How to eliminate the defeatist internal dialogue

Who I am
Robert Maurer

How to eliminate the defeatist internal dialogue

Last update: July 08, 2015

Have you ever observed what kind of conversation you have with yourself? Did you know that this internal dialogue programs and defines the concept you have of yourself as a person? In other words, you truly transform into what you think you are.

If you think you are brave and strong, then you will live your life according to that statement. If, on the other hand, you tell yourself that you are weak and unimportant, then you are building a reality where you are in fact like that. Incredible, right?

Practical means to put an end to the defeatist internal dialogue

There are some exercises that can help you focus on your "mental chat" habits and that at the same time can partially free you from this negative internal dialogue.

First exercise: personal notes

Try to choose a day for this task when you are calm and as free as possible. If you can't find a moment like this, it doesn't matter, do it anyway. You must have a notebook and a pen available to be able to write some notes at any time of the day.

Make appointments with yourself throughout the day, for example every two hours. At the corresponding moment, stop what you were doing and write down the self-talk you remember having during the last two hours. The more details, the better.

If it is easier for you to take notes without scheduled times, you can do it spontaneously when you catch yourself talking to yourself. Definitely, write down everything you say to yourself above your appearance, your abilities, your intelligence, your dreams, your memories, your suffering, your health, etc. 

Second exercise: self-image

Do this exercise in the evening, already in bed. We present a hypothetical situation. Imagine that the following day you have to show up for a decisive appointment, for example a job interview, with important clients or with your boss, who will look at you and listen to you.

How do you see yourself in the scenario described? You must relax in order to be able to perceive with serenity - and sincerity, above all - what messages reach you about yourself. You will see that in imagining yourself in the meeting and focusing on your person, you will inevitably receive some ideas or concepts. Take note of everything that arises within you.

Third exercise: correction of the writings

Do this exercise the next day. You have to review the writing written in the previous two exercises. Try to see if there is any commonality or common thread that unites both texts. In this case: what are the coincident or recurring elements? Analyze them clearly, once again in writing.

Fourth exercise: discover the general tone of your internal dialogue

Returning to what is written, how would you describe the tone or character of what you are saying internally? In general, do you tend to be optimistic and do you find positive aspects in your person? Are you satisfied with yourself or, on the contrary, do you have a pessimistic view and do you condemn yourself? Analyze if you are realistic or if you tend to exaggerate, one way or the other.

Fifth exercise: what kind of company are you

Again, review the notes from the first two exercises. Based on the messages you send to yourself throughout the day, answer: What kind of friend do you consider yourself to be? Remember that you are the one talking to yourself every day, all day.

If another person was whispering these messages in your ear, how do you think you would feel? So, what environment do you create for yourself every day? Do you convey harmony, happiness and well-being or the opposite? What inner state do you generate with your inner chatter? 

The goal of these exercises is to discover and be aware of what kind of internal dialogue you have at each moment. If you want to work on those messages that can be harmful to your emotional, mental, and even physical health, this is the first step: recognizing the nature of the conversation you are conducting with yourself. Once identified, you can confidently move towards an internal transformation.

Image courtesy of Mait Jüriado

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