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Talking to Self
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Many of us hold beliefs about ourselves and our potential that might even be incorrect if looked at logically. These beliefs came to us primarily in the form of words we heard coming from our parents, teachers, friends, and even strangers and the media.

Individuals raised in environments where negative comments prevailed often reinforced these negative comments by repeating them aloud to others or even by thinking them. By contrast individuals raised in positive environments where compliments and praise were used regularly grow up to hold a higher level of self-esteem.

Our environment, people, and experiences determine our self-talk and influence not only what we say to others during interpersonal or small group exchanges but also what we think about our self. Our thoughts trigger feelings, which trigger words, which trigger behaviors.

We are not conscious moment-by-moment of how much we are affected by our own words. We accustom ourselves to speaking and hearing in a certain way and assert certain things in regard to ourselves to such a point that we believe them. Can-do thinkers usually have had positive reinforcement in their relationship with others while negativity and put-down language has been reinforced in the interpersonal relationship of can’t-do thinkers.

Internal Messages

Thoughts, feelings, internal decision-making and word-pictures formulated in ones mind is the most powerful “conversation” of all. It is also one of the most powerful indicators of behavior. No other individual is involved in self-talk as during these times messages are both sent and received within our own mind. No one is listening to give us feed-back as to the accuracy of our internal messages. These messages can be logical or illogical, rational or irrational, negative or positive. The outcome is a behavior that mirrors this very powerful internal communication.

Change the self-talk and an adjustment in behavior is possible. Within a supportive environment knowing that change is possible can be a great motivator to replace can’t do with can-do thinking.

Can’t do thinking and negative self-talk can be reduced if one makes it an intentional goal. Within families, work or church groups a covenant can be made to eliminate negativism and put-down language with on another. We do have a power to decide not to use destructive language in conversation. In exchange we can use affirmations and positive reinforcement of each one’s contributions as we strive to reach a common goal.

God wants us to have a healthy self-regard. After all we are created in His image. We cannot afford to let Satan mar that image. "God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7). 

Talk to God. He will help you change your self-talk.

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By Carole Kilcher. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.
Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®

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