68 Negative Self-Talk Examples to AVOID at All Costs

Did you know that throughout the day, countless examples of negative self-talk might be running through your mind, affecting your thoughts and actions, and potentially impacting your mental health? 

This inner conversation can be a form of self-criticism that can lead to anxiety and depression.

Harnessing the Power of Belief Amidst Self-Talk

A confident woman with a shaking finger of disapproval to self doubt

Discover how to combat this by learning what happens when you believe in yourself.

It’s time to put an end to these harmful mental habits and shift toward a more positive outlook, fostering self-esteem and self-love.

Identifying Examples of Negative Self-Talk

A beautiful smiling woman with her palm up saying no to negative self talk

In this post, we’ll explore 68 examples of negative self-talk that you should avoid at all costs.

Unintentionally, you might have developed the habit of engaging in negative self-talk, which can slowly but surely erode your confidence and frame your mind in a perpetual cycle of negativity

This constant barrage of negative thoughts blinds you from seeing opportunities, challenging yourself, and expanding your capabilities.

These damaging words about yourself can strain your relationships with others and within yourself, ultimately hampering your ability to reach your full potential

By identifying and eliminating these examples of negative self-talk, you can take a step towards a healthier mindset and a more fulfilling life.

Learn more about the impact of negative thinking on your emotional well-being from Mayo Clinic.

Negative Self-Talk: The Hidden Barrier to Achieving Your Dreams

A person smiling symbolising overcoming negative self-talk with a smile.

When you genuinely ponder it, there’s nothing standing between you and the life you desire.

Not your mom, your high school teacher, your colleague, or politicians.

No one can condemn you to a life of mediocrity with a sinister laugh, proclaiming your dreams to be out of reach.

It’s often our own self-doubt and pessimism that become barriers to our personal potential.

Unlocking the Power of Potential Against Self-Doubt

A woman speaks with loudspeaker and cartoon listening, your potential overpowering self-doubt

The truth is, we all have the potential to become more, achieve more, earn more, and lead healthier, happier lives.

Yet so many of us struggle to create and live the lives we genuinely want.

It’s not for lack of ambition or effort. 

Fundamentally, we all yearn for the same things.

Understanding the Impact of Negative Self-Talk on Your Life

A woman holding a mobile phone away and yelling coming from the phone, looking unimpressed with negative self talk

It’s the negative self-talk that goes on in our minds that holds us back from living our dream life.

Consider the last time you thought, “I want this, and I want to achieve that.”

Do you recall what happened next?

Almost instantly, our inner critic emerges, whispering endless reasons why we can’t achieve those dreams.

  • I don’t have money.
  • I don’t have time.
  • I don’t have knowledge.
  • I am too old.
  • I am too young.

And so on…

What do we do when faced with this barrage of negativity?

We listen to our inner voice—those damaging self-statements—and obediently give up on our dreams and aspirations, resigning ourselves to a mundane life full of regrets and unfulfilled potential. 

It’s time to break free from the chains of negative self-talk and embrace the power of positive thinking.

A Life-Changing Book, Self-Talk Examples, and Your Path to Success

A person walking away from a dark, gloomy forest (negative self-talk) towards a sunlit meadow (success).

After reading a transformative book (you can read my book review here), I realised that I hold all the power within me, and it was my own self-blaming and negative self-perception that led me astray.

You can check out some inspiring 30-day challenges as well that personally helped me on my journey.

I trapped myself in fear through the countless negative self-talk examples I repeated daily, both aloud and internally.

To help you shift your mindset, consider trying some of these Word of the Month ideas for an inspired life.

If any of the negative self-talk examples mentioned in this post resonates with you, trust me: you, too, are hindering your own success and preventing yourself from living the life you desire.

Take a look at these negative self-talk examples below.

Reflect on how many negative comments about yourself you’ve made in the past few days.

Seriously, count them.


68 Examples of Negative Self-Talk to Avoid

A dark maze represents negative self-talk, with each turning point labeled with a negative self-talk example.

(Full credit for the list goes to “What to Say When You Talk to Your Self” by Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D.)

I’ve taken the list from the book and categorised it into seven themes to help you, my readers, identify patterns in your own negative self-talk and better understand how these thoughts are holding you back.

pretty flowers wall paper before a list of negative self talk examples

Self-Talk Examples: Self-Doubt and Limiting Beliefs

Sometimes, our negative self-talk stems from self-doubt and limiting beliefs.

We question our abilities and undermine our potential, ultimately hindering our growth.

Recognising these thoughts is the first step to overcoming them and building self-confidence.

Learn how to believe you’re good enough and embrace your worth.

1. I can’t remember names.
2. I just know it won’t work.
3. Nothing ever goes right for me.
4. I’m so clumsy.
5. I don’t have the talent.
6. I’m just not creative.
7. I can never afford the things I want.
8. No matter what I do I can’t seem to lose weight.
9. I just don’t have the patience for that.
10. I never know what to say.

Self-Talk Examples: Frustration and Disappointment

Negative self-talk can also arise from frustration and disappointment with ourselves or our circumstances.

