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Self Confidence and the Way You Use Your Words

By Allan Cowley

The way we use language can have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves.

By that, I don't mean what language we speak (English, French, Spanish, etc) but how we communicate with ourselves and with others.

We all have a constant dialogue going on in our heads and this has a strong impact on our self confidence. If our internal dialogue is negative, then we tend to feel negatively about ourselves, our situations, our circumstances. Equally, if our self-talk is positive, we feel better.

Being aware of this negative dialogue is the first step to correcting it.

The conversations we have within ourselves are as if we are actually saying them at the pace, tone and volume we would use if we were speaking to someone else. This is one of the major reasons that they are so powerful; it feels like it is the truth because we wouldn't lie to ourselves. We need to be sure that what we say is supportive.

Listen to what you say to yourself on a regular basis. Are the things you say negative or positive? Are these thoughts making you feel how you want to feel?

Start by writing down some of the things you say to yourself on a regular basis.

Write down the thoughts you have regularly or that are specific to a situation you find uncomfortable (or worse). Write as many as you can recall. Leave a space between each note so that you can write underneath it at a later stage. Think about the times when a perceived lack of confidence has got in your way and what you were saying to yourself in those moments.

For example, do any of these internal dialogues sound familiar:-

"Stop right there before you get embarrassed."

"Why me?"

"I wish I could just walk up to that person and say hello."

"Do not try it because you always fail."

"I cannot stand up in front of all these people and make a speech."

"I never get it right."

"I need to do more than this."

"If only I had more courage."

"People think I am an idiot because I get so flustered."

"I cannot do this because I have no confidence."

You can see how these self comments are very negative and are not likely to help you get the results that you are wanting. Not only are they negative, but they contain some powerful words that just embed the feelings you do not want even deeper into your thinking. You are, therefore, not only being negative in that moment, you are setting yourself up to feel the same way the next time that situation arises.

Look at the specifically negative words in the above sentences.

  • embarrassed,

  • why,

  • wish,

  • fail,

  • cannot,

  • never,

  • need,

  • if,

  • flustered,

  • cannot.

Simply by using such words you are allowing yourself to be put into a negative way of thinking. You are bound to feel badly about a certain situation if you approach it with these thoughts.

Now take a note of HOW you talk to yourself i.e. the pace, tone and volume. Is your conversation fast, harsh and/or loud? It is not just the words you use but how you say them.

You have already written down some of your own internal comments and conversations. Take a look at your notes and see if you can identify the negative words you have used. They will probably stand out like a sore thumb. If you are like most people you will discover that the things that you say to yourself are not very helpful to you.

Now that you understand this point you can begin to change the words, sentences, tone, and volume of your internal dialogue.

When you are communicating with others, you should use the same techniques as described here. Although our most common conversations are internal, it is important to realise that the same rules apply when we are talking to other people.

Again, be aware of your words, how you speak and practice putting your new knowledge into action. When you change what you say and how you say it in conversation, you will start to notice that you are getting a much better response.

Remember, YOU CHOOSE YOUR WORDS, whether consciously or unconsciously, so make the decision to deliberately override your previous habits and use words, sentences, tones and feelings that help you to get the results that you want.

About The Author

Allan Cowley is a Life Coach working with clients throughout the world. He provides online coaching in self improvement, goal setting, time management and small business development.


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