What is the tone of your internal dialogue?  The way you speak to yourself is important!  A good rule of thumb is to speak to yourself in the same manner you would speak to friend.  David Burns calls this the “double standard technique” in The Feeling Good Handbook.  With friends who are struggling, we are supportive of their strengths and help them look at positive ways to work through their struggles.  We also remind them that they successfully navigated challenges in the past and “this too shall pass.”

If you don’t speak to yourself in the same manner, you need to!  You are not motivating yourself with a harsh internal dialogue.  It’s okay to be realistic and acknowledge your mistakes and weaknesses, but follow up with how you can improve and move forward.  In fact, this is the most basic building block of self esteem:  know yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses, and understand how you can capitalize on your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.  If you messed up, acknowledge this and understand why, how to improve, and try to remember a time in the past you successfully worked through a challenge.

If some of this sounds familiar, yay for you!  I started writing about these concepts in Remember an Accomplishment, Examine Your Attribution Style, and Recognize Your Strengths!)

What positive, motivating statements work for you?