Talk Back to Negative Self-Talk and Make It Go Away

November 17, 2017 Emily Roberts MA, LPC

If you talk back to negative self-talk logically, you can quickly improve your mental health and self-esteem. Discover how get rid of negative self-talk here.Do you know how to talk back to your negative self-talk? Knowing how to identify negative self-talk first is important because what you tell yourself becomes your reality. When your core beliefs are self-critical, doubtful and make you feel inadequate, your self-esteem suffers tremendously. The good news is if you are willing, you can talk back to negative self-talk and transform it dramatically with just a little effort.

Get Ready to Talk Back to Negative Self-Talk

I like to think of negative self-talk as a bully in your brain. You didn't create it, your emotions and invalidation from the world around you allowed these thoughts to develop and permeate in your mind. The problem is that so many people have become immune to these feeling and beliefs that they find it hard combat them, but it just takes willingness.

Willingness is the ability to recognize what isn't working and the will or desire to try something new. A few days ago I had some negative self-talk bringing me down. I didn't like how I was feeling so I decided to write down what the thoughts were troubling me. "I always forget my passwords, I'm such a mess. I should've put it on my phone; how could I forget my password again?"

It may sound like a minor meltdown in my mind, but these thoughts were spiraling and making me feel insecure about my life. By noticing the extremes and false statements, I was able to talk back to the negative self-talk with logic (I don't always do this and everyone makes mistakes), and it improves my mindset.

I talk to so many people who want to be more confident but don't do the work. No matter what goals you have in life, whether it's to get paid more or gain more confidence, it takes a little practice and planning. But I will say, learning to overcome negative thinking patterns and create a more positive dialogue with yourself can be he lot easier than you may think.

How to Notice Your Negative Self-Talk

In my example above I simply noticed that I was feeling insecure and tried to find out what the bully in my brain was saying. So first, observe the emotion and then notice what the thoughts are. When you observe what triggers these thoughts, you're likely to catch them in the future before they catch you.

All-or-nothing thinking is negative self-talk, and when you notice it coming up you can stop it from taking over. These words are often a sign that the bully in your brain is trying to interfere with your confidence and self-esteem:

  • Always
  • Never
  • Should/should've
  • Could/could've
  • Must

Talk Back to Negative Self-Talk in Three Steps

  1. Write the thought down. As painful as it can be to see these thoughts on paper, it is so brave and effective. Why? When you write it down you can see how distorted the thought is; it's not you, it's the bully.
  2. Talk back with facts. Break down the belief by questioning its validity. Can you find evidence for why this thought isn't true? Come up with comments that disprove it. Do you see how untrue the negative self-talk is? If not, if you still believe what the bully is saying, try the next tool.
  3. Check your facts. When examining the self-talk or the situation that started it, are there any interpretations, assumptions, or judgments in the description? Is it possible there are other interpretations of the situation? What would someone who loves you say about the situation? Can you look at it from another point of view and find facts to discount the statement? Try it.

When examining my own negative self-talk I was able to see the extreme words right away which helped me talk get in a more realistic mindset. I realized that no one else in my life would say that about me. This process gets easier the more you practice it. My hope is you can begin to catch the bully in your brain before it catches you this week.

APA Reference
Roberts, E. (2017, November 17). Talk Back to Negative Self-Talk and Make It Go Away, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

November, 19 2017 at 4:00 pm

I am in my thirties. I am single, underemployed, and childless. I am already suffering from anxiety because of all the holiday gatherings that are coming up. I do not enjoy social gatherings anymore. I spend a lot of hours reading self-help books, meditating, and exercising to reduce my anxiety. Just when I am beginning to enjoy the simple things in life and trust divine timing, I have family members and friends who remind me of all the things that I do not have, experiences I am missing out on, and how am going to regret not having kids and how I will pay the price once a become a senior. It is painful enough to want your own family and be unable to get it, to have others press your emotional weak spots. I need some advice. How should I deal with this type of social pressure and lack of understanding?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 20 2017 at 3:17 am

Hi Mercedes,
That must be tough, to be going through an experience where you need support and instead getting exactly what you don’t need. Unfortunately, we live in a society in which other people have the belief that your situation is a bad one. But why does it have to be seen that way?
In terms of dealing with the anxiety, I think you’re doing a great job of self-care, by reading, meditating and exercising. These are all positive habits and the fact that you spend so much time doing them means you truly want to get better. This is something certainly to be proud of, which friends and family should only be pleased about.
I hope you can get to a place where you can see that being single, underemployed and childless doesn’t have to determine your self-worth or happiness. Actually, many people regret not spending more time being single and working on themselves, or they regret working too much or having kids at the wrong time and missing out on fulfilling their personal goals and projects.
I know it’s hard to live life on your own terms, in an authentic way. But friends and family don’t always know what is best for you, even if they deeply care about you. Sometimes you need the courage to trust your own judgement. The next time they make judgements about your situation, be honest about how you feel. If they’re making you feel worse, tell them. If you don’t get the non-judgemental, empathic support you need from them, think about a person who might be able to offer this and reach out to them.
All the best,

Emily Roberts MA, LPC
November, 20 2017 at 6:11 am

Hi Mercedes,
I'm so happy you reached out. You are right the holidays are super taxing and our families can often be invalidating. I want to echo some of what Sam said which is GOOD FOR YOU GIRL. You are doing the right thing by taking the time for self-care and building a mindfulness/spiritual practice. That means you are building the foundation to allow yourself to have all the things you want in the future--if you even want them in the future. I've found that when others "voice their concerns" about the choices we make they are mirroring their own insecurities. They just don't have the awareness to see that. Spend more time with friends or with yourself; set limits on the amount of time you are around them and make plans (meditation centers, yoga, meetups or whatever is fun for you) so that you have events to look forward to. When you find yourself judging your choices remember that this is the time to re-frame and get back into alignment with the work you've been practicing, to be compassionate and kind to yourself. Let me know if this helps. Keep up the good work!!! Em

November, 20 2017 at 4:08 pm

Emily and Sam, thanks for the support and advice! I really appreciate it.

Vanessa pacheco
July, 30 2018 at 1:16 am

I need help in getting over my ex and what caused our break up

Vanessa pacheco
July, 30 2018 at 1:19 am

It really sucks for me going to stores cause i get anxious and get panic attacs like i cant breath around alot of people its like i feel like everybody is againts me

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