While living on this planet, you can count on one thing: adversity. Sooner or later, something is going to upset your applecart. The good news is that no event can add up to the end of the world unless you say so: adversity is inevitable and presents itself to test your inner strength and provide an opportunity for Personal Development. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, adversity is defined as “misfortune, a wretched or troubled state, a calamity or a disaster.” This means that it could reveal itself to be anything from a minor event to what you would interpret as a full-scale, life-altering catastrophe. The extent to which adversity affects you will be determined by your perspective, past experience, and degree of personal involvement.

Life is easy to live when everything is going smoothly. The real challenge is continuing to feel good about yourself when adversity hits you between the eyes. This is where self-talk becomes so vitally important. Self-talk is what you think and say about yourself, both in your head and out loud to others. Self-talk used before adversity comes into your life is just as important for overcoming it as is the self-talk used after it happens.

The self-talk you use before adversity strikes bolsters self-confidence and strengthens your ability to deal with whatever comes your way. How you feel about yourself before experiencing adversity has everything to do with the way it affects you and how you decide to work through it. Negative self-talk makes it more difficult to shake off adversity and extends your recovery time indefinitely because this kind of self-talk inhibits you from accepting your circumstances so that you can move forward. However, when you use self-talk that promotes optimism and self-confidence in advance of adversity, it becomes easier to maintain a positive perspective. For instance, when you repeatedly use encouraging self-talk, you build self-confidence and a strong self-image that lessens the impact of peer pressure, loss, verbally abusive people, and other adverse circumstances.

After the adversity you can employ conscious self-talk that lessens its impact, enhances creativity, builds optimism, and supports a healthy self-image. This is when you want to repeat thoughts like “I am getting through this” or “This is just a minor interruption; I will deal with it and move on.” The important thing is to consciously use more positive self-talk than negative. You do this is by monitoring your self-talk.

Make it a point to be aware of what you are thinking and saying about yourself so that you can determine whether its current trend is positive or negative, fearful or hopeful, and most important, whether it reinforces a positive image of who you are. In the face of adversity, be alert to whether your self-talk is stuck in the past with “shoulds” and “coulds.”

Being conscious of the path of your self-talk gives you the mental agility to change its direction when it falls short of supporting you, your intentions, and your goals. For example, when you encounter misfortune, self-talk emphasizing your aptitude for finding yourself in sticky situations falls short of being fully supportive and fails to reinforce a positive self-image. Even when said in jest, these comments are just as destructive because humor only masks what you truly believe to be the truth about yourself. Furthermore, these comments act like a magnet, attracting even more of these experiences to your doorstep.

Being able to recognize when your self-talk is in a downward spiral is essential. If it is, you need to ask yourself if your self-talk is inhibiting your ability to get through adverse situations. Your answer will ignite a dialogue of self-talk that will help you find your way to the other side of what has happened. You can aid this process by transforming repetitive self-talk from that of a victim to someone who encourages and supports his recovery with thoughts like “I can get over this” or “I am a survivor.” Transforming the path of your self-talk requires awareness, desire, and a conscious effort, and the results are worth your commitment.

Another way that you can use self-talk to overcome adversity is by designing positive statements upon which you can draw the moment adversity happens in order to reignite the energy, passion, and purpose you originally had for accomplishing your goals and intentions. These statements could be as basic as “I can do this” or “I can overcome any obstacle.” Repeated over and over again, these statements are a very powerful influence and represent a conscious way of supporting yourself in the face of the most devastating adversity.

Self-talk provides you with a way of turning misery into something positive through the use of self-actualization. The process involves dropping iffy language that begins with “I can’t,” “I don’t,” and “I’ll try” and replacing it with purposeful thoughts and statements about you and what you are doing. When adversity seeks to get the best of you, this linguistic transformation fosters trust, enhances self-confidence, fortifies your resolve, and limits damaging effects to your attitude and feelings.

Something else that factors into the management of adversity is your expectation of perfection. Of course, you want to use self-talk that promotes perfection, yet adversity is something you should expect and for which you should be ready. Factor the possibility of imperfection into everything you do so that you can keep a clear head and maintain your mental agility when things don’t go as planned. To cultivate this mind-set, use self-talk that promotes open-mindedness and solution-based thinking.

Regardless of the adversity you face in life, it’s just a bump in the road that you have to get beyond in order to learn or experience something that will benefit you later in life. Self-talk is something you use every day. Keep a steady eye on yours, and you will always be one step ahead.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit http://www.selfgrowth.com/greatways.html

Author's Bio: 

Michael J. Russ, President and Founder of Powerful Living International, LLC, lives in Panama City Beach, Florida. He is passionate about travel, teaching, public speaking, writing, and conveying ideas that help people live life with more passion and purpose. Michael has authored several audio books, presents corporate workshops, and writes regularly for several online magazines. For more information about Michael and his books, please visit his Web site at http://www.powerfulliving.org.