Everyone, at one time another, gets discouraged. No matter how positive a person you are, or how successful you are, you have been discouraged at some point in your life. Perhaps you have even felt like giving up. Maybe you did give up.
What is the difference between people who get discouraged, but persevere, and those who give up instead? It can be how we talk to ourselves that makes all the difference.
Every single one of us has voices in our heads, talking to us, telling us what to do and how to feel about ourselves. Those voices may be recordings of how our parents talked to us. They may be reminders of how we began to think about ourselves based on certain events in our lives where we felt we had failed, or others did not like or respect us. Maybe they are replaying ideas we picked up from television commercials or magazine advertising, or from popular movies. They might even be based on childhood misunderstandings of something our parents said, or something we heard in church or from coaches or teachers. The psychological name for these voices is “self talk.” Self talk can be sources of discouragement or encouragement.
Often, we are not conscious of these voices, where they came from, or what they are saying. However, we do make decisions and act based on what these voices tell us. Here are some things the voices in your head might be saying:
I might as well eat another brownie. I’m never going to lose weight anyway.”
So, you eat the brownie. Or maybe the voice says:
I’m never going to amount to anything. I’ve already failed at everything I’ve ever tried.”
So, you procrastinate filling out your college financial aid forms. Perhaps you ask yourself:
What’s the point of keeping my resume up to date? I’m stuck at this dead end job for life. I’m lucky I haven’t been fired yet.”
So, you don’t keep your resume up to date and when the perfect opportunity comes along, someone who is more prepared beats you to the job.
On the positive side, your inner voices may be saying good things to you, such as:
I have the potential to accomplish my goals. I just have to keep working at it!”
It’s always best to be prepared in case opportunity knocks!
I don’t expect to be an overnight sensation. Every project I complete makes me more qualified and confident.”
What are the voices in your head saying? Learning to deliberately pay attention to what you are saying to yourself when you get discouraged, or right before you engage in any activity you know isn’t best for you, is fundamental to making the changes that are necessary to start living the life you really want to live.
Learn more about “self talk”