What are you saying to yourself? Owning unhelpful internal dialogue

Continuing on from a couple of weeks ago we are going to identify a few more of these unhelpful beliefs we discussed. We are going to do this by listening in on your internal dialogue. What are you saying to yourself.

First for the background information. We all talk to ourselves and it is normal in case you were wondering. Some of our internal dialogue is very conscious and we notice it. This can include running through in your mind tasks you need to do, conversations you wish you had handled differently etc. It can also include self criticism and self motivation.

If we start with self motivation, consider those times you are attempting to do something a little challenging and you are telling yourself:

“I can do this!”

You may be saying a lot more however the key here is that it is motivational and positive. When we talk to ourselves in this way we tend to do well. Even if things don’t go the way we planned we handle it well and are more likely to be philosophical about the outcome. We may make a note of what we have learned from the situation.

When we use self criticism we tend to be quite abusive and say unkind things to ourselves. Sometimes the voice may sound like one of our parents being disappointed or angry with us. When this kind of internal dialogue is running we tend to be discouraged and more likely to give up.

Unfortunately we are often unaware of this internal dialogue and so do not realise the negative impact it is having on us. So the first step is to make this dialogue more conscious.

This internal dialogue may also be directly related to your weight loss or lack of it. For instance, I identified a particularly unhelpful and repetitive message I was giving myself.

“No matter what I do I can’t lose weight! It’s not fair!”

Sometimes I was conscious of this phrase and at other times it was running almost as background noise.

Over the next few weeks get into the habit of asking yourself the following questions at various times during the day (not just about food) and write down the answers.

“What am I saying to myself right now?”

“What am I believing about myself right now?”

When you are about to eat at any point during your day (or night) ask these additional questions:

“Am I hungry?”

“Am I upset, bored, anxious, afraid?”

“What am I feeling?”

Analyse what you have written down and as with the previous exercise pick out the various types of belief that are indicated by the answers to the questions. This will also start to give you what are known as “pre-suppositions”. A pre-supposition is anything we have to accept as true in order to continue a particular line of thinking or behaviour.

For example, if you have identified wanting to eat when you are anxious you may have developed a pre-supposition that being anxious equals a desire to eat. This in turn may lead to you accepting a belief such as:

“When I am anxious I always comfort eat.”

You may also discover some positive pre-suppositions and beliefs, for example.

“When I am busy doing things that interest me I eat only to fuel my body.”

You may also uncover some beliefs that on the surface seem a little confusing. For example “food is love”. Some people share food as a way of expressing love or for celebration. So you might discover that whenever anyone in your circle has something to celebrate that the automatic way of doing this is to go out for a meal together. On the one hand this is a lovely social thing to do but on the other it may have been a behaviour that has contributed to gaining unwanted weight.

Next week we will discuss some ways of challenging these beliefs building on the work we have already done.

If you would like to join me on a workshop check out my website


We have an NLP Master Practitioner coming up on 20th April, a one day development day for Practitioners on 9th April and for those of you new to NLP a free two day introduction on 21st March. Contact me for details.



About Melody @ GWizlearning

Melody spent fourteen years gathering experience of the business world working in banking, telecommunications and the public sector before co-founding The GWiz Learning Partnership in 1993. Melody has a Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology, a degree in Psychology and a diploma in Psychotherapy. She is an NLP Master Trainer which allows her to run NLP Practitioner, NLP Master Practitioner and NLP Trainer Training courses certified by the Positive School of Intrinsic Neuro-Linguistc Psychology. She is also a qualified Myers Briggs practitioner and EI practitioner and added to all this is five years Transactional Analysis training, meaning she is able to help organisations access the hidden potential in their staff. She is also in demand for her work in transforming average or even troubled teams into high performers. Melody is a visiting lecturer at University of East London, teaching "Wellbeing and Positive Psychology" to undergraduates. Additionally, she is a member of the CIPD and is ILM accredited. Melody's interests are many and varied. She has a keen interest in personal development, canine and wolf psychology, conservation, movies and running. She also enjoys western horse riding, walking the GWiz dogs, nature watching and stage combat (particularly sword fighting).
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2 Responses to What are you saying to yourself? Owning unhelpful internal dialogue

  1. katew101 says:

    Thought provoking stuff. Being more consciously aware of my self talk has been illuminating!

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