The Power of Words: How to Improve Self-Confidence

Treat yourself kindly.

Gustavo Razzetti
Oct 3, 2018 · 7 min read
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Speak to yourself kindly — Photo by Timothy Eberly

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”

— Oscar Wilde

The words we use have a profound impact on us.

The Best Person You Can Speak To

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” — Johann Wolfgang Goethe

It’s okay to struggle with self-confidence — it happens to everyone around you.

Stimulates self-reflection:

Research by Canadian professor Alain Morin shows there’s a high correlation between talking to oneself more frequently and a higher self-awareness and self-evaluation.

Increases motivation

A meta-analysis of 32 sport psychological studies that self-talk improves sports performance. Tennis players talk out loud to regain confidence after losing a point.

Expresses Emotions

Talking to yourself helps to connect with your emotions. When you feel stressed out, naming your feelings can help you slow down. It’s the first step towards understanding what’s causes your anxiety.

Helps you reflect on the past

Revisiting the past — without too much rehashing — is how we learn and become wiser. Talking to ourselves is a very effective way to reflect on the past.

Prepares you for the future

Mental preparation — not anticipation — determines our chances of success. We can start familiarizing with a new activity. Or getting ready to deal with the unknown.

Helps discriminate right from wrong

Inner-talk is very useful to analyze a decision or behavior — we can evaluate actions against our moral standards.

Mind Your Words

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” — Rumi

The power of words come from the beliefs we have in them — we believe and embody our words.

“I can’t.”

It’s the belief that you cannot do something, even before you tried. It’s not just about low self-confidence. Sometimes, people get caught by a perfectionist mindset — they confuse not being an expert with not being capable of. The ‘can’ts’ reflect lack of resilience — we need to learn to fail and try again and again.

“I have to.”

This approach turns regular activities into a burden. We approach everyday chores with the wrong mentality. When you can’t do what you love, you have to learn to love what you do. The ‘don’t wants’ address a broken relationship with simple things in life.

“I should.”

This mindset addresses external pressure — other people’s expectations make us feel guilty and unhappy. It’s the result of other people trying to impose their will over ours — our parents, teachers, friends, bosses, and so on. The ‘shoulds’ represent what others want us to do.

A Strategy to Develop Kinder Conversations

“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” — Plato

Positive self-talk has stress management, productivity, and health benefits that have been proven by research.

1. Awareness

To create change, you need to be aware that something needs to be modified. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself and the impact of your words.

2. Positive Affirmations

Affirmations originated with French psychologist Émile Coué, who advocated repeating this sentence throughout the day: “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”

“I know who I am and I am enough.”

“It’s okay to be broken. And it’s okay to let the broken parts mend.”

“I choose to be present and mindful right now.”

“I am in control of the way I respond to the behavior of others.”

“I’m grateful for the life I have.”

3. Replace words

The easiest way to erase certain words from your inner-dialogue is to replace them with others.

4. Pause, Reflect & Talk

As you become more aware of the words you use, practice reflection.

5. Increase positive self-talk

Building a habit takes times — you want to turn the process into something natural. The same happens with self-talk. You’ll see improvements early on. But, once it becomes intuitive, you’ll experience the transforming effect.


Stretch Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Download my free ebook: “Stretch Your Mind,” a compilation of exercises to expand your boundaries one stretch at a time.

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Gustavo Razzetti

Written by

I help teams and organizations build fearless cultures. Creator of the Culture Design Canvas. Insights → bit.ly/ChangeInsights

Personal Growth

Sharing our ideas and experiences.

Gustavo Razzetti

Written by

I help teams and organizations build fearless cultures. Creator of the Culture Design Canvas. Insights → bit.ly/ChangeInsights

Personal Growth

Sharing our ideas and experiences.

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