Self-Talk — Changing the Way We Speak to Ourselves

There can be a remarkable lack of kindness and compassion in the world for others and the situations they may be going through. However, you may tend to be your own worse critic, and many times you might become your own worse bully as well. It can weigh on you heavily when you make mistakes, regrettable decisions, or disappoint yourself and the people you care about. 

How you react to these mistakes, decisions, or disappointments and the way you speak to yourself in that situation will affect how positive or negative the fall out of that scenario is. You should be, within reason, critical of yourself and your actions when you have a chance to correct your mistakes and improve your behaviors. However, you have to treat and speak to yourself with love as well. 

You may be someone who is currently struggling with addiction, substance use disorder (SUD), or other co-occurring mental illnesses. If so, you may be feeling degraded and discouraged while trying to enter into recovery. If you forget to treat yourself with kindness, you are only adding to the problem. By simply changing the way you speak to yourself, you can substantially affect the chances of recovering successfully long term. 

It is through rewiring your brain to think positively and not degrade yourself that you can begin to love yourself more. In turn, you can make positive decisions that benefit your overall health and well-being.

Dangers of Negative Self-Talk

It may be difficult to fully believe the dangers and concerns of negative thoughts and words. Anyone who has ever been bullied or has been harshly taunted by a group of peers knows firsthand just how painful being verbally degraded can be. 

The more people tell you that you are worthless, weak, or that you can never recover, the more you begin to believe it. The same holds true for the thoughts you begin to think and tell yourself. You can try your best to avoid the people hurting you the most, but when your thoughts and feelings about yourself are tormenting you, there is almost no escape.

The human brain is a pretty extraordinary thing. It is impressive how it retains information and correlates to your feelings and perceptions. When you fall into a habit of constantly telling yourself you are worthless or incapable of change and or recovery, your body and brain continue to believe it more and more. This distorted image of yourself makes it difficult to rewire how you have wired your brain to think. 

This is especially true when you have entered into a treatment program, as these negative thoughts and feelings about yourself will hinder your treatment and recovery. The less you believe you can recover, the lesser the chance you will. It is common to underestimate the power of words. However, the detrimental effects negative comments from yourself to yourself can have on your ego, self-esteem, and overall mental health is incredible.

Changing the Way You Speak to Yourself

Self-deprivation is a common coping mechanism, whether you use humor to deflect difficulties or create a sense of irony around your insecurities. In either scenario, it is feasible that self-deprivation in and of itself becomes an extreme that you struggle to quit, much like an addiction. In those situations, treatment methods like talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and even alternative forms of treatment can teach you how to change the way you think and speak regarding yourself.

Self-compassion requires a balanced combination of mindfulness and shared humanity. In most instances, learning self-kindness can be achieved by changing your perspective. Instead of seeing yourself as someone struggling with addiction, you could view yourself as a fighter combating mental illness. If you experience a relapse, you should not tell yourself that you are weak. It would be best if you instead reminded yourself that you are human and are going to make mistakes. Generating a list of mantras to remind yourself of the value you add to the world might help rewire your brain of its negative thoughts. 

If learning to practice self-compassion is something you hope to achieve post-treatment, it can be a topic of focus in your relapse prevention program. When you make mistakes, there is plenty of flack you will receive from others. At the very least, you owe it to yourself to give yourself a break and start fresh the next day. As you practice kindness towards others, ensure you are practicing kindness with yourself. 

The world we live in today is full of toxicity almost everywhere we turn. This often presents itself as unable to show kindness and compassion to those we encounter daily. We, too, fail to consider how toxic it can be to not show kindness and compassion to ourselves. There are trials and tribulations to endure, especially for individuals suffering from mental illnesses like addiction or SUD. Whether it be from individuals who judge actions influenced by your disease or people who simply do not understand, you may encounter those who make you feel weak or that you are too far gone from achieving recovery. Many people think this way about themselves already. If you constantly tell yourself that you will never successfully recover, it becomes more and more likely that you will not. If you struggle with addiction and are looking to practice more self-compassion, seek recovery today by calling The Lakehouse Recovery Center at (877) 762-3707