musing on how we speak to ourselves


“why am I feeling like this? why can’t I stop thinking about this? why can’t I do something about it…”

“I should be working harder, I shouldn’t feel this way, I shouldn’t have these thoughts, I must try again, I have to keep up…”

“I’m not good enough, I’m a failure, I can’t stand myself, I don’t like myself, I’m not worthy at all, I’m so bad at it, such a disappointment, how embarrassing, I’m ashamed of myself…”

do any of the above sound familiar? have you ever come across these kinds of sentences when facing a difficult moment or simply when feeling a bit
overwhelmed/distressed? these are pretty common examples of ways in which we speak to ourselves. in them we can see confusion/doubt, thoughts about what we should/shouldn’t do and negative feelings about us

the way we speak to ourselves matters

let’s take for example the “I shouldn’t be feeling this way” sentence. if it were a friend of yours who was going through some hard times, would we say, “you shouldn’t be feeling this way” to him/her? probably not. when you think of it this way, it’s easier to see that in these type of sentences there can be some pressure and high expectations on the person hearing it. if the expectations are not met, then we might be facing
negative feelings such as disappointment, guilt, regret, shame, anger, unworthiness

this is the first step to being aware about the way we speak to ourselves sometimes, which can be pretty harsh. when we are aware of the way we speak to yourself, then comes the second step: we are both the person who speaks and the person who hears these things. if you can, take a moment to picture this in your head: two versions of yourself, one saying this kind of stuff to the other one who listens quietly to all of it

in episode two of our podcast series, I suggest the speaking to our inner child technique. if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and thinking about everything you should or shouldn’t do, try to pause for a moment and be aware of this negative self-talk. you can listen to the podcast episode in greater detail here

picture yourself when you were 5 or 6 years old. imagine you were saying the previous negative talk to that 5-year-old self. doesn’t it feel like a little harsh? that’s what’s happening right now. you are the same person, and you are speaking to yourself this way


choose kindness and compassion

when we reflect on the way we speak to ourselves, it’s easier to admit that maybe we could all speak a little kinder and more compassionate. the problem is that our minds are too busy hearing the negative talk, which brings along the negative feelings, and there’s no room for kind, compassionate and empathetic self-talk. so how do we communicate in a kinder way with ourselves?

first part, which is to be aware and acknowledge this negative self-talk, is already done. second part would be to compromise to take care of us by cooling the mind and making room for some gentleness. meditation and other types of self-care (physical, social, emotional, spiritual and mental) can be very helpful for easing the mind. also, practicing self-compassion can be one of the best approaches to change the mindset of negative self-talk. this may also include working on the acceptance of our shadowy parts, like the negative self-talk itself


in this blog we wanted to emphasize the first part because, even if it doesn’t look like it, it’s already a huge amount of mental health work achieved

sometimes just being aware and mindful about certain aspects of our mental struggles is the thing you need for the negative self-talk to ease a little. there’s a lot of potential in just acknowledging the way we speak to ourselves and being conscious about that, and that’s more than enough for now

want help with self-compassion? download the sidekick app and build your own mental health toolkit full of tips and tricks for having a better relationship with yourself

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *