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The Long Term Damage of Negative Self Talk

Self-talk an affect your health and wellbeing. Make it positive!
Self-talk an affect your health and wellbeing. Make it positive!
Cat Calhoun, L.Ac., 2009

An adult overhearing another adult speaking to a child in denigrating terms such as ‘moron,’ ‘stupid,’ or ‘idiot’ would likely get righteously and highly upset. Most people would take action as this kind of behavior toward a child is considered emotional or mental abuse. Depending on the nature of that adult, they might confront the offending party or they might call an authority like Child Protective Services, but most people wouldn’t just let it slide.

It is ironic that an adult directing these same terms at themselves rarely even raises an eyebrow. Why is it that self-denigration is accepted without comment? Psychologists and mental health professionals agree that such rhetoric is as damaging to the adult psyche as it is to a child’s mental well-being. A child on the receiving end of negative speech will likely cower in fear, cry in shame and humiliation or hide if at all possible. With repeat abuse that child will probably respond with anger and defensive posturing, but will eventually become emotionally numb in order to avoid the pain of the wound this kind of stinging rhetoric has on the soul.

Words are more than collections of sound or (digital) ink on a page. Words are symbols of the energy of ideas and thoughts. This is why words have so much power: they are capsules of energy. And it is energy that creates physical reality. Negative self-talk has a damaging effect not only on the mind and spirit, but also on the body. On an emotional/mental/spiritual level it is likely to produce poor self-esteem, depression, anxiety, lack of motivation, and other psychologically damaging effects.

Because the mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual, energetic, and physical systems are all linked together and are not the separate parts, a problem in one of these aspects of a person’s being will drastically affect all other systems. Patients who use the phrase “pain in the butt” in response to difficulty in their lives might develop chronic sciatic symptoms with pain radiating down the leg affecting the ability to sleep or work. A patient who routinely refers to life’s inconveniences as “headaches” could be prone to chronic headaches or migraines. True, the immediate cause of such conditions could be poor body mechanics, traumatic injury, or illness, but there is a psycho-emotional component to injury and the predisposition to illness. Self-talk is a form of programming and the body will respond accordingly, manifesting the energy of the talk even if it takes years to do so.

The purpose of this article is not to blame the patient for illness, but to highlight the critical interrelation between intrapersonal communication (self-talk) and the body. Winning athletes often say that they visualize the successful outcome of the sport in which they participate to enhance their performance, so why shouldn’t it work in the reverse? The take-away from this conversation is that words create reality. To change reality, change the daily wording. Stop the negative self-talk and negative characterizations. Instead replace those negative phrases with positive ones. When one speaks what they want reality to look like the universe will eventually manifest it. Speak loving words, have a loving life. Speak healing words and the body and soul have a much better chance to heal.