Why Negative Self-talk
Isn’t Etiquette-ful


We are all subject to negative self-talk from time to time.  For instance, when you make a mistake, when you don’t receive a promotion, or when someone you are attracted to doesn’t feel the same way, your disappointment can allow negativity to seep in.

Acknowledging a situation is a realistic approach, but when you begin catastrophizing (“I’ll never be successful”) or generalizing (“I always get stood up”), you could be crossing a line into a negative mindset.

Being Unkind

One of the pillars of etiquette-ful behavior is kindness.  This includes showing kindness to yourself.  

Dealing with unpleasant circumstances or having a bad day are one thing, but when you allow that one thing to define how you feel about yourself your thoughts begin to align with those feelings.  You express unkind assumptions to yourself.

Making a habit of this costs you your confidence, causes you to stress over everyday situations, and others may perceive you as a negative person.  It’s practically the same result as when you are unkind to other people.  

It’s important to recognize when you may be embarking on this slippery slope.  Conduct a self-check by asking yourself these questions:

  • Is my perception of this situation a positive one?
  • Is what I’m telling myself helping or hurting me?
  • Would I speak to my best friend this way in this situation?
  • What could I tell myself right now that would make things any better?

Overcoming Negative Self-talk

The first step to overcoming anything is to recognize your behavior and then decide that a change needs to occur.  Once you understand that your negative self-talk is hurting you, you can put forth the effort to change it.

  • Observation is the key.  Choose a length of time or an occasion to observe your thoughts, recognizing those that are negative or positive.
  • Play a game of opposites.  When you recognize any negative self-talk, consciously change it to a positive statement.
  • Be a friend to yourself.  Speak to and advise yourself as if you were speaking to your best friend.  Because you are!
  • Count your blessings – and your successes.  Just because things may not be going your way now, doesn’t mean this has always been true.  Think of the times you reached a goal, received something wonderful, or of happy times spent with someone you love.  If you’ve had it before, or even if you haven’t, you will have it again.

Reducing negativity in your life, attitude, language, and actions is part of practicing etiquette.  Kindness and courtesy are more easily shown to others when you can be mindful of feeling them as positive emotions.

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