Synopsis: This mini love lessons starts with the surprising importance of self talk; then goes to what is self talk; what is positive and negative self talk; some things to do about better self talk and love relationship improvement; more.
The Surprising Importance of Self TalkSelf talk is very important in all sorts of ways. It can be especially useful in improving love relationships.
Recently researchers were surprised to learn just how important self talk could be to our physical, mental, emotional and relational health. Negative self talk can lower one’s immunity, cause destructive stress hormones to flow in the body, and increase a whole lot of other physically, unhealthy things. Mental efficiency is decreased, anxiety mounts, and self confidence can take a dive, all because of negative self talk. It is thought that couples who practice negative self talk tend to fight more, and breakup more and are far less happy in their relationships. The allover happiness in families seems to decrease if there is an abundance of negative self talk. Certain kinds of positive self talk have produced the exact opposite results in individuals, and couples, and families and friendship networks.
What Is Self Talk?Self talk has to do with how we talk out loud, or silently to ourselves about ourselves. It includes what we think about our own thinking, our feelings and our behavior past, present and future. It expresses our attitude toward who we are, how we are, and what is best and worst about ourselves. Self talk is seen as ‘setting us up’ for future success or failure. Self talking can encourage or discourage us when facing difficulties, help us feel weak or strong, and many other similar things depending on whether self talk is negative or positive.
What Is Positive and Negative Self Talk?If the way you talk to yourself, about yourself and your life is mostly critical, judgmental, full of putdowns, punishing remarks, demeaning, derogatory, fearful, guilt ridden, hopeless, deficiency-oriented, etc. then it is negative and very likely quite unhealthy. If, on the other hand, the way you talk to yourself is realistically balanced toward the positive, affirmative, laudatory, self rewarding, encouraging, challenging; if it is toward improvement, includes recognition of limitations without bad feeling, is more proud of attributes than unhappy about shortcomings and is in awe of the many miracles that make up a self, then it is likely to be very positive and quite helpful and healthful. The inclusion of mild self depreciatory humor coupled with pride of qualities and achievements, and the ability to enjoy one’s own idiosyncratic ways also can be seen as part of the positive picture.
Where Does Our Self Talk Come From?Originally most of our self talk comes from the way we were talked to is a child and the way we heard others around us talking when we were young. If we had a highly critical parent we are likely to talk to ourselves about ourselves in highly critical ways. If, on the other hand, our parents were more realistically prone to appreciative affirmation, praise and compliments and thankful statements, we are much more likely to talk to ourselves about ourselves in the same way. Some therapists like to explain this as ‘your incorporated copy of your parents’ or your ‘inner parent self’ talking to you from your subconscious.
Self talk can come from how you choose and teach yourself to talk to yourself about yourself. That can replace old messages with new and better messages. And, of course, this re-training takes a fair amount of work but usually it is quite worth it.
How Does Self Talk Effect Love Relationships?Self talk has a number of important positive or negative effects on our love relationships. One of them works this way. If we are talking continuously critically and ‘down’ to ourselves, it may help us to tend to try only for love relationships with those who are less than we see ourselves to be. This can lead us to repeatedly get involved with ‘losers’. If we do achieve a love relationship with someone better than we see ourselves to be, that negative self talk can assist us in feeling insecure, suspect our love mate will find someone better than we are, and abandon us for that person. Thus, jealousy, possessiveness and fear-based relating can come to dominate our relationship instead of healthy, real love.
If you continually put yourself down in self talk, you are likely to go down emotionally, making you less fit for good, love relating. You also can make yourself very suspicious, mistrusting and unbelieving when affirmational love comes your way. That can help you end up love-starved. Those who have adequate, healthy self-love are better at being nourished by the love that does come their way. When you do realistic, positive, self-affirmation self talk, you have more to give and you are more likely to go around in your world more friendly and more loving. That generally attracts other people who want to be friendly and loving to you.
By the way, coming across egotistical, stuck up, superior, etc. does not represent a person who actually loves themselves healthfully, but rather someone who is trying too hard but in self-defeating ways. So, it is okay to brag briefly, which many people find rather charming because it shows you believe in yourself and are confident about yourself, but remember – briefly.
Self Talk for Healthy Self-LoveIt turns out that realistic, positive self talk can be super important for the development of healthy self-love. Being able to encourage yourself through a challenge with “You can do it” and similar affirmations, can make a huge difference as to whether you will succeed or not. Healthy, loving self talk can help you to be proud of yourself for accomplishments, attributes, qualities, etc.. And loving, positive self talk generally can help you be more effective and happier with yourself and with your life.
Talking to yourself hatefully or in any other way negatively, or just indifferently, tends to have a weakening effect which can lead to increased anxiety and depression.
The Importance of Positive, Future-Oriented Self TalkOne of the best ways for self talk to help a love relationship improve, works like this. Imagine saying to yourself, “Hello John (or whatever your name is). I’m your inner self and I want to tell you to give a lot more physical affection and praise to your wife today. You really can make her feel especially good, like no one else can, so get busy and start right now. You want to become a more loving person and this will help you do just that, and it will keep you getting better at it.” You can talk, challenge and orient yourself to love improvements by encouraging yourself to learn and practice getting good at the major love skills taught in the mini-love-lessons found at this site. Encouraging self talk is often a big help in going forward with just about everything. Obviously, discouraging self talk has the opposite effect.
Be and Do Self AffirmationDo you ever tell yourself you are worth loving? Do you own-up to the fact that you are a wondrous bunch of miracles and that is the nature of your being? You don’t have to do anything but recognize that, and feel good about it because it is a ‘being’ thing rather than a “doing” thing. You are a unique work of art that also can get something done. Both your being and your doing make you worthwhile, not just your doings. You can see yourself by one or both of two ways. Either your being is a wondrous work of God or of millions of years of evolution. Either way, you are a bundle of miracles – own that!
Self Love’s Relationship to Other Love and Self TalkHave you heard it said “you have to love yourself in order for other people to love you”? That is not exactly true but it hints at an important idea. It does seem to work out that the more you healthfully love yourself the better others will love you too. A lot of love-filled self talk often seems to result in more love coming your way from others. That is probably because you become more lovable and probably more loving by that kind of self talk.
Some Things to Do for Better Self Talk and Love Relationship ImprovementTry writing down some statements you would like to hear you tell yourself. Then do it. Tell yourself statements you want someone else to tell you, and then ask them to do so as you also tell those statements to yourself. Make a list of ‘100 Good Things’ about yourself – small, medium and large things; then talk positively to yourself about how each of those things is true and be happy about it. Then get someone you love to do the same thing.
Then say things from each other’s list to each other. Give yourself praise and be glad about how you are unique and different from others, instead of being a dull, normal copy of other people’s standards. Work to be more ‘up’ on yourself than down on yourself every day, and do that with the words you say to yourself. Also you might want to get a copy of the June, 2015 issue of Psychology Today, which has as its main feature article, a rather good presentation about Your Inner Voice. It touches on recent discoveries and what is known, useful and important about self talk.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
What do you think of the idea that says your self love determines how much and how well others will love you?
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