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What is Your Self-Talk Telling You?

The first step in improving our self-talk is to recognize how we talk to ourselves.

Self talkSelf-talk is always with us. In fact, we have 60,000 thoughts (self-talk) a day. A quote from Russ Kyle says it all about self-talk; “Watch what you tell yourself; you’re likely to believe it.”

The first step in improving our self-talk is to recognize how we talk to ourselves. Do you say these things to yourself; It’s too complicated, there’s no way it will work, or no one bothers to communicate with me. Or…do you hear yourself saying these things; I can try to make this work, I’ll give it another try, I’ll tackle it from a different angle.

Negative self-talk doesn’t just stay in our minds, it often leads to actions that we might regret such as saying something that we wish we wouldn’t have said. Recognizing negative self-talk is the first step to understanding our self-talk and how it can affect how we view the world and how the world views us.

Positive self-talk is about showing ourselves self-compassion when we have something new to experience, it’s about reframing how we view things, removing negative bias and approaching a situation from a “can do” attitude.

We can’t control what happens to us however we can control how we respond. Try using a few of these phrases the next time you hear your negative self-talk come out:

  • I can learn from this situation and grow as a person.
  • I might have a ways to go, but I’m proud of myself for trying.
  • It’s a great opportunity to learn something new.

We have an opportunity to improve our self-talk every day because our self-talk is always with us. We  can “change the tape” of what type of self-talk (negative or positive) we share with ourselves!


Marie Hvidsten, Ed.D.
Rural Leadership Specialist/RLND Program Director,
NDSU Extension

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