Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

How to Talk to Yourself

Joscelyn Kate
3 min readApr 27

Self-talk is the foundation of how you react to everyone. The way you talk to yourself underlines what you believe are the motivations of other people.

We learn self-talk from our parents and caretakers. As children grow, the way they’re spoken to becomes their inner voice. We don’t realize this as we’re young and impressionable, but we internalize the way others speak to us and believe it to reflect the way we deserve to be spoken to and treated.

Being kind and compassionate with yourself first allows you to determine whether you’ll accept another person’s treatment of you. Absent compassion and kindness, you can find yourself being defensive with other people.

When Self-Talk Lacks Compassion

Your self-talk may lack compassion if you were emotionally neglected, abused, have childhood trauma, or have been in a relationship with a narcissist.

These are all contributing factors to how we internalize our worth and engage in perfectionism or mistake-avoiding behaviors.

Here are signs your self-talk lacks compassion:

  • You tell yourself you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ do things
  • You get annoyed or impatient with yourself
  • When you’re upset you ruminate or distract
  • You don’t ask yourself questions when triggered
  • You do a lot of coaching and motivating rather than validating

How to Talk to Yourself

Observing how you currently talk to yourself while you’re working on projects, sitting in traffic, or in a fight with a friend or partner is a great way to learn where you need some more compassion.

Talk to yourself like a child and everyone else like an adult. You’re your own best friend and biggest cheerleader.

You are the best person to offer yourself compassion as you work through different situations in life.

Joscelyn Kate

Writer and podcaster on self-worth and boundaries. Lover of lattes, champagne, avocados, sleep, and my perfect family.