I don’t know if anyone has heard of the concept called self-talk.
For the sake of this blog post, I’ll define it as your inner monologue, the internal conversation you have with yourself in the course of your day. Sometimes, your inner dialogue can be neutral, other times positive, even negative. When you tell yourself Julie, how could you have made such a careless mistake? You are engaging in your inner conversation, albeit negative.
Some of you may be wondering why Hailey chose to blog about self-talk in a self-improvement blog meant to bridge the gaps in your interpersonal interactions. Don’t go away!
It’s because I’ve realized that the nature of your inner monologue can help or hinder your interpersonal interactions. This is why it’s important to become mindful of what you tell yourself inwardly and strive to improve its quality. Please note that self-talk does not refer to holding imaginary conversations with imaginary people in your head! If in doubt, ask yourself whether you can predict the next thing your mind tells you during your inner dialogue. If you can’t, you probably suffer from auditory hallucinations and should see a licensed mental health practitioner!
Some of the types of self-talk that hinder your interpersonal interactions are:
Absolutes as used here refer to all or nothing types of descriptions, like always or never. When you tell yourself I never get maths sums right, you are practicing an absolute way of thinking. Absolutes can be harmful as they prevent you from noticing when circumstances differ from always or never.
Here’s how it’s easy to let absolutes harm your interpersonal interactions. For as long as I can remember, I get upset most of the time whenever someone expresses disagreement with my opinions, beliefs, or thinking. I tried to be mature about it by saying I don’t always expect people to agree with what I say. This did very little to ameliorate my displeasure at being contradicted and I was at my wit’s end. Until I realized where my problem lay: I was indulging in an absolute way of thinking! I saw that my fixation on always expect was my problem and I set out to change it.
Was I lying to myself when I said I don’t always expect…? Well, I knew I wanted people to agree with me all the time, I prefer people to agree with me all the time. I decided to change my self-talk to I want and prefer people to agree with me all the time, but I cannot realistically/reasonably expect people to agree with me all the time! This way, I feel less frustration with myself and others whenever someone contradicts what I said or wrote. And of course, my interpersonal interactions are more pleasant because I am more truthful to myself!
- Unrelenting standards
I have mentioned this topic before. To refresh your memory, unrelenting standards start with I need to… I have to… I must… I am supposed to… I should… I ought to…
This train of thought puts you under a lot of compulsion and pressure because it mostly seems like you are required to do things you really do not want to do! It gets worse when you realize that a person with such unrelenting standards is very likely to have a long mental list of how people should and must behave culturally, religiously, ethically, socially, academically, financially… In fact, in all aspects of human behaviour!
Such thinking makes him hypercritical and quick to express disapproval and judgment of others when they don’t behave as they wish. Or when they say/do an action regarded by them as unacceptable. I don’t think I’m hasty in assuming that most of my readers do not like and enjoy the company of people generous with their disapproval and criticism.
I almost heard you ask How can I have positive self-talk? It’s very simple when you imbibe the quality of self-compassion in your internal dialogue. When you realize that life’s not absolute, always or never. Apart from the suggestion I gave previously, try to tell yourself I sometimes… or I mostly… instead of I always… or I never…
Self-compassion is practiced when you avoid telling yourself I need to… I have to… I must… I am supposed to… I have to… I ought to… In such situations, tell yourself I want to… I prefer to… I will… I like… This new way of talking to yourself will help you feel and gain more control over your life! Added to the fact that you’ll feel a lot happier. This is because few people enjoy doing things under compulsion.
I hope you self-talk your way out of negativity and into improved interpersonal relations!
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