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Mental Health

My Experiences With Negative Self-Talk: You Are Not Alone

We all have an inner critic that lurks in the front of our minds day in and day out. A critic which analyzes everything we do wrong and right. For some people, that inner critic never seems to shut off and it causes them to be unhappy and have their entire perspective on life flipped upside down. This is what people call negative self-talk. It is dangerous because it can warp the way we perceive and interact with our environment. In its simplest form, negative self-talk is a negative inner monologue with oneself. Whether it be self-deprecating jokes, being extremely critical or beating yourself up over something small or something that is out of your control. We constantly strive to be perfect or try to fit into a mould our parents put us in, our society and our environments because we think we are not given another option. We strain ourselves to do more than we can handle and end-up burning ourselves out and then proceeding to beat ourselves up because we did not push through and do more. But continuing with that negative thought pattern is not beneficial to our overall mental well-being.

I will admit, I have and still participate in similar inner monologues myself. It can be a hard habit to curb once you have done it for so long. I cannot think of a time when I had not thought this way about myself and ever tried to curb such thoughts. I allowed my inner voice to convince me to not try new things or even bother trying to get good at anything because I believed I would fail horribly and disappoint the people that I looked up to. This type of behaviour crippled my ability to be happy and my desire to discover new interests in life, whether it be travel, architecture, art, cooking, baking, drawing, working out, film, you name it. 

Oddly enough with quarantine this year as hectic as it has been, I have been able to self-reflect and begin to understand why I talk so negatively to myself and try to stop the behaviour that is directly affecting my happiness. A simple step aside from self-reflection that I did was to question my inner voice directly. When I say something negative about myself, I stop what I am doing and I think about the validity of the claim my inner critic made. I break down why I feel that way and see if there is truth to the claim. Certainly, I have a long road ahead of me, I know negative self-talk will not go away completely, but the important thing is that I started to do something for me, in a world that always tells me, us, to help others first. Helping other people is always the right thing to do, but sometimes we forget about ourselves.

The important lesson for you to take away from this article is that negative-self talk is not good for you. It stops you from achieving happiness and success you may have never imagined you wanted before. I know it is not an easy habit to kick and it will always be lurking somewhere in your mind ready to pounce on the next mistake you make. Some days when you are attempting to curb negative self-talk are going to be harder than others and that is okay. We all experience this inner voice. This is a reminder that you're not alone in dealing with these inner monologues. 

Sabrina Schoneveld

Wilfrid Laurier '24

Hi, I'm Sabrina! I'm currently a transfer student in a non-major program looking forward to transferring into the History BA program at Wilfrid Laurier University! When I'm not studying I enjoy watching movies, writing, reading, baking, or drawing.
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