Negative self-talk has kept me down and out for many years. The self-limiting beliefs I have had about my life perpetuated that miserable life. I lived life in accordance to irrational beliefs and doubt. I was spiritually bankrupt and on the highway to an early grave.
When it comes to beating odds you might say that I am lucky because by no means should I be here typing this post. I have lived through some pretty rough times homelessness, prison, addiction, and 5 overdoses to highlight just a few. Being a survivor has taught me many things about life, how I think about myself, and more importantly the story I chose to tell myself.
In this article, I will use negative self-talk, self-limiting beliefs, and inner speech interchangeably and all three will mean the senseless chatter inside our heads that deliberately aims to defeat us as successful entrepreneurs, freelance writers, parents, siblings or friends.
The Neuroskeptic blog found in Discover Online quotes the NSF estimating that we have between “12k-50k” thoughts per day. If this inner-speech is negative it is not difficult to determine the outcome. Of course, to what degree the self-talk affects our daily lives depends on how much truth we choose to give to the chatter. I feel my success or ease in completing tasks depends greatly on what I choose to believe in the story I tell myself.
The story we tell ourselves and believe determine what we get out of life
Self-talk is powerful and when we constantly repeat affirmations these words have a tendency to manifest within our lives. It doesn’t matter if the idea formulated is negative or positive, it will grow, and Earl Nightingale believes this is the strangest secret in the world!
I feel that I manifested the homeless street junky lifestyle I lived for many years. When I was in high school, I would joke about hopping a train to NYC and becoming the best hobo ever. When asked the question, “ What are you going to do with your life?” I would tell people, aunts, and uncles, guidance counselors and teachers that I wanted to be a street junk in NYC.
Years of practice, drinking and drugging, spending time in pool-halls and bars, with negative people and dangerous inner speech, set the course for a life of misery.
Did I manifest this life? Of course, I did. I believed the negative self-talk in my head. Phrases such as,
- I am nothing,
- I will never amount to anything, my life is useless and worthless,
- I am mistaken,
set the stage for tragic life. I joked with old friends that were at the university to become architects, lawyers, engineers, RN’s, and even detectives. I had a limiting belief for all opportunity that presented itself to me.
My inner speech kept me right where I joked I’d be, on the streets, homeless, alone, hungry and cold. The limiting beliefs I had of myself plagued me.
I lived in misery and squalor for many years. I grew tired of waking sick and penniless each and every day. Having to hustle all day to keep from getting sicker. I learned much about life and self-preservation and for reasons beyond my control, I never lost hope.
Other people believed and spoke differently of me. I looked inside and realized that I did not have to be the result of the story I told myself. I saw myself the way others saw me. Intelligent, resourceful, generous, deserving of a better life.
People never lost hope in me. I had support. These people had faith. I was spiritually bankrupt. I listened to what they shared with me. It made sense. I quit doing drugs, shut-up and started to listen. Deciding to change and pick me up off the ground was difficult, but so rewarding.
Once the decision to change was made, I started to talk to myself differently.
I had beat this life previously and fell back down the rabbit hole of self-destruction. The crawl would be slow and difficult. It was worth it to me, so I changed my story, believed it and made it better each day.
People believing in me helped push me into a new state. I had the drive and motivation. I stopped complaining, started reading and journaling for 6 hours a day. Picked a course to set sail towards and captained my ship forward full speed ahead.
It was not easy. My negative self-talk was powerful. I had to quiet that voice and demon in my head.
It worked and I am here typing this today. I am still working a day job as a substance abuse counselor, but I am transitioning to freelance content writer full-time.
Finally, I will reveal how my story relates to freelance writing?
Each morning and evening I have blocked out time to become the best freelance content writer I can become. The only way I can escape an employer and work for myself once again is by putting in the time, energy and effort.
I sometimes have to fight myself to begin the tasks of studying, practicing and writing great persuasive conversational copy. Sometimes it is even harder to sit down and start sending cold emails to companies I have chosen to pitch. Cold calling causes more stress just thinking about it?
Why? I feel all freelance writers, especially in the early years, have to fight through the same negative self-talk. Do you ever find yourself lost in negative thoughts such as,
- I am not good enough,
- here are so many other great writers I will never get great writing gigs,
- the market is saturated with freelance writers
- I need to learn more before I start pitching my services.
- I do not have any clips and previously published work, why would someone choose my services?
The list is endless, but it doesn’t have to be. The self-limiting beliefs can be defeated. Once we stop fighting our inner-speech, we only have one task left to do. WRITE!
Negative self-talk and self-limiting beliefs will try to sabotage our freelance writing career by working its way into our routines.
I feel negative self-talk is the sole reason for fear and doubt in regards to not becoming successful as a freelance writer. Inner speech is designed to protect us from dangerous situations and hurt. It can also become as annoying as the overprotective parent that doesn’t give you the space to learn and grow naturally.
I believe that negative self-talk is responsible for freelance writers and entrepreneurs
- to not be able to easily secure writing gigs
- the feeling our writing not flowing smoothly
- writer’s block
- fear to cold email or call marketing directors
This voice can be quieted and the irrational chatter stopped. By choosing to not give my inner speech the power to create disillusion and doubt I am able to move forward. Giving the voice of negative self-talk a name makes it easier to quiet him down.
