Disrupting Negative Narratives - How to Stop Negative Self-Talk!
“No one is perfect,” “we all make mistakes,” “fall to get back up.”
What do all these sayings have in common? They remind us that life does not always go as planned, and mistakes are an inevitable and natural part of life. Many times we hold mishaps and mistakes against ourselves and others. We continually remind ourselves of our shortcomings, sometimes to the point where they prevent us from new great opportunities and experiences. We say that everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect, but do we honestly believe it? Our thoughts – the beliefs we hold about ourselves and others – are what guide our feelings, shape our behaviors, and influence how we experience the world. It is your birthright to be happy and comfortable in your skin, and the only way you can get there is by being aware of your thought patterns and disrupting all negative narratives.
So what is a negative narrative?
Negative narratives are the bad stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. They are the hyper-critical self talk that plays on a loop in our heads: “I’m not good enough.” “I never do anything right.” “I’m a failure.”
It’s a fact that all humans make mistakes! So why do we hold on so tightly to our pasts? When we cling to negative self-talk we unconsciously take our mistakes along on our life journey. Then when faced with circumstances that remind us of the baggage we’ve been lugging around, we repeat the sad story and prevent ourselves from intentionally learning from the past and living in the moment. By repeating the narrative of the errors we once made, we force new life experiences into the confinements of the past. Living this way seems safe because it’s familiar – some of us have been repeating the same narrative for years – but we need to allow ourselves the opportunity to participate in new positive experiences where we can display our growth and evolution. Let go of your old, oppressive stories and allow yourself to be light with forgiveness and understanding.
So how can we change our poor self-talk?
Change happens through daily practice.
Every day, practice focusing on telling yourself something you are grateful for, something you are excited about and something that makes made you happy. Practicing mindfulness and uplifting thoughts can help to change the nagging, negative narratives that pop up when you are faced with difficulties. Include daily reminders like, “The Universe is conspiring for you” and “You’re doing great, give thanks” in your google calendar or your phone. You can even post uplifting reminders on your bedroom wall or bathroom mirror, so you’re confronted with positivity first thing in the morning. We never know when we’ll be faced with problems, so having daily reminders of our greatness can help realign our thoughts on the hard days.
Self-awareness is vital on the journey to creating new and healthy narratives about yourself. Take note of the negative stories as they slide into your consciousness. Acknowledge the thoughts, then release and replace them with an affirmation. Self-awareness doesn’t focus on your past – it analyzes who you are now, your current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Practice seeing yourself from other people’s perspectives, and have enough patience to learn how to navigate particular situations. Will mistakes be made? Yes! Hiccups are inevitable, but so are the lessons that will ensure your life is one of growth and transcendence.
Self-perception determines our behavior, so if the narrative on repeat in your mind is one of lack, unworthiness and self-loathing, you will display behaviors that reflect those traits. Understanding you have the power to control your mind can be life-changing. In the process of learning how to manage your thoughts, you need first to be aware of those thoughts and actively work towards aligning them with the best version of yourself. Remember, the past only exists in your mind – those mistakes you made and the mishaps you experienced have passed, and now it’s time for your mind to let them go to make space for new, beautiful memories and experiences.
Life isn’t perfect, but we have the power to decide what we focus on and what we think about. This power can change any undesirable situation into a lesson to propel you forward towards your best life. Believe in the power of choice – your beliefs guide your life, so decide to believe that you are in control. You have the ability to choose how you will react in any circumstance. Decide that once the adverse situation has passed or been resolved, you don’t have to relive it anymore. You are given the opportunity to access new insightful experiences every day. Use your power for good and watch your life transform.
Dr. Logan Jones is a therapist based in New York City. His services include therapy for stress, anxiety, depression, intimacy issues, as well as coaching for entrepreneurs, creative professionals, adults and LGBT clients. Dr. Jones’ life mission is to guide others, helping them to build healthier perceptions of themselves and stronger relationships so that they may feel more peaceful, whole and safe. He combines cognitive-behavioral therapy and insight-oriented psychodynamic therapy and also writes prolifically to make healing more accessible for all. His practice is located near Flatiron, Chelsea, NoMad, Union Square and the West Village. Contact him today for a complimentary phone consultation.
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