For Black women, self-love and positive self-talk, or what’s commonly referred to as talking to yourself, can be tricky. The world perceives black women as too loud, angry, or ‘too much.’ Instead of reminding you of your strength, kindness, and cherishing who you are. Talking to yourself is a common habit, and a study showed that 96% of adults have admitted to having conversations with themselves out loud.
I’ve been engaging in self-talk since I was a kid; my older siblings used to catch me doing it. As I got older, I realized I would use these inner monologs to think out ideas and process events.
The pandemic motivated me to use my inner voice to communicate positively with myself. I often felt like I was talking to my younger self when I began, repeating things like “You are strong. You are worthy. You are enough” every morning in the mirror. While these statements may seem basic or even cheesy at first, they represent the fundamental truths about myself and should also remind you of who you are.
Let go of the immense pressure of needing to be strong or feeling unseen; instead, shift your narrative. If you need help practicing positive self-talk, this blog will teach you how and why it is essential for your well-being.
What Is Positive Self-Talk?
Self-talk is those deep conversations you have with yourself about yourself. The small familiar voice in your head navigates your thoughts and prompts you to take action. These conversations can be positive or negative, but the important thing is not to feel threatened by them.
For black women, practicing positive self-talk is especially important. You work twice as hard to be seen, understood, and respected. Imagine what it would feel like not carrying the world’s weight on your shoulders.
In case you need a reminder, you are intelligent, talented, beautiful, and are holding on to a gift that needs to be shared with the world. It’s time to start believing that and believing in yourselves; you can accomplish anything you want.
How Positive Self-Talk Helps Black Women
Women, especially black women, are the backbones of your families and communities. We carry burdens we didn’t ask for, operate out of half-full cups and still have a nurturing nature.
But positive self-talk isn’t just about denying the pain of the past. It’s about acknowledging that pain, then permit yourself to believe in a successful, prosperous outcome. It’s about envisioning yourself in a brighter future and speaking that future into existence.
A 2014 study showed that the power of self-talk and positive affirmations isn’t solely based on what you’re saying but on your language and tone. It’s like that old say goes, “it’s not what you say but how you say it.”
When you practice positive self-talk, you’re telling yourself that you are worthy of happiness and success. You tell yourself that we are beautiful, whole, and perfect just the way we are. And you’re giving yourself the strength to keep going, even when things are tough.
Identifying Negative Self-Talk
Check your self-talk by first listening to it and decide if you agree. Maybe you’ve been telling yourself that you’re not intelligent because you messed up on a task, that you’re going to be overlooked for the promotion you’ve been working towards, or that you’re not pretty enough.
You may focus on the bad things that happen in a situation, and you can’t see any of the good things that did happen. Or maybe you always expect the worst; you believe in the worst parts of yourself so much that you don’t put in any effort.
These are all examples of negative self-talk, and it’s essential to identify them so that they don’t manifest in a way you start acting out. When you have a negative thought, acknowledge it and then defend it with a positive affirmation.
Be gentle with yourself. You’re not perfect, and you’re going to make mistakes. But if you’re willing to learn from them and move on, you’re headed in the right direction. If you are experiencing self-talk that can lead to harmful behavior, consider seeking professional help.
Stop talking yourself out of things and focus on releasing the potential that is wrapped up inside you.
Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk
One way to increase happiness is by categorizing your positive affirmations. What are you feeling insecure about? Your weight, your skin, your hair, your finances, your job? You can choose one area to focus on, verbalize what you don’t like, and cancel it with how you will improve it. For example, if you feel stuck in your job, recognize it, then begin repeating that you have the skills you need to land the position of your dreams.
For more guidance on developing positive self-talk habits, try this self-care journal.
Cast Negative Thoughts Out
Therapist Dara Winley suggests that stressful and overwhelming situations usually bring on negative self-talk, and when you’re faced with one, look for a different perspective by asking yourself these questions:
What’s the worst thing that could happen in this situation?
Where did this come from?
What does this experience remind me of?
Why do I feel this way?
Another way to practice positive self-talk is by showing gratitude for what you already have. It’s easy to fixate over what we don’t have, but if we take the time to appreciate the good in our lives, it will help us refocus our attention. Here are a few things you can show gratitude towards:
I’m thankful for the meaningful relationships I have
I’m thankful for my home
I am capable of more, but I’m grateful for my job
Practicing positive self-talk and positive affirmations is not a cure-all. Your pledges have to align with some form of action to see an improvement. It’s like someone once told me you have to be involved in your rescue. For my spiritual beings, James 2:17 (NIV) says it best; In the same way, faith by itself. If it is not accompanied by action, it is dead.
The Benefits of Practicing Positive Self-Talk
When you practice positive self-talk, you create new pathways in your brain. And what this does is it helps to defeat self-sabotaging thoughts.
But that’s not all—positive self-talk can also help to build your self-esteem. And when you have strong self-esteem, you can better deal with stress and setbacks. You’re also more likely to take risks and go after your goals.
So how can you start practicing positive self-talk? It’s pretty simple. Every day, take a few minutes to say something positive to yourself in the mirror. It could be something as simple as “I am love” or “I am constantly growing.”
Closing Thoughts on Developing a Positive Mindset for Black Women
Positive self-talk is something that all of us can benefit from, but it’s vital for black women. Most black women are expected to throw on our invisible capes and grin and bear it, but you don’t have to.
By practicing positive self-talk, you can help strengthen yourself. Remind yourselves that you are worthy and powerful and deserve love and respect. You can remind yourselves that your skin color is not a hindrance but a source of pride. Remind yourselves that you are not alone in this journey.