Have you ever talked to yourself?
Perhaps you toss out, “Just one more mile to go!” to keep you motivated during a long run. Or, you think, “You’ve got this!” before a big presentation at work or school. Maybe it’s more of the self-doubt kind when you’re having a challenging day (“I’ll never figure this out. Why bother?”). Either way, we spend time in our heads, whispering phrases to ourselves—positive and negative—daily.
In my early 20s, I struggled with anxiety attacks. My therapist encouraged the idea of “self-talk” to me when I was feeling overwhelmed and nervous. She told me to talk out loud—not just in my head—to myself with positive, encouraging phrases, and it’s something that has helped me ever since.
I’ll admit … the first few times I did this, it didn’t feel natural. Even when I was alone in a room or my car, saying something out loud to myself was incredibly awkward. In fact, doing so almost made me feel worse. “Oh great, Natalie. Now you have to talk to yourself to snap out of your anxiety?” But after a few more times, I realized the power of that self-talk and how much it actually helped me. It calmed me … and something miraculous happened: I began to believe what I was saying … I began to believe myself.
This idea of self-talk isn’t specific to our natural lives and can go beyond the “you can do it!” sentiments. When we choose encouraging words from the Lord or scripture, it adds something spiritual to our step. Self-talk is a pretty big deal to God. His word is filled with opportunities for us to preach the gospel to ourselves and boost our mood or confidence.
Here’s a perfect example from Psalms:
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” (Psalms 42:5)
In other words, “Why are you upset, [insert your name]? What’s got you down? Don’t worry. Put your hope in God … and thank Him after He helps you (because you know He will).”
Self-talk doesn’t have to be a long, articulate sermon. It can be a simple phrase or a verse that we commit to memory. Here are some of my other favorites:
“Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.” (2 Nephi 4:28)
“I can do everything through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
When a brother, sister, friend, son, daughter, neighbor, or coworker is having a rough go with things, we are quick to rattle off our best words of wisdom and uplifting thoughts. Why should it be any different with ourselves?
So, let’s take our own advice. And put what we know about the Lord and His always-there ability into practice. Talk to yourself … and know that He will be talking to you, too.
Editor’s Note: OK, now it’s your turn. What’s your go-to scripture (or saying) that you tell yourself on repeat? How has it helped you in tough times? Let us know in the comments!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.
I love this. I just tried it…..and I immediately began to feel a little lighter.
Oh, dear Sister Natalie, God really directed you to write these wonderful words! I had prayed this morning before you sent ou your blog. For God to provide the words & thoughts to help my 21yo Granddaughter, Sister Athena, who is terribly filled with anxiety. Your words are so spot-on at just the right time that I know the words came from God’s lips through your heart. Thank you, dear sweet sister! Love Bro George
“Be still, Christine, and know that I am God.”
You got my main 4, but I also use Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Love that one too Brother Ken!!!
One of my favorites I say each night is: Psalm 27: 14. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. It gives me hope and joy, and that He truly understands me.
2 Corinthians 10:5 is my favorite.