Julie felt proud of herself; the important and potentially difficult meeting she led had gone really well and everyone was happy with the outcome. Later that day, she replied to an innocuous email that happened to have a large distribution list and noticed to her horror when she looked again that there was a typo in her reply. All of the previous success of the day suddenly fell away. “I’m so stupid, how could I not have noticed that typo? People will think I’m an idiot…” This little detail changed her otherwise positive mood as the mistake preyed on her mind. We’ve probably all sent an email with a typo at some point in our lives. In Julie’s case, the effect of this relatively insignificant human error was made worse by her critical thoughts that amplified and distorted the negative impact of the event.
Self-talk is a term used to describe the inner monologue and mental chatter that goes on inside our heads. Like your own personal radio station or smart speaker that’s always on in the background, providing a running commentary on your life. Self-talk has been there as far back as we can remember from childhood – so it’s no surprise that we tend to believe and identify with what it says. As it’s something we have grown up with, self-talk is often outside of conscious awareness, which, combined with how we identify with it, makes it powerful enough to shape our lives.
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