Book Dr. Akhu

Embracing Positivity: A Personal Journey with Self-Talk

positivity self-talk Jun 12, 2024
Embracing Positivity: A Personal Journey with Self-Talk
As a clinical psychologist, speaker, and author, I have dedicated my career to helping others harness the power of positive self-talk. But the journey towards mastering this practice is not just one I advocate for my clients; it is also deeply personal. 

It all started when...
Early in my career, I faced significant challenges. A Black woman fresh out of graduate school in my late twenties, I quickly rose from a staff psychologist to running a small clinic for a large hospital. Despite my academic accomplishments, I was plagued by self-doubt. Every day felt like a battle against the nagging voice in my head that insisted I wasn't good enough.

One particularly tough week stands out in my memory. I was scheduled to present at a major conference, and the pressure was immense. The night before my presentation, I found myself overwhelmed with anxiety. My mind was filled with negative thoughts: "What if I forget my lines? What if the audience thinks I’m incompetent? What if I fail?"

Turning the Tide
Realizing that I was falling into a familiar pattern of negative self-talk, I decided it was time to apply the very techniques I taught my clients. I took a deep breath and started by identifying the negative thoughts swirling in my mind. "I will fail" was the predominant thought.

I began to challenge this thought systematically:
  • Evidence Against: I reminded myself that I had spent weeks preparing for this presentation. I had practiced multiple times and received positive feedback from colleagues.
  • Alternative Perspectives: I considered that the audience was there to learn and was likely rooting for my success. They were not waiting for me to fail.
  • Realistic Outcomes: The worst-case scenario was unlikely. Even if I stumbled, I could recover and continue. Many great speakers face hiccups and still deliver powerful messages.

Next, I turned to positive affirmations. I stood in front of the mirror and repeated phrases like, "I am prepared and knowledgeable," "I can handle this presentation with confidence," and "I am capable of engaging and educating my audience."

Visualization and Mindfulness
The morning of the presentation, I incorporated visualization techniques. I closed my eyes and imagined myself speaking confidently, engaging with the audience, and handling questions with ease. This mental rehearsal helped to boost my confidence.

I also practiced mindfulness meditation to center myself. By focusing on my breath and staying present, I reduced my anxiety and approached the presentation with a calm and focused mind.

The Presentation
When I finally stepped onto the stage, I felt a surge of confidence. The techniques I had used to reframe my self-talk had transformed my mindset. The presentation went smoothly, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Audience members praised my clarity, engagement, and depth of knowledge.

That experience was a turning point for me. It reinforced the power of positive self-talk and the techniques I teach in my practice. Over the years, I have continued to use these strategies in various aspects of my life, whether preparing for important meetings, dealing with personal challenges, or simply navigating the ups and downs of everyday life.

Positive self-talk has become a cornerstone of my personal resilience and inner peace. It has enabled me to face challenges with a more constructive and empowering mindset. By sharing my own journey with self-talk, I hope to inspire you to embrace this practice and realize its potential for transforming your life.

Positive self-talk is not just a professional tool I advocate for my clients; it is a personal practice that has profoundly impacted my own life. By identifying and challenging negative thoughts, practicing positive affirmations, and incorporating mindfulness and visualization techniques, I have been able to navigate challenges with greater confidence and resilience.

I encourage you to integrate these practices into your own life. Just as I have experienced the transformative power of positive self-talk, you too can harness this tool to foster a more positive and empowering inner dialogue. Remember, the way we speak to ourselves shapes our reality. Choose to speak with kindness, encouragement, and confidence.