The Truth About Negative Self-Talk and 3 Keys to STOP Its Toxic Effects

Do you ever catch yourself putting yourself down? You know, those inner thoughts that you think or sometimes may even say out loud.

It might sound something like:

  • “Why did I do that, I’m so stupid!”
  • “I can’t do that, I’m not good enough.”
  • “It’s too hard, I’ll fail.”

Ouch! That inner critic is mean!

Negative self-talk, beating yourself up, that inner critic in your head, putting yourself down… whatever you want to call it, it’s time to say good-bye to the toxic, self-destructive voice in your head that:

  • Creates self-doubt that makes you worry about what could go wrong instead of focusing on what could go right.
  • Steals your confidence so you don’t speak up, go for your dreams, nor prioritize your own wants and needs.
  • Keeps you stuck in an endless loop that doesn’t include the life YOU really want.

In this article, you’ll learn about the root of negative self-talk, and then I’ll give you 3 tips to overcome this harmful habit.

Woman feeling the effects of negative self-talk

It’s Not You!

Your inner critic is feeding you thoughts that steal your personal power. When it comes to negative self-talk, I can tell you… IT’S NOT TRUE!

It’s fear talking!

Fear’s one and only job is to keep you safe – physically and emotionally.

As a Certified Fearless Living Coach, I know that negative self-talk is one of the tricky tactics fear uses to keep you what it considers safe, and therefore stuck. Fear especially likes to make you doubt yourself when you’re thinking about trying something new.

Fear wants you to stay in your comfort zone, which only includes things you currently do in your day-to-day life.

Fear doesn’t think it can keep you safe if you try something new… meaning step out of your comfort zone. It makes you believe the risk associated with trying something new is greater than the risk of staying in your current situation.

❓ Want to have an important conversation with your partner?
❓ Want to go to college/go for a promotion/retire?
❓ Want to join a new club to meet new people?

It’ll take courage to step out of your comfort zone and do those things, so fear will try to stop you by making you think things like:

🔸 Don’t do that! You’ll fail!
🔸 You’re not smart/pretty/creative enough!
🔸 What will people think about you? They’ll probably laugh.

Fear does NOT care about your happiness, it just wants you to keep life exactly as is. It’ll do whatever it needs to do in order to stop you from going after new goals and dreams.

Are you playing small because you’re listening to the lies that fear is making you think about yourself?

The good news is that you can shift your relationship with fear. To learn more about fear plus a tool to help you take your power back from it, take my free mini-course:

Believing Negative Self-Talk Has a Huge Cost

Here are some of the consequences of the harmful, toxic habit of negative self-talk:

  • You lose courage to try new things and make your life better.
  • You compare yourself to others (and usually feel like the inferior person).
  • You lose trust in yourself which makes you question your ideas and decisions.
  • You feel like a loser and give up.
  • You lose your confidence!

Do any of those consequences resonate with you?

Every single one of them has kept me from taking action toward my goals at one point or another in the past, even though I really wanted to do them!

With increased awareness and practice, you can diminish the disempowering habit of negative self-talk.

Woman walking on beach knowing negative self-talk is a harmful habit.

3 Keys to Stop Negative Self-Talk

1 – Give Yourself Credit

A tool called Acknowledgements is one of my favorite personal development tools. It has helped thousands of people silence their inner critic and gain the self-confidence to go after their dreams.

This tool was developed by my teacher and mentor, Rhonda Britten, from the Fearless Living Institute.

Acknowledging yourself is sort of like giving yourself a pat on the back. It’s taking just a moment to stop and consciously recognize yourself for taking any step taken outside of your comfort zone.

When you catch yourself putting yourself down, STOP! Then immediately shift your focus by acknowledging yourself for something in the situation.

  • It doesn’t matter if that step was done well or not. The point is you acknowledge that you’re good enough as you are right now.
  • It doesn’t matter how big the step is out of your comfort zone. A new thought (thinking about doing something but not taking the action) or awareness can seem like a small step, but NO STEP IS SMALL.
  • The more specific your Acknowledgements, the more quickly you’ll feel the power of them.

Recognizing your progress by using Acknowledgements will help strengthen your inner voice that will help you become more confident.

