This week I lost my patience with my 3-year old grandson.
I raised my voice – more than once. And, while I know that’s not an unrealistic thing to have happen when you spend a long day with a busy toddler, I felt terrible about it.
I’m pretty sure he wasn’t even tracking what was going on. He was being busy being a stinker and had already moved on to torment me in other ways. But I turned it into the beginning of a negative conversation with myself. Which put me in a bad mood. Which made me cranky. Which made the evening with my husband start off badly.
How can I be positive with someone else when I was mad at myself?
The truth is that we are in constant communication with ourselves. And, much of that time we aren’t very nice.
What you tell yourself about yourself becomes who you are.
The good news is that you can learn to tame the negative voice in your head. Here are a few strategies you can use to help you communicate more positively with yourself.
1. Be self-aware
It’s hard to change something that you don’t realize you do.
The first and most important step to taming the 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 thinking and talking negatively, take a minute to flip the script. Immediately think of at least 3 things that you are doing well or that you are grateful for. Put things into 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 nice 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 with having one with yourself.
Do you support yourself? Give yourself slack? Forgive yourself?
If you aren’t always 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 big support system if you let them. Hang out with people who think positively. And, if you find yourself a magnet to 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 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 with having one with yourself.
Be patient with yourself. A lifetime of negative self talk won’t go away over night.
Start with trying one or two of these strategies.
You’ll soon notice how your positive attitude begins to reflect on the quality of your relationships.
Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She coaches small business managers on HR issues and provides training on workplace communication to organizational groups.
In addition, she hosts a twice-annual Women’s Summit that brings women together to learn how to become more confident communicators.
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