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Self Love Series: 5 Negative Self-Talk Patterns

by Evelyn on April 26, 2011

Your inner talk is likely to be mostly negative if you have little self love or have worthiness issues. Negative self-talk is limiting, crippling and harmful. Your words carry the toxic energies of fear, shame, criticism, judgment, shame, fear, blame and doubt. As a result, you feel depressed, depleted and dispirited.

Positive Self Talk
(From My Art journal: Self Talk Painting made in 2010)

Awareness is key. What you can do is to become aware about what you are or have been saying to the self. It requires you to review your own internal dialogue.

However, as you go through this process, avoid adding another round of criticism. The last thing you want is to direct more negative energy inwards. The idea behind creating awareness is to bring about change, healing and transformation.

After conducting interviews and doing some research, I discovered that there are 5 main negative self-talk patterns. Check to see which make up your inner dialogue:

Negative Self-Talk Pattern #1: Self-Criticism
I was so naïve to think that I can approach a girl or boy like her.
I am way too stupid.
I am a slow learner.
I just cannot do it.
What was I thinking? I will never be accepted for who I am.
It’s not as if I have stellar looks. Who would take notice of me?
What made me say that? I feel as if I can now die a thousand deaths for looking like a fool.

Self-criticism means you “attack” yourself with harsh words. Self-criticism is synonymous with self judgment. You judge yourself poorly. You are the judge and the accused – rolled into one.

With chronic self-criticism, you have a debilitating tendency to put yourself down. You are your own worst enemy. Your thoughts are poison, eroding any love energy that you can otherwise embrace yourself with. When you are saying all these mean things about yourself, you invariably find it difficult to be more self-loving.

Your greatest skill? You have an innate ability to shred the self to pieces. Make the pieces a thousand…hold on…a million of them!

Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.
- Frank Howard Clark

Negative Self-Talk Pattern #2: Self-Rejection
I am too fat.
I am too thin.
My boobs are too big.
My boobs are too small.
I have a horrible looking nose.
I am nothing special and there is nothing lovable about me.
I am not capable.
I am born unlucky.
I have no gifts.

Self-rejection happens when you are unable to accept yourself fully and unconditionally. And so you diminish your own value. You feel unworthy.

By devaluing the self, it is possible that you look up to others to make up for the qualities that you fall short in. You idolize others with blind adulation. However, it can cause you to give your power away. Your hero-worship of others masks the derogatory remarks that you have been saying to yourself.

An inner dialogue with words like the ones stated here can prompt a person with extreme self-rejection issues to suicide. Self-rejection can also lead to harmful illnesses such as anorexia or addictive behavior such as drinking.

Our entire life….consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are.
Jean Anouilh

Negative Self-Talk Pattern #3: Self-Doubt
I doubt that I can do it.
I am just too old to learn at my age.
I have always been a slow learner.
I am not intelligent enough.
I don’t trust that I can make my own decisions.

Self-doubt happens when you have little belief in the self. You are lacking in trust. You feel terribly insecure.

Overcome with anxiety, you become paralyzed into inaction. You also doubt in your ability to receive resources, support and encouragement by others or the universe. Because of doubt, you lose much inner power.

“Our doubts are traitors and makes us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
– William Shakespeare

Negative Self-Talk Pattern #4: Self-Pity
Poor me! I am ill fated.
Why does this always happen to me?
Why are others so much luckier than I am?
There is no way I can make it as I am born poor, stupid and ugly.

With self-pity, you make yourself out as the victim. You go over your “poor me” like a mantra. You justify your beliefs by pointing blame at external circumstances. Since they are beyond your control, you claim to have a “right” to feel and believe this way.

Self-pity invariably leads you to making comparison about how you are doing against others. You find that you can never measure up because you are never good enough. Even a cat does a better job in self loving than you do!

Wallowing in denial, defeat and grief, you believe that you are unable to take charge. The reality is that you have chosen not to. You are unable to see that you have the choice to create a different life for the self.

As much as your friends would like to practice compassion, they eventually give up on trying to help you shift your victim mentality. You have become too addicted to your stories to consider otherwise.

“Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world. ”
– Helen Keller

Negative Self-Talk Pattern #5: Self-Blame
It is all my fault for things turning out this way.
Why was I ever born? I never do things right.
Why am I such a lousy mother? I cannot even teach my children well.
I suck!
I blame myself for causing the rape, trauma or abuse.

With self-blame, you believe that you are wholly responsible for everything that has gone wrong. It does not matter if there are factors beyond your control. Instead of pointing your fingers at others, you point them at yourself.

Self-blame is like taking a ton of bricks and hurling them all at yourself. It can also be described as crushing yourself with heavy weights on your back and shoulders. You feel weighed down. As such, you are unable to perceive things with better perspective and greater clarity.

“Blame is just a lazy person’s way of making sense of chaos.”
- Doug Coupland


Final Thoughts With Negative Self-Talk

Roman rhetorican and writer, Marcus Annaeus Senaca, said, “what you think about yourself is much more important than what others think of you”.

