What can you tell yourself that you don’t already know? A whole lot.
In the privacy of your mind you constantly talk to yourself. Your inner monologue might seem pointless at times, but the truth is the act of talking to yourself can help you learn and maintain a positive lifelong trajectory. Therefore, collected below are six effective topics for self-talk, so the next time you talk to yourself you will know exactly what to say.
1. What you love.
When it comes to lifelong labors and dreams, lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only way to work and live.
Invest your thoughts and time in the things you love. Don’t wait around for too long to get involved in something that moves you. Realize how important it is to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, explore it. Get up and go after it. Embrace it, hug it, love it, and above all, let your passion flow freely.
The most important decision you will ever make is what you do with the limited time that has been given to you. Before you know it you’ll be asking, “How did it get so late so soon?” So put your thoughts and time to good use, and let yourself be drawn to the strange pull of what you love – doing so will not lead you astray. Live your life so that when you’re old, you never have to let the person you became fantasize about the person you were capable of being.
2. Your own inner truth.
Why worry about what others think of you? Should you have more confidence in their opinions than you do your own?
Truth be told, how others see you is not nearly as important as how you see yourself. To be happy means to live confidently in your own skin – to be faithful to that which exists within you. What you’re doing by being yourself is you’re keeping it real, and you’re being really brave.
When you choose to stay true to YOU, some people might refuse to accept you for who you are. Forget them. Rather than being fake and incurring the pain and confusion of trying to be someone you’re not, choose to stand strong, even at the risk of incurring ridicule. When you are comfortable in your skin, not everyone in this world will like you, and that’s perfectly OK. You could be the ripest, juiciest apple in the world, and there’s going to be at least a few people out there who hate apples. (Read The Untethered Soul.)
3. What you are willing to sacrifice for your goals.
When it comes to goal setting, you must be specific. If you find yourself talking to yourself about wanting everything, it means you are treacherously close to achieving nothing. It means you are avoiding the effort required to get anywhere at all.
Usually, it’s not too difficult to decide what you want your life to look like in a year from now. What is difficult is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things that must be done to get to where you want to go.
This takes serious commitment, and it requires transient discomfort. When you decide to aim for something higher, you must be willing to suffer a bit of vertigo – the fear of falling. And you must be willing to fight against that voice of emptiness below you which tempts and lures you to believe that you don’t have enough strength to ascend any higher.
4. The little victories of each day.
Sometimes the human mind operates in mysterious ways when it comes to achievements and happiness. We dream of something and we wait and wait and feel like it’s taking forever to arrive. Then it does and it’s over, and all we really want is to curl back up in that moment before things change again.
Although there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a fulfilled dream, you must realize that it’s just one small moment of your life. Like every other moment, this one instance of victory is fleeting. Lifelong happiness is not found in any one particular moment, it’s found in all the moments and memories leading up to our inevitable sunset – all the small victories of each day that fall between the big events.
Ultimately you will realize that your highest aspirations should just be a target – a point on the horizon to step towards. You may not ever reach it, but you can always look up after every small step and see beauty of where that step has taken you. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the Happiness and Passion chapters of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
5. How to help others.
Talk yourself into helping someone today.
No exercise is better for your heart and mind than reaching down and helping others up. Happiness and success in life doesn’t come through selfishness, but through selflessness. Everything you do comes back around to you.
The best way to feel alive is to get up and do something positive for someone else. Don’t wait around for good things to happen in this world. If you go out and make good things happen, you will fill the world with happiness and you will make yourself smile in the process.
Greet people with positivity. Encourage them. Compliment them. Lend them a helping hand. Notice their progress, cheer them on and make them smile. Love and kindness is contagious. The more happiness and success you help others find, the more happiness and success you will find every single day of your life. (Read The Happiness Project.)
6. The immediate reality of your own happiness.
Right now, you have more than enough to be happy.
Right now, you have the full capacity to find something small to celebrate.
Right now, you have a choice to make.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting on someone or something to come along and make you happy. True happiness comes from within, when you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions, and when you choose to focus on what you have, not what you haven’t.
One of the great secrets to happiness is to pay more attention to the beginnings than the endings. So many people say they want a new life, but then they take the new one they get every morning for granted. Don’t do this. Don’t wait until your life is almost over to realize how great it has been. A great life begins right now, when you stop wanting a better one.
Scream it out loud: “Life is good!”
The floor is yours…
What have you been talking to yourself about lately? Is it positive or negative self-talk? What kind of positive self-talk do you use to motivate yourself? What kind of negative self-talk do you need to stop? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.
