With the growth of social media usage, it’s become easier to turn to our phones when we need distractions, have some free time or even trying to navigate through our boredom. There has been a lot of good that’s come from social media, such as finding a community of people who are interested in the things you are, outlets to share personal stories and, of course, natural hair tutorials. While social media does bring us all of these amazing things, it’s hard to escape some of the toxicity that comes with it as well.
Whether it has to do with followers or feeling like you’re not doing enough — which is often brought on by comparing ourselves to another via their social media — it can leave you feeling a little less than great about yourself. Often times, we’re hard on ourselves for things we’re not doing and the things we don’t have, but the mean things we tell ourselves aren’t healthy.
Those conversations we have with ourselves, the most intimate and personal ones, are called self-talk. Self-talk is a crucial part of our being because it’s often what we listen to the most. Byrdie’s in-house psychologist, Heather Silvestri, shared some tips on practicing more positive self-talk and sharing tips on being kinder to ourselves to help manage and/or avoid negative spirals.
Photo: Abena Boamah
Silvestri defines self-talk as the “ongoing conversation we have with ourselves about who we are and how we are in the world.” Our self-talk can take the route of happiness, upbeat and motivating just as easily as it can take the route of negativity and hinderance.
The first step towards learning your self-talk language is to observe how you view yourself — slowing down, taking deep breaths and engaging in self reflection can help you make note of how you converse with yourself throughout the day. Of course, this is easier said than done, but it’s your starting point. If you’re having trouble noticing the narrative, key into your more emotional moments and take note of how you respond to yourself for being upset or handling an altercation.
“The good news here is that the more you become aware of the tone and content of your own self-talk, the easier it is to change it, and with that, you can improve your mood and engage in more affirmative activity,” shares Silvestri with Byrdie.
Silvestri also recommends abiding by the “friend or child” rule — pretending that you’re conversing with a friend or a child when practicing self-talk. When speaking to children, we naturally have more patience and filtered conversation. It’s easy to forget that we all have wounds (emotionally and mentally) that are better tended to with care as opposed to the hardened version that you would give an adult.
The journey towards being kinder to yourself and practicing kinder self-talk isn’t always the easiest, especially when society can sometimes feel like it’s sole purpose is to bring us down, but practice and patience are key. Adding some daily practices into your routine such as journaling and meditating, can help you slow down from all of the things around you and connect back to yourself. Being in cruise control is very real and sometimes necessary, but ensure to check back in with yourself, be kind and forgiving and always remember that you’re continuing to grow.
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