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Negative Self-Talk: Top 10 Things NOT to Say to Yourself

negative self-talkMany of us inflict so much suffering upon ourselves through negative self-talk. It’s really amazing when you think about it. So much suffering due to words running through our minds…

In this post I’d like to share my top 10 self-damaging negative self-talk examples – what we tend to say to ourselves. I have my own experience with negative self-talk, believe me!

One tool for overcoming negative self-talk, as is commonly taught in NLP training, is to call it what it is. I’ll say more about that in a minute. Here is my list of the top ten things to avoid saying to yourself.

1. I’m not worth it.

This is a direct assault on your self-esteem and it is simply not true! Telling yourself you are not “worth it” only perpetuates negative beliefs you may have picked up early in life.

2. There’s no use.

Telling yourself there is no use steals your personal power and leaves you with no motivation.

3. I can’t do it.

Again, very disempowering. There are times when you truly cannot do something, however, most of the time this one is delivered as more of a self-attack than a statement of fact.

4. I’ll never follow through.

This is a set up for failure before you really get started. We all know that success comes one day at a time. Telling yourself you will fail before you get started is shooting yourself in the foot.

5. People won’t like me.

A set up for rejection. When you enter a new situation telling yourself that people won’t like you, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy!

6. Others are better than I am.

We all tend to compare ourselves to others. Sometimes we exercise prejudice against ourselves, though. Telling yourself that others are better than you is an assault on your self-worth.

7. I am not enough.

A huge one for people who feel inadequate to meet the demands of life. A sense of personal inadequacy is very discouraging – don’t reinforce it!

8. I must be perfect.

The way to guarantee failure is to criticize yourself whenever you are imperfect, which is all the time. We are perfectly imperfect!

9. My opinion doesn’t matter.

More low self-esteem in this statement. To say this one to yourself, you must consider yourself unworthy.

10. I’ll never be any different.

We say this as if we are written failure into stone. It’s a hopeless thought. Just say no to this one!

What To Do About Negative Self-Talk

Follow these steps to get a better handle on your negative self-talk:

1. Catch yourself. So often we run on autopilot and allow our minds to ruin our day. So, start each day with the conscious goal to catch yourself saying negative things.

2. Call a spade a spade. Next, label what you just said! Recognize it as negative self-talk.

3. Use the following formula: “I just had the thought…” (repeat the negative thought here).

If you caught yourself saying, “I am not worth it,” for example, then you would pause and say, “I just had the thought, ‘I am not worth it.’”

Using this formula securely labels the thought as a mere thought. If you do not realize that what you said was just a thought, you run a higher risk of taking it personally and allowing it to ruin your day.

4. Take a deep breath and move on!

I hope you found this post helpful! If negative self-talk persists in spite of employing these methods, then you may have an underlying attachment that maintains the self-sabotage. Please watch this free video to learn more about negative attachments.

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Negative Self-Talk: Top 10 Things NOT to Say to Yourself

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2017). Negative Self-Talk: Top 10 Things NOT to Say to Yourself. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 17 Jan 2017
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