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How to Change Your Negative Self-Talk

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

You see them everywhere. Little inspirational sayings like, “You are the only one who can limit your greatness.” Or, “Make your optimism come true.” They are on posters in gyms and offices. Social media is plastered with them. Do they help? Do they work? Well, if you’re feeling harried because of a stressful commute and a looming project, a kid with the sniffles, not to mention a pile of laundry sitting in a corner at home and a to-do list that stretches to the horizon, is a pithy platitude really going to turn things around for you? Maybe.

If you don’t feel guilty for not measuring up, a powerful quote might give you a boost. You may suddenly feel a surge of motivation. It can shape your self-talk in that moment to take positive action. But for a deeper and abiding change, you’ll need more than a feel-good slogan. You’ll need more than inspiration to change your on-going internal dialogue.

Inspiration has its place. But ultimately inspiration that comes from the outside is synthetic. It won’t last for long. It has a short shelf life when it comes to deep, life-changing self-talk. It may be helpful, even necessary at times, but it’s not enough. Don’t be hoodwinked by the “inspirational-industrial complex.” Long-lasting and life-transforming inspiration has to arise from a deeper place.

True and lasting change is an inside job that has nothing to do with performance.

It doesn’t matter if you’re married or single, young or old, shy or assertive: if your self-worth hangs on a condition of good performance, your self-talk is sure to be riddled with self-doubt, insecurity, and anxiety. After the upbeat quotes become white noise, your inner voice is bound to be condemning. Why? Because, there is an “infinite abyss” in the heart of each of us that can be filled only by God. And until we fill that abyss with God’s love — until we feel it deep in our beings — our sense of worth and significance becomes illusive. We will never be fully satisfied. We will never have a solid foundation of love to stand on.

Healthy people plant their feet firmly on a deep and confident sense of worth that is built by God’s love.

They recognize that God created them and that He knows them intimately and loves them — no matter what. They think of themselves as “wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14 NIV). They have intrinsic worth that no longer depends on performance.

We could give you a list of psychological tricks and techniques to change your negative self-talk. But we prefer to cut right to the heart of the matter. So at the risk of sounding trite, the key to changing your negative self-talk into the best kind of self-talk is to experience God’s love deep down in your soul. We’re not talking about “knowing” God’s love — which comes as a result of a studied and reasoned, or academic, pursuit. You can know things you don’t experience. For example, you can argue that the Bible says God loves the world (John 3:16), and you are part of the world, so you are loved by God. That’s a mental exercise. Not an experience.

There is a difference between having a rational judgment that honey is sweet and having a sense of its sweetness. You can know honey is sweet because someone tells you, but you don’t really know its sweetness until you’ve tasted it.

We’re talking about opening your heart and allowing the sweetness of God’s love to be experienced. This is more about your heart than your head. It is like getting in pondering God’s love when he described his heart as being “strangely warmed.” Your heart is directed into the love of God. It’s a feeling at the center of our beings. It’s beyond knowing with your head. In fact, it’s beyond comprehension. How can you wrap your head around being loved by the Creator — so much so that you feel it?

Sometimes I ask myself in the head “I know I’m supposed to say that I have experience God's love… I know the Bible says He loves me… but I don’t feel it.” Sometimes I even felt that God is cold, aloof, and demanding — not loving.

Now, in order for me to have better relationships, better marriage, a better life, much of that starts with getting healthy inside first and using healthy self-talk. I like to experience God more and put His Word into my heart now. Seeking His face!

Your turn! To share your thoughts on getting healthy in my blog. I want to hear from you!

Share this with a friend with somebody who needs it today.

#self-talk #experience #love

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