What to do when your self-talk sounds like self-criticism
Have you ever avoided trying something new because you thought you might fail?
Have you ever put off starting a project because it seemed too big, or you didn’t know where to start?
Have you ever blown off studying for a test because you thought you were going to do poorly anyway?
All of these actions are rooted in one thing: lack of self-confidence. The good news is that there are scientifically proven ways that you can increase your confidence at any time – whether it’s in class, during your externship, or during a job interview for a professional medical assistant, health claims specialist, or massage therapist position.
Give yourself room to improve
Self-talk can be key to performance issues. Phrases like “I’m not athletic” or “I don’t do well on tests” are confidence killers, according to research from Stamford University.
But making small tweaks to how people defined themselves made a big impact, the researchers found.
When people began to view their attributes as changeable rather than fixed, their self-esteem increased and their performance improved.
Example: “I’m not smart” could be rethought as “This is a new undertaking. But I’m capable of learning and paying attention. Even though I don’t know everything now, I will improve if I keep at it.”
Be kind to yourself
“You moron! How could you have done that? Everyone must think you’re so stupid.”
Would you ever dream of saying anything like that to a friend? Hopefully not.
But most of us have said that to ourselves at one point or another. The problem is that mercilessly berating ourselves for our shortcomings can be extremely damaging to self-esteem, according to researchers at the University of California at Berkeley.
Instead, try to practice self-compassion.
Here’s how to do it: Listen to how you speak to yourself. Then imagine saying those things to a friend. If you find yourself cringing, try to rephrase the sentiment to something kinder and more encouraging.
Remember, Salter wants to help you succeed. Talk to your instructors or the pros in Career Services if there are any areas in your program of study where you could use some extra help.