Does positive self talk work? This ultimately depends on one’s exact definition of what it means for something to “work”; generally speaking, however, positive self talk does demonstrate beneficial results — and I believe it also brings about positive life change, an outcome that I’ll discuss shortly.
Many people have a regular internal dialogue along the lines of I am not good enough or I am bad. Those who engage in this sort of self talk often don’t give it much consideration: they have been doing it for so long that it’s considered normal and / or is accepted as factual. This sort of talk is certainly damaging however, mostly because it is reinforcing.
What does this mean?
The more we express something, the more it becomes our genuine experience. This is to say that as we focus upon something, it manifests into our lives. To test the validity of this notion listen to your own talk, or to the talk of people around you. Is this talk typically congruent with the life experience of the one doing the talking?
I know of people who continually express that they are in poverty; and so they are, in spite of being fully employed in some cases. This demonstrates how powerful we really are, as it shows how our focus can completely override life circumstances that are at odds with this focus. This raises the question of what is genuinely “real”: the external world, or the internal world of our mental focus.
Which really influences the other? I believe, in fact, that our mental activity is what ultimately shapes — and even creates — our external reality. This is what I referred to earlier in this piece when I said that positive self talk creates positive circumstances. When we replace self talk that basically states Life is bad with self talk that states Life is good, then, guess what? Life starts to become good.
This is in direct contrast to the generally accepted perspective that life is fixed and does not move according to personal desire; life doesn’t do requests, is another way that this sentiment might be expressed. But is this really true? Again, have a look at typical mental focus and contrast this with the life experience. Are depressives unhappy because life is unhappy, or are depressives unhappy because they focus on unhappiness and so create it?
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
I, and anyone else, can express opinion on how mental focus affects life or does not. At the end of the day however there is only one opinion on the subject that counts — yours. How you come to this opinion is ultimately up to you, but there’s not much of a substitute for experience. Make an effort to express positive mental self talk about yourself and your life for a period of time and see what the results are.
Then you will know, for sure, if positive self talk really does work.