Research indicates that we say roughly 50,000 words to ourselves every day. Of those, 77% are negative or counter-productive. That results in feeding what Jeff Butorac calls our Inner Rival, self-talk filling our head with self-doubt and negativity. Given that consequence, it’s best that we take the advice of Lisa M. Hayes:

“Be careful how you are talking to yourself because you are always listening.”

In his book, Inner Rival: Silencing the Negativity Within, Butorac shares four ways we negatively speak to ourselves:

  • Filtering: We notice only the negative things that happened during a situation and filter out the positive.
  • Personalizing: We take a situation and assume it’s our fault.
  • Catastrophizing: Something small happens and we anticipate the worst will follow.
  • Polarizing: Things are either good or bad and there’s no in-between.

We can apply the Truth or Consequence Rule to our self-talk. “Your subconscious listens to everything you tell it and takes it as truth,” says Butorac. “If you tell yourself you can’t, then you can’t. Whether you are saying these words out loud or in your mind with words and images, you’re programming your belief system to believe you’re unable to be successful. Every time you say it, that belief gets stronger.” As a result, negative consequences will follow.

Dr. Shad Helmstetter has identified four levels of self-talk:

Level 1 – Negative Acceptance: We say something negative about ourselves and immediately accept it as fact.

Level 2 – Recognition and Need to Change: By only recognizing a need to change but not actually changing, we can create more negative self-talk, doubt, guilt and disappointment.

Level 3 – Decision to Change: We state that we are making a change. We replace “can’t” and “won’t” by telling our subconscious to make the change.

Level 4 – The Better You: We take on challenges or doubts in a productive way by having our self-talk express that we can do whatever we set our mind to.

Be mindful of your self-talk this week.

  • Identify when your self-talk is filtering, personalizing, catastrophizing, or polarizing.
  • Be conscious of the level of self-talk you are manifesting.
  • Determine aspects of your self-talk that you want to maintain or eliminate.

You can learn more about Jeff Butorac’s work or get a copy of his book by going to

From our team…Willow, Kevin, and Tom…who keep believing in possibilities.

Paul Bernabei
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