The voice is negative. Therefore I have named him accordingly and I find it most fitting to just call out and tell her to off. I feel it is easier for me to tell “Sissy” to shut the hell up! I have named the voice Sissy for reasons that have filled many pages in the memoir I am writing. For the purpose of this article, I feel it is important to give the voice of negativity in your head a name that is relevant.
After naming the voice of self-limiting beliefs inside your head there are many ways to quiet him down.
Here are 3 ways I have learned to defeat my negative thoughts so I can keep moving forward towards my goals.
1. Affirmation or Positive Self-talk.
There is no better way to defeat a voice that continually aims to keep you down out of fear. Fear of rejection and failure are real but when this fear keeps you from working towards your goals it has to be stopped. One of the best ways that I have found to defeat negative self -talk is through practicing affirmations. Research has shown that repetition breeds success. If negative self-talk can keep you trapped in a routine of failure then the opposite must be true. Continual practice of positive affirmations is exercising the brain.
Before I start working on a writing assignment or task I start with an affirmation that I have purposely written with the aim to defeat negative self-talk and to affirm that I am working on providing people with useful information and help through my writing. This affirmation also reinforces why I chose to become a freelance writer. Tailor your affirmation to quiet the self-limiting beliefs you here. My affirmations are written to help me keep the reasons why I chose this life for myself and how my work helps others.
2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a psychotherapy that is concerned with solving certain problems or disorders by teaching people to change dysfunctional thinking or behavioral patterns. The diagram below shows the process CBT follows:
CBT can be used to defeat negative self-talk by finding ways to disprove the thought. By asking a series of questions relating to irrational thought.
- What evidence do you really have to believe the thought?
- What evidence is available to disprove the belief?
- Do I tend to believe my negative self-talk without evidence?
- How would a friend or mentor disprove this belief?
- Why do I choose to allow this thought to enter my mind?
- If I continue to believe this irrational thought how will it negatively affect my life?
After you have quickly run through the series of questions it becomes easier to see that the irrational thought is a way of perpetuating doubt or protecting yourself from rejection or failure.
As a freelance writer rejection and failure are inevitable. Both make you stronger as a person and writer. Therefore when you deny yourself, a learning experience you are giving up. When you chose to believe the negative self-talk you are succumbing to both at your own hands. It is easier to make an excuse for not trying because you have a false sense of control.
3. Change the story that you tell yourself
Too often you become victims of your own story. As a result, when this happens you may begin to purposefully sabotage your interests. It is easier to continue to live within the story created. Fulfilling roles and obligations and just letting life happen. Developing complacency and becoming stuck in an unfulfilling routine can cause spiritual bankruptcy.
From experience, it is known that it is easier to remain unhappy with life than change. You fight change. Change creates problems, We do not like problems.
I heard Tony Robbins say in one of the Power Hour Cd’s to not think of the problems change creates in our lives because we will always have more problems. You must think of problems as challenges. He goes on to say that we like challenges, so it becomes easier for us to face the change.
What happens when you start to tell yourself a new positive story? You become empowered. When you take a few minutes and visualize the life you want you to begin a process of change. The feelings of fear, agitation, frustration, and unworthiness are replaced. New feelings of happiness, certainty, success, and gratitude start to fill up your cells.
One way to begin to change your story is to start visualizing your new role in life. However, you should be mindful of how you will be once you have arrived at the top of the mountain.
Each morning during exercise or a walk thinks about the person you are becoming.
- How is your day spent providing real help for others?
- How do you overcome adversity?
- What are your new roles in the story of your successful freelance writing career?
- How does this new challenge make you feel?
Really feel yourself in your new role. Visualize yourself typing away, publishing great content, depositing paychecks, and seeing people read your posts, books, or website. Feel the stress and worry wash from your very self and breathe in a new power you.
This exercise can be as short or long as it needs to be, you have to do it. Each day add to the new story you are writing. Become empowered and let all your senses feel this new role being created. You must believe it’s possible and accessible to you.
Consequently, if you have lived a life with a story that was filled with misery, chaos, and struggle then you know that your thoughts do perpetuate your unease. You have nothing to lose and only to gain by changing the story and your role in life.
Unfortunately, these new feelings are not strong enough to produce the change. You must act and step up to the challenge. You only need to physically act your part each day. Accepting challenge and change, hurdle and hardship. Each little victory becomes your proof and foundation.
Believe. Act. Succeed.
Wrapping it Up
Limiting self-beliefs have caused enough havoc in your life. It is time to reel in the line and get a handle on how you have let the negative voice inside your head raise walls and barriers to keep you safe. Inner speech is destined to keep you from harm and pain. Therefore when you let the words flow through your thoughts unchecked, complacency with a crumby situation can become the norm. The subconscious mind finds it less painful to halt progress instead of allowing you to experience the pain of failure and rejection.
Practice ways to defeat the voices inside your head. Believe that the goal of negative self-talk is to sabotage opportunity as a means of keeping you safe from more mental pain and hurt. Develop a new routine to help push your forward into the new age of you. Finally, you are the only one who can captain your ship, so keep yourself focussed and on course towards success.
Positive affirmation, cognitive restructuring, and creating a new story are tools and your guide on this journey of self-realization.
Anything is possible. You just have to believe in yourself and the new vision in front of your eyes. I believed the story I told myself for many years. I stopped believing that story and amazing wonders started to appear to me. Therefore, if I a self-professed, complacent, homeless, NYC, street junkie could do it, so can you.It all depends on how bad you want to beat that voice inside your head as you become the new and improved best version of you.