This type of thinking can lead to a cycle of negativity, making it difficult to break free and find happiness.

Discover how to break free from chronic complaining and start living your best life.

11. I can’t seem to get organized.
12. Today just isn’t my day.
13. That’s just my luck.
14. I already know I won’t like it.
15. I never have enough time.
16. That really makes me mad.
17. Another blue Monday.
18. When will I ever learn?
19. I get so depressed.
20. I just can’t seem to get anything done.

Self-Talk Examples: Self-Image and Low Self-Esteem

A negative self-image and low self-esteem can contribute to harmful self-talk.

When we don’t feel good about ourselves, it’s easy to get trapped in a cycle of negative thoughts.

Here are 10 signs that you’re on the road to self-acceptance and loving yourself.

21. I get sick just thinking about it.
22. Sometimes I just hate myself.
23. I’m just no good.
24. I’m too shy.
25. With my luck, I don’t have a chance.
26. I don’t have the energy I used to.
27. I’m really out of shape.
28. I never have any money left over at the end of the month.
29. I feel like I’m over the hill.
30. Nobody likes me.

white flower wall paper before a list of negative self talk examples

Self-Talk Examples: Pessimism and Hopelessness

Pessimistic thoughts and feelings of hopelessness can make it challenging to see the positive aspects of life.

Negative self-talk in this category can make it difficult to stay motivated and push through challenging situations.

Check out these 100 powerful quotes for when you feel like giving up.

31. Why should I try, it’s not going to work anyway.
32. I’ve never been any good at that.
33. My desk is always a mess.
34. The only kind of luck I have is bad luck.
35. I never win anything.
36. Someone always beats me to it.
37. I never get a break.
38. It seems like I’m always broke.
39. Nothing seems to go right for me.
40. That’s impossible.

Self-Talk Examples: Lack of Trust and Self-Worth

When we lack trust in ourselves or question our self-worth, negative self-talk can be particularly damaging.

It’s crucial to recognise these thoughts and work on building a strong foundation of self-worth and trust.

Explore these 15 daily habits for personal growth and success to become a better person.

41. Everything I touch turns to bleep.
42. Nobody wants to pay me what I’m worth.
43. Sometimes I wish I’d never been born.
44. I’m just no good at math.
45. I lose weight but then I gain it right back again.
46. I get a cold this time every year.
47. I’m just not cut out for that.
48. I’m really at the end of my rope.
49. You can’t trust anyone anymore.
50. I never seem to get anyplace on time.

Self-Talk Examples: Feeling Overwhelmed and Stressed

Negative self-talk often occurs when we feel overwhelmed or stressed.

Recognising these thoughts and learning to manage stress more effectively can help you break free from the cycle of negativity.

Understand the 4 reasons behind indecision and how to overcome it when you can’t make up your mind.

51. There’s just no way.
52. I always freeze up in front of a group.
53. I’m nothing without my first cup of coffee in the morning.
54. I just can’t get with it today.
55. I’ll never get it right.
56. I just can’t take it anymore.
57. I hate my job.
58. If only I had more time.
59. I just can’t handle this.
60. I’ve always been bad with words.

Self-Talk Examples: The “If Only” Trap

The “if only” trap is another form of negative self-talk, where we constantly focus on what we lack or what could have been.

It’s important to shift our focus to the present moment and the opportunities available to us right now.

Remember that it’s never too late to start over and reclaim your life today.

61. If only I were smarter.
62. If only I were taller.
63. If only I had more money.
64. Everything I eat goes right to my waist.
65. It’s going to be another one of those days.
66. It’s just no use.
67. I can’t get organized.
68. I don’t have enough money.

(Full credit for the list goes to What to Say When You Talk to Your Self by Shad Helmstetter Ph.D)

Transform Your Mindset with This Life-Changing Book

As you work on identifying and challenging the negative self-talk examples that have been holding you back, it’s essential to have a powerful resource by your side. 

The book “What to Say When You Talk to Your Self” by Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D., can be a game-changer in your journey towards a positive mindset.

In this insightful book, Dr. Helmstetter reveals the power of self-talk and its impact on our lives. 

He provides practical strategies for replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations, helping you break free from the limiting beliefs that have been holding you back.

This book is not just about understanding the concept of self-talk; it’s a guide to rewiring your thought patterns and transforming your life from the inside out

By implementing the techniques shared in the book, you can gradually replace your negative self-talk with a more empowering and uplifting inner dialogue.

So, if you’re ready to take control of your thoughts and create lasting change, give “What to Say When You Talk to Your Self” a read. 

It’s time to unleash your true potential and unlock a happier, more fulfilling life.

(Disclosure: If you purchase through the link, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog, my dear reader!)

Final Thoughts: Breaking Free from Negative Self-Talk

Now that we have categorised these 68 examples of negative self-talk, it’s time to actively work on replacing them with positive, empowering thoughts, fostering self-acceptance and self-improvement for better emotional well-being.

Remember, your mindset plays a crucial role in shaping your life.

Start by recognising and challenging your negative self-talk, and then replace it with positive affirmations to begin your journey towards a more fulfilling, happier life.

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