Those pseudo-inspirational workplace posters annoy me. You know the kind I’m talking about — the ones that say “SUCCESS” and “ENDURANCE” in all caps below some nature-themed stock photography surrounded by a thick black border? Yeah. They’re all over my office, and …

6 Comments to
Got Low Self-Esteem? Don’t Ditch the Positive Self-Talk Just Yet

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  1. Great post, Summer :)

    For me, self-talk tends to work best when I’m “aggressive” about it. For example, if I’m feeling particularly down, just saying to myself “I’m a good person” or “I’m a nice person” or “I’m a talented person” does not get the job done. (Why? Because I’m also very aware that it’s just self-talk and of what it’s supposed to do, so that kind of defeats the purpose for me.)

    However, if – while I’m saying/thinking one of those things or some variation of one of those things – I also smile, laugh, remember a time that “proves” one of those things, the results are usually better.

    And, then, there are times when I just need to give myself a swift kick :)

  2. Thanks Alicia! :)

    What you said in the first paragraph of your comment got me thinking today — the phrase used in the study was “I am a loveable person”. The phrases that you used above are “I’m a good person”; “I’m a nice person”; “I’m a talented person”. All of the above begin with “I am”. Maybe self-talk if more effective when it implies action: “I treat others nicely” or “I write and sing well”. Or maybe when it’s more specific. Or maybe when you give it a reason (“I am a good person because I enjoy helping people”).

    I like the reason-based theory. It makes a lot of sense to me, given that providing evidence is a good way to persuade others. And if I remember correctly, Robert Cialdini wrote in “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” something about how we can persuade others just by using the word “because” — even if the argument that follows the “because” is fairly weak. If I weren’t at work right now — surrounded by these fantastic motivational posters — I’d grab my Cialdini book and give you a better citation!

  3. “We can persuade others more easily when we believe what we’re saying; so, doesn’t it make sense that we can persuade ourselves in the same way?”
    Good point! Now I know how to answer when I am scold about not thinking enough positive about myself!
    “I like the reason-based theory”
    Thank you, Summer!

  4. This is false, everything you tell yourself you believe in some degree.

  5. This is all very interesting to me. I have been researching positive self talk for the day and I believe that it is beast to do it only when you believe it to be true. If I hate myself then telling myself that “I am lovable” will just make me feel worse, but if I tell myself that I did a good job on something that I know I did a good job on than I am less likely to feel so bad about myself.

  6. We talk to ourselves all the time and when doing so we must ensure we are telling ourselves the right things and the the negative stuff.

  7. For me the key is to become aware of what the self talk is. When I pay closer attention I can catch negative self talk and reframe it into more positive statements. Consciously directing the self talk can make a huge difference in how I feel about doing certain things.

  8. I believe that positive self-talk works when it is applied correctly. Anyone researching positive self-talk I highly recommend Shad Helmstetters’ book, “What to say when you talk to yourself”. He talks about how our subconscious is programmed constantly throughout our lives and the programming is key to positive self-talk. As stated in one of the comments above, I believe as well, that positive self-talk works when we believe the statements that we are making. Now ask yourself this; How many of us were born into this world with the program to think, I am a bad person, I am no good or I do not believe? No one is born with this type of programming. It is what we end up believing after our subconscious is programmed to believe it. So yes we do have to believe what we’re saying to ourselves which is why we must target our “beliefs” with our self-talk because we already do believe the positive things we are saying, it is our subconscious programming that is telling us not to. But, just like a computer, any program that can be created can be deleted and replaced with a new one! That’s what self-talk is, the re-programming of our subconscious, and I don’t know of any computer program complex enough to do something that powerful that could be written overnight! If you haven’t already I suggest reading Shads’ book, it will put a new light on positive self-talk. Even if you already use it, and I think that most of us do to a certain extent without even realizing it. Naturally, we are believers!

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