Photo by: Hartwig HKD
Thanks for this post. Really great content! I definitely identify with number three. In my experience , money can be one of the hardest things to sacrifice , especially when there’s no guarantees. It’s definitely a start , but takes a lot of dedication.
A really nice blog… I certainly love this.
Dear Pepper hi,
I finished my Brest cancer treatment last September, I was 40 wen I found out that I have a pretty agressiv, bad and advanced cancer.
Don’t wary all is going to be perfect! I met a lot of women during last two years (1.7. will be two years of the day I noticed something is wrong) and 99 % of them had the same reaction as you did.
For me it was different and I must say that I’m lucky because I have an incredible faith. The first thing I thought was, ” better me than my sisters whom have children” Every operation (I had three) and hard moment I dedicate to someone that I new had some problem, saying “dear Lord, let this my difficult moment be for the good of that and that person.
And other thing, I couldn’t pray but I prayed saying hundred times a day, ” God thank you for my health” for woods, rivers….etc everything that was around me, and you know what…..for me it was easy….I was happy and smiling…..and in the place I live nobody even notice what I was going thru. Believe me…all is in you….trust that you are in a good health…don’t feel ill and don’t be afraid. I will make every day a prayer for you from now on. Best best wishes and enjoy every moment and wen you go to hospital for chemo or els make yor self beautiful as if you are going out for a date 😉
With respect big hug
Sorry, my English is not good
Don’t waste your time on “why me?”. There is no answer. I went thru an advanced case of breast cancer starting almost 6 years ago. I was totally shocked at first because I had done all “the right things”. I had a lot of support and faith that every thing was going to be OK. I never let myself feel sorry for myself or ask why. I figured out that it was the stress in my life and that this was my wake-up call. I put my faith in God, my family, my wonderful doctors and Myself. I didn’t even want to hear my prognosis, I didn’t want to let any doubt enter my mind. Your mind is the most powerful tool and medicine you have, right down to a cellular level. Believe and have faith that you will be OK. And then just take it one step at a time. Everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t know what it is.
You will find the answer along your journey. I went thru chemo, several surgeries, radiation and reconstruction of my stomach into a new breast. This was a long journey, but I learned so much and am thankful for it all! It taught me who and what was truly important in my life. It improved my marriage and my self image. It helped me find the answers to a lot of questions in my life. I looked for all the positives I could find in my situation. Let ” Take your lemons and make lemonade” be your motto. Be willing to let others help you. Believe that You will be OK no matter what happens. My thoughts, prayers and love are with you.
@Fredric, I’m sorry to hear that your friends, relatives and wife are not more supportive during this tough time for you. Your job did not define who you are and you should not feel ashamed because you lost that job. It happens to a good amount of people from time to time. I had to go on unemployment a couple of years ago before I found another job myself.
The first thing you should do is build yourself up emotionally. If you find yourself thinking negatively about yourself, balance that thought out with something positive about yourself. For example, if you think to yourself, “I’m a failure.”, you should then tell yourself next, “No, I am not a failure because I am capable and determined to make a better life for myself.” (I don’t know all the details of your situation—this is just a general example.) And make sure that you continually balance negative thoughts with positive ones.
Also, if the people around you are not supportive, you should expand your social circle and find some people who will be supportive. Maybe you can go to Meetup.com and find a support group or just a group that does things that you are interested in (like writing, cooking, business networking, etc. They have groups for everything!) The Meetups are usually free or inexpensive. My friend and I joined a few months ago and it’s really opened up my world 🙂 It’s a great way to meet new friends, get new business contacts and try new things.
Anyway, I hope that these suggestions are helpful to you. I hope and pray that you will be able to find peace and happiness again.
When I read the inspirations of what life should be and the regrets that should not be, I see my face in the middle. Change is so hard, and it has been so long, I am afraid that I have forgotten who “I am”. I know who I have become, a middle age overweight woman who has had very little happiness for a long long time. Never being held, or told how much they are loved, forgetting the caress of intimacy because the one you loved did not provide these beautiful emotions. Living in a house that stopped being a home. I know time heals all wounds, but my wounds run deep. I am scared inside and out. I just want to be loved for who I am, who I was and who I can be.
Marc Chernoff says
Thank you. Thank you, all of you.
You know what moves me at my core? Signing in here to respond to comments, but then reading them and realizing that you all came to one another’s assistance already. Our little community truly inspires me.
To Yves, Pepper and Fredric, I can only echo what has already been said here. Please… keep pushing forward – one step at a time – and remember that without times of darkness, you would never see the stars.
I am so sorry for late response, thank you all for supporting. I feel better each day and pray to God daily. ” forgive me what I done to other so I can for give myself and others.” That is my daily pray before my surgery. Thank you so much.