It is true.

If you think poorly of yourself, how can you expect others to treat you better than what you would give the self?

Your Self Talk

Notice any speech patterns that are similar to your inner dialogue?
Which negative self-talk pattern do you most identify with?
Any other words, thoughts or feelings that you would like to add?

Self Love Secrets Update

self love secrets collection Eliminate negative self-talk by loving yourself. Click over to purchase a copy of Self-Love Secrets - available as a download by now!

Abundance always,

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela Artemis April 27, 2011 at 12:15 am

Evelyn,
This is a brilliant post! Why do we tear ourselves to shreds? Where did we learn this? I think this is a much needed article. I’m guilty of it too, although much less than when I was younger. Now I bombard myself with positive messages whenever the old voices start to bubble up!

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Evelyn Reply:

Hi Angela,

It’s great that you have enjoyed this post. What can I say? It goes to show that we are our own worst enemies. We would lend unfailing support to others but have few words of encouragement for ourselves. Sounds familiar?

I do the same too. I keep myself inspired as much as I can. Being in the flow helps keep the little voices of criticism away!

With love,
Evelyn

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Robin Easton April 27, 2011 at 12:47 am

Dear Evelyn,

I love this. It made me think of something I do when I start negative talk, which blessedly I don’t do much these days. But… If we can think of ourselves as “god” (and I use the word loosely, we can use any word we like…), or as one of “god’s” creations, then we can ask, “Who am I to talk so poorly of something “god” created?” Or better yet, if we can see that we ARE “god”, each and everyone of us, then we can ask, “Who am I to desecrate ‘god’?”

Thank you for this.
It’s a beautiful and supportive post.
Hugs,
Robin :)

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Evelyn Reply:

Hello Robin,

Thanks for sharing your tip on “God”. I think about being one of Source. I believe that it’s essentially the same, whether we call it “God” or “Source”, only that it is internal. It becomes easier to lovingly embrace ourselves from the higher perspective of “God” or “Source” consciousness.

It’s great that you’ve now turned your previously negative self-talk into a more positive one :-)

With love,
Evelyn

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Sara April 27, 2011 at 3:35 am

Evelyn,

This is a great post and an important one for me. I have struggled with negative self-talk for many years, but I’ve learned some things to do that prevent or even stop negative talk. Some of ways, I avoid it are:

– making sure I get enough rest (when I’m tired, I much more likely to experience self doubt.
– taking breaks during my day so I allow for my mind to relax
– having “nature” breaks, but in the real sense of the term:~), meaning taking time to sit outside and just watch nature. This is my favorite way to get back into the present. It’s hard to be in the present and talk negatively:~)
– being authentic about what I’m doing or writing. I notice this when visiting a lot. If I start feeling like the site has more visitors or the person’s a better writer, etc., I know it’s time to stop and go sit outside in my own timeout:~)

These are just a few ideas that work for me. When I do these things, it’s much harder for negative talk to disrupt me.

I appreciate this post. It helped me to think about what I do to deal with this nasty little monster in my head:~)

[Reply]

Evelyn Reply:

Hello Sara,

Thank you for sharing your wonderful tips! Hey…I believe that these are the same ones which have helped me too :-)

I enjoy my nature breaks a lot. I also allocate a fair amount of regular time to self study, meditation, doing art, being with my children and so on. I believe this is essential time because allocating time away helps me to function as a whole.

Sometimes I wonder if all of us are a little crazy. I can see that you and other people I know are so lovable. Yet, it amazes me to find out that many has got a little monster in their heads. And then, I look at myself. Aha! I have a little monster in mine too!

With love,
Evelyn

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Sara April 27, 2011 at 3:35 am

Evelyn,

Oops…I forgot. I love your drawing. It’s wonderful:~)

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Evelyn Reply:

Thank you, Sara, for being so sweet to make another comment! Glad that you’ve enjoyed it!

With love,
Evelyn

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John Sherry April 27, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Amazingly spot on about our less than supportive self-talk Evelyn. I do firmly believe that our fiercest critic and harshest voice will always be ourselves. So making friends with everything we are from body to spirit, efforts to actions, means we will have a lifelong ally in our corner and life we take on a whole better and brighter feel. The best friend we ever need is one we call ‘me!’

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Evelyn Reply:

Hello John,

Thumbs up to the tip on making ourselves our own best friend :-) It will be awesome if more of us can say: I love me!

With love,
Evelyn

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Lance April 28, 2011 at 4:47 am

Evelyn,
That you’ve broken down these negative self-talk patterns, it makes it so easy to look (well, as long as we can look honestly) (grin) and see just where we might be (or have been in the past).

Good, good stuff…

And, it’s good to be here in this space today…

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Evelyn Reply:

Hello Lance,

My feel is that we probably have more than one or two patterns, or maybe even all. The idea of breaking them down is to shine light at each individual one, to aid in creating awareness.

