When LeBron James talked about his decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat back in 2010, he was met with a barge of negativity. People burned his jersey. Longtime fans turned on him.
I wanted to do what was best for LeBron James, and what LeBron James was going to do to make him happy.
He was facing a negative situation and the negative reactions of fans, but he was able to use positive words to explain his decision. If he would have responded to the negativity directly by saying, “yes I’m sad that people burned my jersey, it makes me feel unappreciated and vulnerable”, the situation and the negativity would have grown worse.
The critical voice inside our head
Most don’t realize it, but as we go about our daily lives, we are subconsciously interpreting every situation that arises–both big and small. We have an internal voice inside our mind that shapes our perception about what we are experiencing.
Some of our internal conversations can be negative, unrealistic, self-defeating and self-deprecating. We say things like, ‘I’m going to fail for sure’, or ‘I didn’t do well. I’m hopeless. I’m useless.’
Negative self-talk can come from:
A bad mood that stirs up negative thoughts.
The habit of being overly critical which may stem from your childhood.
Pessimism and always expecting the worst.
Negative past experiences and the persistent belief that history repeats itself.
Fear, anxiety, worries, depression and the different kinds of psychological problems that feed and perpetuate negative thinking.
The consequences of negative self-talk builds over time. Each time you engage in negative self-talk, you shoot yourself an arrow. Each arrow by itself is fairly insignificant. But over time, it can break you. Repeatedly berating yourself and believing the worse slowly sabotages you.
Thinking of yourself as clumsy, a loser, ugly , stupid, insignificant or worthless is an indicator that your self-talk is negative and you may be slowly orchestrating your own demise. Internal negativity makes you see yourself as irreparably flawed, inadequate or incompetent and as a result your self confidence is diminished.
Seeing yourself as hopeless, blaming yourself whenever something goes wrong or dwelling on worst-case scenarios are all examples of exaggerated, negative thought patterns. And this kind of distorted thinking can cause you to spiral downward until you’re so far down you are unable to see or imagine anything positive.
Negative self-talk reinforces any irrational ideas you already have. Each time you mentally rehearse negative phrases, you strengthen those irrational beliefs and perceptions. And with time, your negativity gathers the strength to cripple–and in some cases– even kill you.
Ridding yourself of negative self-talk
Replacing a negative mindset with a positive one requires slow and methodical effort. Here are a few steps that can help you recognize, stop and replace negative thoughts with positive ones:
Identify the times negative self-talk arises.
Identify what triggered those thoughts.
Counter your negative thoughts with positive–factual ones.
Create yourself a script that you can use to counter negative thoughts as soon as they arise.
When thoughts such as “I am worthless” arise, counter them with more realistic thoughts such as “my kids need me” or “my colleague values my work.” Each time you counter negative statements with positive facts, your negative thoughts lose power.
Try to view each situation objectively, like an outsider looking in and then try to determine what is best for that person (you) in that situation, similar to what Lebron James did.
Repeating this cycle over and over trains your mind to seek out and focus on the positive. And slowly positive thoughts will become your default. You have power over how you precieve life and how you interact with it. The first step in being fulfilled and achieving your goals begins by training that small voice in your head to speak positivity.