I often hear my Santa Barbara therapy clients talk about themselves in very negative terms!  I hear them say something similar to, “I am just so stupid.  I can’t do anything right.”  If they’re saying it in session, I can’t help but wonder how often they say it otherwise — and how much it’s coloring their sense-of-self.

I always stop them, and ask if they realize what they’ve just said.  Nine times out of ten, they have no idea what I’m talking about.  They are so used to putting themselves down that they have no conscious awareness of it anymore.

Emotional abuse leaves scars, whether it’s coming from someone else or from ourselves.  These types of messages are usually “old tapes.”  At some point in our lives, we’ve been put down by someone close to us on a regular basis.  We’ve internalized those messages, and now we say them to ourselves.

Please stop and think about the put-downs you use day after day in your self-talk!  It harms you in so many ways.  Life can be challenging at times, and we need to build ourselves up — not tear ourselves down — if we want to overcome our challenges.

Start with building awareness of how you speak to yourself.  When you become aware of negativity, begin to change your messages to be supportive of yourself and your efforts.  Encourage yourself.  Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend.  Be patient.  Change takes time, but it’s so worth it! You’re worth it!

Until next time,



  • Oh my, yes, this is SUCH wise and valuable guidance, Linda!!! We should always be our own best friends, but it’s so easy to get sucked into negative self-talk and other patterns when things aren’t going well in our lives…which often leads to a downward spiral. I have definitely been in that sort of place for the last year or so, and have recently been reminding myself to think and speak kind words, and do positive, uplifting activities. This has really helped to bring me out of my funk. 🙂

    • Thank you, Teri! I’m glad that you feel the post has good value. I’m sorry that you’ve been struggling with this negativity. You are definitely worth patience and kindness — as we all are. It’s great that you are now pulling yourself gently out of that negative space, and thinking and speaking “kind words,” and doing “positive, uplifting activities.” I know that you treat others with gentle kindness, so that just needs to be extended to yourself. I’m sending you caring, supportive thoughts. 🙂


  • Yes too often we engage in negative self talk. It only perpetuates abusive talk that others may have instilled in us when we were young. It serves no good purpose. Positive self talk makes us feel so good!!

    • Thank you, Lisa! You’re so right. Negative self-talk serves absolutely no purpose. It can be so subtle, though, that we may not even notice it. That’s where a lot of the problem comes in. We can’t change what we aren’t aware of.


  • It’s amazing how cruel we can be to ourselves. The things we say in our heads can be down right awful, something we wouldn’t even say to our worst enemies, yet we’re content to say it to ourselves like a broken record.

    Positive self thought is so powerful.

    Calla Gold

    • It’s so true, Calla! We do great damage to our sense-of-self when we do this over and over. I doubt if there’s anyone who does not do this at least part of the time — including me. I’m pretty aware, but I still do it. Saying unkind things to ourselves is something that we need to be vigilant about, so we can replace those negative thoughts with positive ones.


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