Challenging Negative Self-Talk

Internal dialogue often serves as a guide to the appropriateness of our behavior. However, sometimes we can get caught up in a skewed belief about ourselves and then struggle with an abundance of negative internal dialogue. Negative self-talk is a way of applying a label that we have heard or that we believe is true to ourselves.

This negative self-talk can turn into shame.

Most often these shaming labels will surface when there is an individual who does not believe that they are worthy or when they believe that they are truly a bad person. However, these shaming phrases often affect our self-esteem and thereby also negatively impact our life decisions. Many times we reinforce labels or self-shaming phrases that we have heard as children. When we begin to formulate negative self-concepts as a young child, often we have to battle these negative concepts as adults

As a result, the self-talk is distorted and therefore yields an unreliable message about ourselves and events that take place.

We need to test the accuracy of this negative self-talk. A good way to test these thoughts is to challenge them.

Here are some tips on how to challenge them and help reverse the self-talk into a more realistic perception:

  1. What is evidence for my thinking?
  2. Are there facts that back up this negative belief?
  3. What are other ways I could interpret this situation?
  4. Is this situation as negative as I an interpreting it?
  5. What are the positives of this situation
  6. Is this negative dialogue helping or inhibiting me from attaining my goals?
  7. What can I do to help this situation get better?

These questions serve to test the reality of the situation. They help us look for alternative situations, put the situation in perspective, and shift thinking to a more goal directed approach. Challenging the negative internal dialogue allows you to shift your thinking into a more analytical approach. Maybe you cab see yourself and your actions in a different perspective.

Written by: Chelsey Beauchamp, LPC

Article Updated: June 19, 2019