Negative Mind Chatter


An elephant will remain tied to a small stake in the ground with a chain and metal ankle bracelet.  The elephant could easily pull up the stake. When he was a small animal, he was tied to the stake and could not pull it up.  He knew that he was not strong enough. He got older and stronger, but still believed that the stake was holding him down.  Elephants have been known to die in fires because of their unrealistic belief that they could not pull up the stake.

Ann’s father never allowed her to be right.  They argued, but he argued louder and longer that she.  Ann was never right even when she could prove it to him.  As a result, Ann always has to prove herself. Her mind constantly tells her that she is wrong and she will never succeed.

We often are not aware of mind chatter.  We hear it subconsciously and obey it, but we never objectively listen to it.  Mind chatter is more often negative than positive.

The first requirement is to pay attention to the mind chatter. Listen to the words.

IS THE BAD GOOD?  Look at your negative mind chatter and ask yourself if it is helping you in some way.  Is it protecting you from an unpleasant situation?  Is it protecting a fear?

Even though your negative mind chatter seems to protect you, it is continuing to support the fear behind it.

You need positive statements to counteract your negative thoughts.  If you don’t have positive friends who care about you, positive statements will have to come from you.

Your thinking tends to bring about self-fulfilling prophecy.  If you believe you can, you’re right. If you believe you can’t, you’re right.

The following are questions you might ask yourself.  Think of specific examples to your answers, not a general, “I always or never do that.”

WHERE DID THE MIND CHATTER ORIGINATE?  Is there someone in your past who has made you question your self worth?  Who is it? Does this person have low self-esteem?  Most often, parents with low self-esteem are so absorbed in protecting themselves that they discourage the child instead of encourage him to become emotionally strong.  The parent cannot get beyond his or her own failings. By looking objectively at your parent, you begin to see the whole picture from an adult point of view instead of from a helpless child’s point of view.  You do not have to remain tied to the stake.

DO YOU APPRECIATE YOURSELF? Do you believe in yourself more than you believe in others?  This is not the same as an open-minded attitude.  Give yourself credit when you know what you believe and cannot be talked out of it.

What do you value in your life?  Are you living up to those values? Values are different than moral standards.  You may value friendships or money or your home.  Morals are standards of right and wrong that you believe in and follow such as that it is morally wrong to commit adultery or to lie.

Are you living up to your moral standards?  Do you keep your word?  Give yourself credit for keeping your word when it is not easy.  Whatever your standards are, give yourself credit when you follow your own standards instead of allowing someone else to determine how you will behave.

 “We distinguish the excellent man from the common man by saying that the former is the one who makes great demands upon himself and the latter, one who makes no demands on himself.”  ― Jose Ortega y Gasset

Do you follow your intuition?  Do you trust your judgment? Is there someone who you can brainstorm with to help you look objectively at your judgments?  Do your decisions stand the test of time?  Give yourself credit when you considered the consequences and your decisions were sound.  Are you capable of taking information and using it to solve a problem?  If not, do you have friends who can help you work through the problems to a suitable solution?  Not everyone is good at analyzing information and coming to a conclusion, but that can be learned. Do you learn from your mistakes? Are you willing to admit your mistakes and understand what to do differently?


As you create positive statements about yourself, you will begin to appreciate yourself.  You develop the habit of positive thinking, creating an attitude of optimism and hope.

If you have trouble remembering all the good qualities you possess, make it a point to ask someone else, and believe what they say.  Then write it down in a small notepad specifically set aside for good qualities and positive happenings.  Read the notes every day.

Accept yourself for who you are now and do not stop there.  Move forward. Be aware of all that you can be and begin today to move toward it. You owe it to yourself.

As Ann grew in appreciation of herself, she became more patient with others.  A happier, more secure person, she no longer needed to prove herself to others.  She believed in and trusted herself.


  • What negative mind chatter is most common for you?
  • What fear is it protecting?
  • What ten positive statements can you say about yourself?
  • Who can you ask to help you see your successes?

©B. Eddy

 Betty Eddy is a published author and member of the Netiv community. Her work as a life coach has given her unique insight into self help. In her book “Untying the Knots of Life” she deals with concepts which guides the reader though self discovery.

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