Why Positive Self-Talk Doesn’t Work, Examples to Use Instead

Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash

How we “talk” to ourselves is extremely important, but sometimes we try to learn how to improve our self-talk and we research it or we encounter other people trying to get us to engage in positive self-talk and it ends up making us feel worse. This post might help.

Why Positive Self-Talk Doesn’t Work

Sometimes positive self-talk feels fake

There are many popular positive self-talk examples out there that can put us off.

Things like,

· I am loved.

· Everything will be okay.

· I am smart, confident, etc.

· I am doing great.

· I believe in you.

· I deserve better.

· I’m allowed to speak up.

· I love ___ about myself.

· I am good at ____.

· I am enough.

· I am worthy.

Sometimes we’re hurting too bad to process or believe these concepts.

Believing them doesn’t seem possible, so we give up. Or we feel like we’re lying to ourselves and that makes us feel cheap or sad. It can also make us feel there is this vast chasm between “other people” who can tell themselves these things and us.

That’s not promising groundwork for making us feel better about ourselves. We all deserve to feel better about ourselves, and we all deserve the respect that comes with the truth.

We rebel

I have found that some examples of positive self-talk don’t just fall flat, they inspire inner turmoil. Myself, I feel compelled to argue with them or reject them. This was both alarming and very interesting to me. Why did I so passionately want to defend not wanting to hear the lovely concept that “I am worthy?” or “I am enough?”

Because my life had “taught me” otherwise. It’s like trying to convince someone the sky is green and grass is blue. And with things like this, it isn’t just crazy making, it hurts.

I tried to figure out how I could define worth for myself so I could believe it where I was in life and where hopefully anyone could too, no matter where they were.

I came up with the idea that, of course, we all have worth because we have seen and experienced the world in a way no one else could have. We hold strengths, weaknesses, a personality, and a perspective unique to us, and that is special.

We don’t all need to hear the same things to deal with our current and/or personal problems. But positive self-talk can take many forms, and it can reach us where we are. Try on different ideas, listen to yourself, and see if you can find ones that help you. You might look for, create, or grow into different ones later.

Positive Self Talk Examples for When Positivity Feels Fake

This is a helpful piece from PositivePsychology.com. It contains more information on positive self-talk and provides the best examples I’ve found online so far. This post also includes some self-talk examples that work with us.

Here are some more examples that might reach more of us where we are.

· It is good to forgive myself.

· It is good to be good to myself.

· It is good to love myself.

· My feelings are valid and useful.

· My needs are valid and useful.

· I am curious about and/or forgiving about my feelings.

· It is okay to take up space, to need.

· It is okay to make mistakes. I am human.

· How can I stretch myself today?

· What can I learn today?

· What can I try today?

· How can I let myself rest today?

· How can I be good to myself today?

· I took a step.

· I took the next step, and the next…

· I can try again.

· I don’t have to tackle or solve this whole problem right now; I can make a plan and see what happens and go from there.

· I don’t have to be anything except for a learning, trying, human, who is being true to themselves.

· It may have been difficult, I may have even been shaky doing it, but I tried/took a stand and that is brave.

· I am on my personal path, with my personal goals, and each step toward my goals is a success.

· What is something in my control right now, whether big or small?

· Everything I experience for the first time, everything I try (whether it worked or not), every new thought or feeling, has made me a newer, upgraded model of myself.

· _____ makes me happy. (What makes us happy can be inspiration for a life change, sometimes we just need to be cheered up, and sometimes we need the grounding of something WE enjoy.)

This list was inspired by things I have needed to tell myself and ways I have discovered other people feel about themselves.

Don’t forget you can make up your own positive self-talk statements.

Feel free to comment with some examples of positive self-talk that helped you where you are.

Mental Health Resources

If you feel like a problem is out of your control, hopeless, or you just need someone to talk to, check out these resources for help.

US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — 1–800–273–8255

A wider list of suicide hotlines.

You can also text these suicide hotlines in several countries.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline — 1–800–662-HELP (4357) — helps you find mental health resources in the US

7cups offers paid therapy options and a free forum with trained listeners.




Main dish: non-salesy, accurate, & engaging web content. SEO & copywriting on the side. http://www.lararousefreelancewriter.com/

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Lara Rouse

Lara Rouse

Main dish: non-salesy, accurate, & engaging web content. SEO & copywriting on the side. http://www.lararousefreelancewriter.com/

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