Last week, I wrote a blog post about how to better communicate with difficult people. It resonated with many of you. My cousin immediately sent me an email that read, “Yes, as a matter of fact, there is someone who is driving me crazy and it’s ME!!!!”

It made me think that there are times we simply need to slow down and embrace our own difficult selves. And usually, that means we need to stop listening to the negative voice in our head.

If you’re frustrated, or just mad at yourself, you’re probably not treating yourself very well. You may be thinking, “How can I be nice to myself when there are so many reasons not to?”   

The truth is that we are in constant communication with ourselves. And much of that time we are not very nice about it.

What you tell yourself about yourself becomes who you are.

The good news is that you can learn to tame the negative voice inside your head. Below are five strategies that will help you communicate more positively with yourself.

 1. Be self-aware.

It’s hard to change something when you don’t realize you’re even doing it. 

The first and most important step to taming the negative voice in your head is to listen to your inner chatter.  Do you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself? Do you scold yourself, or spend time beating yourself up over something you wish you had done differently? 

What voice are you allowing in your head: the critical one or the encouraging one?

 2. Flip the script.

When you hear yourself listening to your negative voice, take a minute to flip the script. Immediately think of at least three things that you’re doing well or that you’re grateful for. Place things in perspective and look for the positive. You have an opportunity to reduce your negative thoughts by recognizing them and then changing them into positive ones. In other words, slow down and talk nicely to yourself. Choose the language you use with yourself carefully and tenderly.

3. Be your own best friend.

To have more positive relationships with others you need to start by having a positive relationship with the most important person – YOU.

Do you support yourself? Give yourself slack? Forgive yourself? 

If you aren’t your own best friend, it can have a big impact on how you communicate and build relationships with others. 

4. Hang out with positive people.

Positive people can be a huge support system, if you allow them to be. Hang out with people who think positively. If you find yourself becoming a magnet for negative people, it won’t help you. It may even be time to find a few new, more positive friends.

5. Use positive affirmations.

Here’s a powerful tool for starting your day with positive energy: read positive messages or inspirations aloud to yourself. Your mind takes repeated messages and files them away as important. Make the messages it stores positive, uplifting ones.

You can control your self-talk.

The bottom line is this:

  • Our actions are inspired by our thoughts. Our actions become who we are. If we can change the way we think, we can begin to change the actions we take.
  • To have more positive relationships with others, you need to start by having a positive relationship with yourself.

Begin this process by trying one or two of these strategies. Be patient with yourself. It will take some time to change the way you’ve been talking to yourself. 

And the great news? You’ll soon notice your difficult self becoming a little less difficult.

Do you find yourself wishing you could be a better communicator both at home and at work?  For any questions or to learn more, you can also contact me for a free 30-minute consultation.

Betty Lochner is a human resources consultant, business coach, and expert in workplace communications. She is the author of two books on communication, and a newly published journal, Intentional Gratitude.