Eliminating Your Negative Internal Dialogue
In the video above, Dr. Phil examines the internal dialogue of a mom struggling with grief. "We don’t react to what happens in life," he tells her. "We react to what we say to ourselves about what happens in life."
Your internal dialogue powerfully programs and shapes your self-concept. If you believe you are worthy and strong, you will live up to that truth. The following exercises will help to focus your habits and patterns and hopefully set you free of some of your negative internal dialogue:
Exercise 1Pick a day for doing this exercise, preferably a day when you don't plan to be doing anything dramatic or out of the ordinary. Keep your journal or a small notebook and pen handy throughout the day. Make a series of appointments with yourself. Every two hours, stop what you're doing, take out the notebook, and simply jot down observations about the self-talk you've been having for the past two hours. Each of these eight or ten note-taking sessions need only take a few minutes. Write down what you've been telling yourself about:
- Your appearance.
- The work that you've been doing for the past two hours.
- Your intelligence.
- Your competence.
- Your skills and abilities.
- Your worth.
If you find it easier not to wait for the two-hour mark, but instead to jot things down as you hear yourself saying them, then by all means, do it that way. The point is to develop a thorough understanding of one day's internal dialogue, without completely upsetting your daily schedule.
Exercise 2Imagine that you are scheduled to make an important presentation at work tomorrow. A number of important customers or clients, as well as several of your coworkers and your boss, will be there watching. It's the night before. You're lying in bed, in the dark, thinking about the presentation. What are you saying to yourself?
Take whatever time you need to consider, honestly and thoroughly, the kinds of messages that would be going through your head. You'd be having a conversation with yourself, so what would you be saying? Write down as much of this conversation as you can.