As a Life & Joy Coach, I help my clients maximize this tool and integrate into their daily lives. Write five acknowledgements every day and you’ll refuel your confidence. Read more about this confidence-boosting tool.

2 – Recognize All Thoughts Are NOT TRUE!

Learning to recognize negative self-talk for what it is (lies), and deciding to let them go rather than believing them, is life-changing!

When you realize your inner critic is going wild, ask yourself… “Am I 100% this thought is true?”

Everyone has that thing that fear says to them that gets you to believe it’s true. But what if that voice is just fear trying to keep you safe – keeping you from your dreams?

A belief is a thought you keep thinking… how could you think about this differently?

Talk to your fear! When fear tells you that you’ll fail, honor it and tell it, “Thanks for wanting to keep me safe, AND I’m going to try it anyway.”

As you stop believing the negative self-talk that fear instigates and as you talk back to your fear, fear will lessen.

Let today be the day that you decide to tell that voice, “I’m not believing that anymore!”

3 – Learn the Power of Compliments

We are harsh self-critics… so much so that accepting compliments can be difficult.

Sometimes people find it uncomfortable to receive a compliment. Then, instead of graciously accepting a compliment, they deflect, minimize, or make a joke about it.

Yet compliments are someone else’s reality about us. Compliments show us how people feel about us, even when we can’t see it for ourselves.

Practice choosing compliments as truth. You don’t have to agree with the compliment, but don’t disagree.

Compliments can be proof that your inner critic is wrong about you!

(Learn better by video or want to deepen your understanding of fear and negative self-talk? Please give my video a listen! ☟ )



Stop Letting Your Inner Critic Keep You Stuck!

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

Suzy Kassem (American writer, poet, and philosopher)

Being your own best cheerleader is a much better choice than being your own best critic.

You have so much power over your negative self-talk.

I can tell you from experience that as you start quieting your inner critic (FEAR), you’ll have less negative self-talk. As you expand your comfort zone to include actions you used to only think about doing, fear becomes less effective and it takes the back seat.

Do your best to make sure the voices in your mind are kind – you deserve kindness. Criticizing yourself never feels good, so try to stop negative self-talk before it snowballs and becomes a bigger problem in your mind. Love yourself, don’t bash yourself.

Find Yourself – Find Your Confidence!

As a Certified Fearless Living Coach, I have a program that has been life-changing for thousands of people, and I know I can help you get life-long, unshakeable self-confidence!

From Self-Doubt To Self-Confidence Bootcamp is now open for enrollment.

This bootcamp is very close to my heart because I know how having self-confidence can MAKES EVERYTHING POSSIBLE in your life. It’s my passion to help women get the confidence they need to get the life so truly desired.

My bootcamp is a 6-session, private 1:1 coaching program that’s a proven science-backed method It’s completely individualized and effective coaching.

Here are the details for the confidence bootcamp. If you’ve every thought about getting support from a life coach, now is the time!

Bonus Video:

Watch my video to get another idea of how you can be kind to yourself. It’s a daily practice that will help you as you start to quiet the negative self-talk that your inner critic feeds you. What I talk about will help you let go of the negativity we all put upon ourselves at times.

8 Replies to “The Truth About Negative Self-Talk and 3 Keys to STOP Its Toxic Effects”

  1. I loved reaching this Ellen. It’s taken me years to finally realize that the negative self talk is not beneficial. But we learn what we are exposed to, right?
    I still struggle occasionally, but learning how to take a compliment has been very eye-opening.
    XOOX
    Jodie

    1. That progress you’ve had is amazing! It all started with awareness… and now you get to choose to change it. 🙂

    1. It sure is. I still catch myself with negative self-talk sometimes. The good thing is that I now catch it early and know to shift my focus.

    1. Thank you, Amber! So glad you found value in it. And yes, self-doubt is a habit that does NOT serve us well!

  2. I love what you say about accepting compliments as truth, even if you don’t agree with the compliment. 😊 Negative thoughts are a pain … sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and just go for it!

    1. Us humans sure like to deflect a good compliment when it could be such a feel-good moment! Taking a leap of faith and just going for it is a great way to look at it.

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