Thank you for your lovely comments,
Evelyn

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Dandy April 28, 2011 at 6:50 am

Wow Evelyn,
This series is incrediable. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this post. I had to read through it twice to make sure I digested it all. I can relate to everything here. The inner critic is someone who has been screaming at me for years. It’s taken alot to listen to her, respect what she has to say, and then tell her to pipe down and let me live my life. I know how it feels to be debilitized by the inner critic. But change is so possible. We are more than the ugly criticism. Thanks soooooo much Eveyln!!!!!!!!!!

[Reply]

Evelyn Reply:

Hello Dandy,

I’m glad that you’re finding the series helpful. Read also what I said to Lance.

It’s important to do release work for the specific emotion that weighs us down. One common finding I discovered is that clients who have suppressed their emotions for far too long find it difficult to reach inside themselves to articulate their exact feelings. So I would help with tuning in to help in the articulation.

I also cross checked with those who had no difficulty in telling me what their inner script was like. I believe that all of us have said some of the above or similar sentences to ourselves at one point or another. You are really not alone.

I know. I had a hard fight with my inner critic. We fought like a thousand battles. In the end, I had to find a wiser way in dealing with her ha!

Thank you for sharing. Indeed, change is possible. You are living proof that it is :-)

With love,
Evelyn

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The Vizier April 28, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Hi Evelyn,

Negative self-talk can be a major problem that enforces our sense of worthlessness in a vicious cycle if we are not aware of it. I would say that I used to struggle with self-criticism and self-doubt most of all. These forms of negative self-talk only made me more sensitive and vulnerable to external criticism. Instead of embracing and learning from failure, I remained in my comfort zone to avoid criticism and ridicule. In the larger scheme of things, this approach failed miserably because I did not gain the experience needed to handle life.

It was only when I took action to overcome my negative self-talk that my life took a turn for the better. Of the steps I took it was largely the change in my perception of failure as lessons that I needed to learn to succeed that made all the difference.

Thank you for sharing this lovely article! :)

Irving the Vizier

[Reply]

Evelyn Reply:

Hello Irving,

I know how it feels like to play small. We cannot overcome the critical voices in our head to press ahead. It was when I got sick and tired of hearing them that I started taking action!

Your tip about changing perception is an important one. There is no failure, only feedback!

With love,
Evelyn

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Todd | ChannelingMyself April 29, 2011 at 1:11 am

Great post, thanks for putting together the lists. I know I have a couple of items to work on.

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Joseph Ch'ng April 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Evelyn,

Thank you for a wonderful post. This is my first time here and I really enjoyed.

I have been self-critical and self-rejecting for a period too long. I used to be the kind of person who set out a huge list of to-do items for every day. As we know, having 24 hours a day doesn’t mean 24 productive hours a day. When I do not accomplish enough for 1 day (according to my own standard), I beat myself up.

There have been times when I could not allow myself to relax and enjoy because I think I have not done enough. And the thing is, even when I stopped myself from enjoying, I wasn’t being productive either.

Caused me lots of inner conflict.

My reality shifted after I read You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. I learned that to truly love myself, I must approve of myself, and never ever criticize myself.

I learn to appreciate the present. I learn to accept that I don’t have to maximize every possible efficiency. They are all work in progress. And today, I am more happy with where I am now.

Let me see if I can write a good post for your report.

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SophieAna May 7, 2011 at 5:36 am

Negative self-talk is so huge for everyone.. Self-rejection is probably my specialty! I admire your strength to be better than those pathetic thoughts. But I am totally working on it! One of my favorite quotes is “Changes that last take time” and I realize that, completely. I’m improving on enjoying myself in the moment and reflecting on how much progress I have made. I am also mastering living in the moment and not thinking so much into the future or what happens next that I am over my head in anxiety. Lets all keep moving forward and stick to it as well!
Peace, Love,
S. Ana :P

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J May 17, 2011 at 4:32 am

hi, first time reader here. as i was reading this i thought jeez, this sound(s)ed like me. It’s so hard to break the cycle. there were (are) some days (months) i was all of those rolled up into one nasty negative ball. i couldn’t do this, couldn’t do that, i’m not good enough, not smart enough, etc. and i had friends who gave up on trying to make me cheer up from all that self-pity. it’s so easy to start thinking like this and it effects every aspect of life. one bad day or one bad thing would set me off into the spin all over again. i’m a lot better now compared to “before”, but i think back to what almost happened and…well, let’s not go there. i’m happier now and doubt myself less. not quite where i want to be, but i’ll get there. i’m glad i found your blog – i think it will be a big inspiration.
cheers,

SmilesmoreFrownsless

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Akos Fintor December 17, 2011 at 5:53 am

Hey Evelyn,

That’s scary. 70% or our habitual thoughts are negative.
Imagine how the World look and feel like if we could turn this around.

Thanks for the share!

Akos

[Reply]

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