To Become Happier, Change Your Negative Self-Talk

Gregg Williams, MFT
2 min readNov 26, 2022
Photo: Luke Braswell, on Unsplash

It has been said that language makes reality. It’s not an exaggeration to say that your personality and behavior are greatly determined by what you have heard and said throughout your life.

One important contributor to your well-being is what you say to yourself. A lot of them are emotionally harsh messages, things like “I’m stupid” and “I’ll never get anything right”.

Here’s a good way to do better. First, move from being (“I’m stupid”) to behavior (“I did something stupid”). Second, replace judgmental words with neutral ones: “I did something that didn’t work.” By doing this, you change a devastating negative statement about who you are (one that covers past, present, and future) into one that is tied to one specific event and changes the emotionally harsh words into emotionally neutral words.

Some people resist doing this, and so they coninue to be wounded by what they tell themselves. They say, “I won’t do that.” Or they may say, “I don’t talk like that; it feels artificial to me.” These people are doomed to continue their unhappy lives. But the simple truth is that if you don’t change what you do, you won’t get a better result.

Several years ago, I started removing the damaging things I said to myself, and now the emotionally harsh words don’t even cross my mind. By preventing thousands of instances of hurtful self-talk, my life has been a lot more peaceful.

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Gregg Williams, MFT

Retired therapist. Married 27 years. Loves board games, serious movies. Very curious about many things. Over 13,600 people are following my articles.