One of the components of depression and anxiety are the messages we give ourselves about who we are. Negative self-talk has its roots in messages we held onto from childhood. They come from how significant people in our lives talked to us or treated us. The problem with the negative messages is that they are based on an inaccurate and incomplete picture of who we are.
A poll completed a few months ago found that Americans are the unhappiest they have been in 50 years*. People feel lonelier and less optimistic about the future. If you find yourself chronically unhappy, change the messages you are giving yourself and take action. Often when we are discouraged or depressed the negative mood is fed by self-talk that uses words like never, “you’ll never have any friends,” or always, “you always make mistakes.” This kind of self-talk says the negative judgement is permanent.
The reality is we are capable of great things. We all have the ability to positively impact this world. Lean into your strengths, gifts, and abilities and let go of defining yourself by old inaccurate messages that don't tell the true story of who you are. How we talk to ourselves about who we are can make or break our mood, our ambition, and even our relationship choices. What is interesting is that the founding fathers of our country spoke this directly into the cornerstone documents of America. They said, we are all...emphasis on all, ...endowed by our Creator with certain unchangeable rights,...among these are …the pursuit of Happiness. To the founders this meant not chasing happiness but “practicing happiness*.” Today try to take charge of your-self-talk and practice making it kind. Practice happiness by reminding yourself about your strengths and the people in your life who care about you.
When we are going through long periods of unhappiness-depression-or-anxiety...negative self-talk may be a contributing factor. Negative self-talk is rooted in unrealistic and untrue views of yourself. It ignores the good and your power to make a difference. Substitute your negative self-talk with these phrases:
- “I forgive myself for any mistakes I have made”
- “Today I am new person- I let go of the past”
- “I am learning and growing every day”
- “I am an overcomer”
- “I will be kind to myself”
- “I am a hard worker”
- “I am endowed by my Creator with unchangeable rights”
- “I am going to practice the right to life and happiness”
Everyday you are a new person. You've just completed 24 more hours of a lifetime of learning and growing. Today you can make different choices. Remember to catch yourself in-self-talk that uses words like “never” or “always” and then remind yourself that you are a new person today and you are going to be kind to yourself and make a positive difference in the world. Tell yourself you are a difference maker and then go help someone in need, that you are an encourager then reach out to a friend or that you're a doer and complete a project you can accomplish today. To overcome unhappiness you must be proactive. You have the power to make a positive difference in your life and the lives of others. Go out and do it.
-Jerry Strausbaugh, EdD, LPCCS, Executive Director