We don’t often talk about the voices inside our heads. Yet they are omni-present and sometimes downright unhelpful. When we tune in to the inner voices, we might find that we are often saying quite negative things to ourselves, such as, “I look awful in these clothes,” or “everyone thinks I’m an idiot” or “I’m useless at maths.”
We may think that by chastising ourselves in this way we are somehow galvanising ourselves into action but we may just be reinforcing negative untruths which are actually quite damaging. Such running commentaries, although not expressed aloud, can become reinforced beliefs – not at all helpful.
There is, of course, a relatively easy solution to this problem and that is to actively engage in positive self-talk. We could make it a mission to start the day with at least three optimistic comments that make us feel good about ourselves: “these clothes look pretty awesome on me,” and “I can totally make it through this exam,” and “I don’t feel too good about what I have done, but I’ll get through this moment and there is plenty of time to make things better.”
This is how I would encourage my pupils to look upon their reports as they reflect on the comments and grades. For those who are feeling distressed about their reports, it is particularly important to turn up the volume of positive self-talk. There is plenty of time to sort out whatever the goals may be.