Braja Patnaik says
We remain so caught up in the minute-by-minute action that unfolds in our life that we forget to have these conversations with ourselves. But these conversations help smoothen our daily grind.
Glad that I read it. Thanks for posting.
kathy h says
This is one of the better posts because I can relate to it, mainly number 2! Between family and so called friends this is true honesty to oneself. You really have to be your own best friend, have good conversation with yourself and feel good in your own skin. Like you say, life is too short but life is good. I have also read The Untethered Soul. Very deep and enlightening at the same time! Again, keep up the good work…making my days even that much better!
Scott Torrance says
I always ask myself- would I accept someone else speaking to me in the way that I talk to myself?
If not, it has to stop 🙂
Dorisa Jones says
I love that expression. Thank you all for sharing. I am working on my conversation to my self. It has been a challenge, but I am ready. I am confident, loving, smart and creative. I am a child if God. This day will not go by without being grateful.
You have to want it more than your afraid it!
Recently, I had a childhood memory resurface of being molested when I was two years old by a member of my extended family. I realize I had locked this tightly away in my unconscious because at the time, I could not express what had happened to me and it was a self preservation mechanism. I am 37 now and I can see how this experience has negatively influenced my whole life and I am now on a mission to release this hold that this experience has had on me and to live life freely with love for the first time. All my life, I could not understand why I could never be happy, no matter what I accomplished, it never seemed to be enough. I was always driven to do more and more and I was always battling repetitive negative thoughts in my mind, but I didn’t know where they came from! I now realize that my body kept telling me I always had to Do, Do, Do, so that I would keep my mind busy enough so that I wouldn’t let the memory surface and deal with it. But, finally, I was at the end of my rope, physically and emotionally and my marriage was hanging by a thin thread. I began meditating to help clear my mind and slowly, things started to come up that wanted to be released. Because of this experience at such a young age, all my life I had felt unworthy, that no one would listen to me, and that I must suffer in life.
It has been an amazing journey of letting go and healing my mind, body and soul. I am learning to put myself first rather than last all the time. I am learning to say “No” to my mind’s constant nagging to always be Doing something and just Be the love that I am meant to be. I am constantly reminding myself that I choose to live in love and be free from my past.I still battle fears of being open to receive love and to confidently ask for what I want in life, both from others and for myself. But, most importantly, I am now running towards and embracing my fears, looking in all the shadows of my memories and shining a light of love and forgiveness. Because I know that fear, guilt, and anger that we keep hidden deep inside slowly saps our energy to live and we slowly start to die inside. Only by acknowledging these shadowy parts of our selves and releasing them, do we find out that they are really there just to teach us that we need to forgive, love, believe in and trust in ourselves and others.
@Yves Chriss – 52. Only 52.
Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of England the first time at the age of 64, the second time at 75. He lived until he was 90. Look at what he achieved. Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa at 75. Look at what he achieved. My great grandmother lived until she was 102 and a half and was an inspiration to her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. When she got pneumonia at 90 they thought that would be it – but no!
You have a whole lot of living to do and many amazing things you can achieve over the next few decades. What are you going to do with the second half of your life?
Thanks for a great post Marc. Very important things for all of us to keep in mind as we try to find the life we love. The most important for me have been to recognize what needs to be sacrificed in order to get where I want to go, and t celebrate the small, daily, victories.
Sharron Williams says
Thank you for this post! It was very good. Now I have more things to talk to myself about. No need for friends when I can just talk all day to myself and be more positive (lol).
Marc? What if you’ve been told your entire life that you’re just not good enough? My entire life I’ve had this pounded into me by family, teachers, so called friends, employers…after a while you don’t fight back anymore and when you hear it often enough without any advocates, you tend to believe it even if it’s not true in your heart. Please help me solve this paradox bc I know I lost my true self a long long time ago. Now what?
Dennis Irafay says
Marc and Angel,
Before I make any further comments on the matter, I must take this opportunity to appreciate the work you do. I am a frequent visitor to your website and have been recommending it to my friends and relatives as well.
I am really at the point in my life where I am determined to start living and not merely existing. The biggest negative thing I normally think of myself is that I am certainly performing very much below my potential in almost every aspect of my life and this has always been stressing. I feel like “I have not done to my best while that is what I should do”.
I am really working myself up to this point where I can feel that I have given my all to everything. “Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be cleaning windows or try to write a masterpiece.” (Getting Things Done – David Allen). This is exactly what am talking about.
Your website is undoubtedly one of the best websites in the world. You guys are doing a great job encouraging people to live their lives happily. All the best. Keep going.
