WHY WE SHOULDN’T APOLOGIZE FOR OURSELVES: The THREE Detrimental Effects of Negative Self Talk!
As a therapist I deal with a lot of issues of low self-esteem and I hear negative self talk* regularly dropped in sessions. Women, men and even children in our culture have become so used to negative self talk as part of “conversation” that it just slips out “I obviously wouldn’t know what i’m talking about”, “as an ugly person i have just accepted that…”, “I’m not worth your time anyway”.
In a culture where no one wants to be seen as too arrogant, self absorbed or overly “confident” this is what we are reduced to. Minimizing ourselves in conversation to either make others feel better, so as not to seem arrogant or because we have only learned the negative traits of ourselves.
The problem is when we live apologizing for who we are it goes beyond a conversational level. If we are constantly apologizing and trying to belittle our positives, or play down our achievements – eventually we begin to believe this as a “truth”. The self-talk becomes not only conversational, but it becomes part of our daily practice.
We then begin to talk to ourselves like that ALL of the time. I discuss this topic in my course on Mindfulness “Becoming Zen” because I believe that this type of self talk is the equivalent of being in an abusive relationship on our self esteem. If we walk around all day putting ourselves down, the result is that we are basically mentally and emotionally abusing ourselves. I created my course to help men and women who struggle with self-talk and show them ways to develop a positive self image.
There are three main effects I see when negative self-talk becomes the “norm” in a person’s life and these are:
- Hopelessness – hopelessness becomes a baseline and the negative self talk becomes the persons sense of agency/ ability. If all they are exposed to is their own negative thoughts about themselves, then it creates a hopelessness and ruins their ability to cope.
- Goals are Lowered – The person experiencing the negative self talk will set their goals lower and feel less able to achieve what they want to out of life.
- Affect on friends and family – When negative self talk is the normal in a household or group of friends, it has a shared effect. Children also model the negative self talk about themselves and learn that this is the way to communicate.
But it doesn’t have to be hopeless – Negative self talk can be changed and I focus on this on my youtube channel as well “You Counselling” with weekly videos on agency and positive self esteem. One great way to begin your journey to positive self esteem is to begin journalling about one thing you appreciate or like about yourself each day.
You can sign up here for my free e-book and you will also be sent free gratitude journal templates to get started on your practice!
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to LOVE. YOUR. LIFE.
Your friend and therapist,