We wouldn’t tolerate letting anybody else speak to us in such a negative manner, so why is it acceptable to verbally beat ourselves down?
Negative self-talk is a common phenomenon–one in which I’m sure we are all guilty of partaking in at times to varying degrees. On a daily basis we may have some automatic negative thoughts such as “I don’t look good in this shirt” or “I don’t think she likes me.” Some people may be able to brush these thoughts away, affording them little significance before moving on to the next thought and task in life.
Others, however, may latch on and become fused with the thought–ruminating for long stretches of time on the same negative thought or pattern of thoughts. The thoughts may also become more severe and more pervasive, turning into sweeping statements such as or “I’m worthless” or “nobody likes me.”
The way that we think about ourselves influences both our emotions and our behaviors. While this may seem obvious, what’s not so obvious is how to cope with them. Changing the way that we conceptualize ourselves may include a process of past exploration–for instance, the thoughts may be the internalized verbal abuse from others, or a response to a traumatic event. In other instances, there may be no recognizable cause-and-effect. Fortunately, relief from these thoughts does not require insight into their origin. By utilizing tools from CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), your counselor can help you deconstruct and disconnect from these intrusive thoughts.
To learn more about coping with negative self-talk, reach out to one of our licensed counselors today:
Written by Joanna Aslanian, LPC, ATR-P