There’s nothing wrong with a little negative thinking; it can turn your anxiety into action and allows you to prepare more and try harder. However, being too critical with yourself can hurt your motivation and drive over time. If your inner voice is constantly calling you lazy and not good enough, you’re going to tend to believe that whereas if it’s coming from “someone else,” you’re more likely to question it.
The one way I keep that negative voice in check is to give her a name. “Sally” calling me lazy and no good makes me think twice about whether that is really true. Typically, it makes me defensive and I can start pointing out all the positive aspects of myself rather than the negative. Over time, I’ve found that by giving my negative, inner voice a name keeps me from automatically believing everything “Sally” says. This allows me to quickly recognize my negative thought pattern and start turning the dialogue around.
Essentially, it’s easier to ignore another person than you can ignore yourself. If “Sally” starts criticizing me, I can defend myself or tell her she’s wrong and to shut it. Again, self criticism can be helpful for example when reviewing your work – just be mindful of being excessively negative and critical of yourself otherwise that can lead to motivation-killing perfectionism.
It’s all about finding balance. I hope this quick tip can help you keep your mean, inner voice in check. If you have any tips on how you control your negative thoughts, please let me know in the comments!