I have definitely been on a positive self talk wave, and it’s taken the most difficult experience of my life to get me here. Through heartbreak, I was able to find myself. Yves, I feel for you. I was at a place for a long time where I felt guilty for suffering over heartbreak when others are dealing with “real” problems. But heartbreak can be as devastating and difficult. I encourage you to first let go of the guilt and accept that this is what life is giving you and not to compare it to anyone else’s struggles. Please see that you are not the problem, and take this time to do some soul-searching and to decide what kind of relationship and man you want in your life. Make a demand out of the Universe by being specific about the qualities you want this person to have, the way you want to be treated, etc, and focus on that idea as you heal yourself through self-love.
I motivate myself by meditating daily and by taking a minute everyday and every night to remind myself who I am. I have a list of “I am’s” that I scan through randomly and it always makes me smile when I hear myself say out loud who I truly am. I am strong, I am positive, I am whole, I am forgiveness, I am perfect, I am beautiful, etc. And then I carry those things with me through the day. I also make a conscious decision every morning to keep my peace and joy no matter what the day brings, and often times when I am tempted to be upset, a random stranger will remind me of my resolve, by telling me for example that I have a beautiful smile and to not let anyone take that smile away. What you put out, you receive; what you speak out, will be. So choose your words carefully, because the biggest thing I’ve learned is the power of my words. If you choose to speak out fear and defeat, fear and defeat will inevitably find you. That’s what happened to me. I spoke about my problems constantly, spoke out my fears and prepared for defeat, and that’s exactly what I got. So now I do the opposite. I speak about my solutions, about the great tings in my life, and I let my fears know they can not exist in my mind by first recognizing them, then releasing them. I prepare for victory, and victory has been coming into my life in so many ways.
I do still have negative thoughts sometimes. When try to figure everything out and make sense of everything, it inevitably goes into a negative place- why did this person not do this, what are they thinking because they wouldn’t do this if they were thinking that, so they must be thinking this instead… it gets crazy. So I am still learning to completely relinquish control and to just let things be, and control the only thing that I am meant to control: myself (my thoughts, feelings, words, actions).
The best advice I have to share is to just make the decision to be happy, now. No matter what. It’s easier said than done, but truly nothing and no one can make you happy if you don’t first have happiness within yourself, and happiness is a decision that you have to make every single day-several times a day. I used to think some people were just happy people, and that I was naturally a sad person. That is not true of anyone. Happy people choose to be happy, and they work at being happy. Find the things that help encourage you, be it meditation, music, blogs like this one, inspirational quotes, etc; and make them a part of your daily routine. Take time for yourself, and love freely. Love yourself, forgive yourself, take care of yourself. Then you will be able to love others without expectation or conditions. Blessings to all of you, and thank you Marc and Angel for this wonderful blog and for sharing your wisdom.
Dorisa Jones says
I have issues due to my lack of self-confidence. Whenever something goes really wrong, I normally have a put-down talk with myself. I hope this will help me remember to look at the good things in life and to stop to thank God for my many blessings. I have had issues recently where my world just collapsed, all at once. Don’t put your feelings aside, they’re important. Remember JOY- Jesus Others Yourself, but makes SURE you remember yourself. You may be someone’s rock of refuge, but just cause you’re the rock it doesn’t mean you can’t break down and cry when you need to. More often than not, the person who leans on you will gladly listen when you need to talk. You HAVE to remember yourself though because “a person’s a person, no matter how small.” May God Bless You All, “you ARE loved.”
I’ve really never reached a point in my life where I was this low – divorced after 17 years of marriage, no family, not being able to make ends meet on my own after raising the kids, barely see one of my kids and the other wants nothing to do with me. I haven’t really spent any time with my son (now 17) in almost 3 years. I dropped off a cake for a friend near my son’s house a couple of weeks ago, and saw two teens walking. It looked like my son, but I wasn’t sure…I wasn’t sure if it was my own son. How do you move on? I’m looking into going back to school, at 47….no money for that either, but short term loss for long term gain, I guess. My mind talks to me from the minute I wake up, and it’s usually negative. It usually begins with “your kids aren’t with you”, and goes from there. I’m at the point where I just don’t know what to do but cry. I just have to have faith I guess, because what else is there.
I love this article, I saved it a few months ago and reread it again today and the comment I’d like to make is that no matter what it is I’m going thru, no matter how a conversation is flowing, no matter the mood, my mood especially, no matter how long things seem to take I tell myself ever single day, “I am f*in AMAZING!” And I am and I know it and anyone I tell this to laughs and say I’m crazy but am I? I don’t think so, I’m just amazing!
Great! This was what I wanted to read. Happiness lies within us. We should not wait for a particular event or person to make us happy. Happiness lies in the little victories of each day.