Don’t speak negatively about yourself

The Power of Positive Self-Talk: How to Stop Putting Yourself Down

Speaking negatively about yourself can become an unconscious habit with harmful effects. Changing to positive self-talk is challenging but pays huge dividends regarding mental health, motivation, self-esteem and achieving your full potential. Here are some key reasons to avoid negative self-talk and practice positive affirmations instead:

Negative Self-TalkPositive Self-Talk
Lowers confidence and self-esteemBoosts confidence and self-esteem
Increases stress and anxietyDecreases stress and anxiety
Harms performance and productivityEnhances performance and productivity
Weakens motivation and driveStrengthens motivation and drive
Reinforces depressed thinkingLifts mood and emotional state
Limits potential for growthExpands potential for growth

The following steps will show you how to identify negative self-talk patterns and replace them with empowering positive alternatives.

Step 1: Notice When You Use Negative Self-Talk

Notice When You Use Negative Self-Talk

The first step is to become more aware of when you engage in negative self-talk. Common forms include:

  • Self-criticism: “I’m so stupid/ugly/untalented/unloveable.”
  • Putting yourself down: “I’m such a loser/failure/idiot.”
  • Catastrophizing: “I’m going to mess this up so badly.”
  • Blaming: “This is all my fault, I ruin everything.”
  • Doubt: “I’ll never be able to do this properly.”

Pay close attention to your inner voice and catch yourself when using negative language about yourself.

Step 2: Identify Common Themes in Your Negative Self-Talk

Once you’ve started noticing your negative self-talk habits, analyze them to identify common themes. Which types of putdowns do you use most often? Are they focused on qualities like intelligence, appearance, competence or likability? Knowing your habitual negative themes provides clues on areas needing more self-compassion.

Step 3: Counteract Negativity with Positive Affirmations

For each of your negative self-talk themes, purposefully cultivate positive counter-statements. For example:

Negative: “I’m so lazy and undisciplined.”

Positive: “I have the ability to be productive when I set my mind to it.”

Negative: “I’m too ugly to be loved.”

Positive: “I’m worthy of love exactly as I am.”

Negative: “I’ll never be smart enough to succeed.”

Positive: “I’m intelligent in my own unique way.”

Post these positive affirmations where you’ll see them daily. Repeat them out loud or in your head to reinforce new neural pathways.

Step 4: Identify What’s Bothering You

Identify What's Bothering You

We often struggle with unresolved emotional issues or stressors when we’re hard on ourselves. Next time you catch yourself talking down to yourself harshly, ask what might be bothering you at that moment.

Are you feeling insecure about something? Carrying shame or guilt? Stressed by obligations? Identifying the root issue makes it easier to address constructively without taking it out on yourself.

Step 5: Cultivate Self-Compassion

Many of us unconsciously absorb societal or family messages that we’re flawed or will only be loved if we achieve enough. This fuels negative self-perception.

Actively choose to treat yourself with more compassion and understanding. How kindly would you talk to a loved one struggling similarly? Offer that same caring attitude toward yourself. Recognize how hard you’re trying during tough times.

Step 6: Replace Comparisons with Appreciating Your Worth

Replace Comparisons with Appreciating Your Worth

It’s easy to get sucked into negative comparisons with others who seem to “have it all” in ways we don’t measure up. Catch yourself when making comparisons.

Rather than focusing on what you don’t have about others, shift to proactively appreciating your strengths, talents and qualities. Write them down if helpful. Comparisons often fuel insecurity – choosing regular self-appreciation cultivates confidence from within.

Step 7: Set Goals Focused on Growth vs. Perfection

When we base our self-worth on achieving perfection or certain external benchmarks, falling short feels like failure, fueling negative self-talk.

Instead, focus your efforts on goals tied to learning, growth and progress. Define success as improving little by little and celebrating small wins. Enhance your skills through practice. With a growth mindset, missteps are merely feedback to guide you forward in your ongoing journey.

Step 8: Develop Coping Strategies for Setbacks

Despite your best efforts, setbacks happen. When they do, cope in ways that reinforce your worth. Avoid spiralling into negative self-judgment. Strategies include:

  • Reminding yourself, “I’m enough regardless of outcomes.”
  • Reviewing past successes to regain perspective.
  • Identifying lessons learned to apply next time.
  • Seeking encouraging feedback from trusted friends.
  • Framing it as a learning curve, not a character indictment.

Constructively processing disappointments prevents them from fueling toxic inner dialogue.

Step 9: Change Negative Self-Talk Habits Gradually

Changing entrenched neural pathways requires time and commitment. Don’t beat yourself up for occasional backsliding. Stick with it day by day. Track your progress in a journal to stay motivated.

Celebrate when you catch yourself replacing a negative thought pattern with a positive one. Over time, the new habits will start to feel natural. Be patient with yourself in the process.

Step 10: Seek Help from a Therapist if Needed

 Seek Help from a Therapist if Needed

For some, deeply ingrained negative self-talk has roots in traumas, clinical mood disorders or childhood attachment patterns. If your attempts to alter negative self-talk aren’t making headway, consult a licensed therapist. They can help you resolve the root issues perpetuating the harmful internal messages and develop customized strategies to overcome them. You deserve to believe in your worth.

The way you talk to yourself shapes your self-image, motivation and potential. Commit to catching negative self-talk and progressively reframing it in a positive light. The effort is well worth it. You are worthy of love, happiness and feeling good about yourself! Start speaking to yourself with the kindness and compassion you deserve.


The conclusion of Don’t Speak Negatively About Yourself is that we all contain remnants of self-criticism learned for survival without the intention to harm. But recognizing thought patterns from the past no longer serve to thrive allows compassionate editing of outdated scripts. With awareness and consistency, negative self-talk relinquishes power, overconfidence and dreams.

The limitless potential is awakened by catching criticisms and replacing them with heartfelt affirmations of self-acceptance, abilities, and invisible strengths. This process of conscious self-definition cultivates well-being, authenticity and enriched relationships far beyond what any critic imagined possible before.

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