I am often asked if self-talk is affirmations. And certainly affirmations are a component of self-talk. Overall, self-talk is the myriad of ways you communicate with yourself. It’s what you say and also how you listen.
Sometimes self-talk is used to move away from something that is negative, to make it more bearable – like the way you may speak to yourself when you are feeling stressed and want to help yourself calm down.
Sometimes, it’s to go towards something positive – like how you may encourage yourself to pursue a dream.
And sometimes, self-talk is just to acknowledge what is going on, what your experience is. You are not trying to change it, or fix it.
You become your own witness. In doing so, you connect with yourself. You are no longer alone because you have showed up for yourself.
That happens when I tell myself what I am feeling. I show myself that I have noticed what is going on – just like you would with a good friend.
Say you met your friend and she was sad about something.
You would not ignore her. You may say something like this:
“I see how sad you feel. What’s wrong? Tell me about it.”
When I do that for myself, it’s like part of me relaxes because it has been noticed. We become one as opposed to me ignoring part of myself.
I am trying to make friends with my anxiety. Instead of seeing it like an enemy – like something I fight against -- I try to acknowledge that a part of me feels anxious. It’s not every part of me. It's just one part, and that part is my friend even if I don't like the way I feel.
Just acknowledging it has the power at times to calm me right down.
Feelings are like messages that one part of you is communicating to another part. They are neither good or bad. They are just messages hoping to be received and acknowledged.