weight that sat on your shoulders and the back of your neck. You’ll probably sleep better than you have in a long time and you’ll have more energy.
Seize this chance! Sit down and write out your new plan, the one that is about you and your future – not the negative self-talk you’ve listened to for so long or all the people pushing and shoving for your time.
Take a deep breath and focus in on what you want professionally, romantically, financially, and physically. Then list out the steps you think you’re going to need to take to get there.
I love a nice plan. Some plans happen fairly quickly while others are long-range and may take you years to accomplish. Time doesn’t matter because it belongs to you now.
Invest the time and energy in yourself…there will never be a better gamble – or a more certain one – in the course of your life as YOU.
Shayne McClendon is an author and positivity practitioner. Shayne believes love crosses all boundaries, social castes, races, genders, and belief systems. If you are lucky enough to find soul-deep love, you should fight for it. Life-certified, reader approved.