What to Say When You Talk to Your Self | Shad Helmstetter | Summary


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We talk to ourselves all of the time, usually without realizing it. And most of what we tell ourselves is negative, counterproductive, and damaging, preventing us from enjoying a fulfilled and successful life. But with Shad Helmsetter’s Five Levels of Self-Talk (Negative Acceptance, Recognition and Need to Change, Decision to Change, The Better You, and Universal Affirmation), you can take back control of your life via this accessible yet profound technique.

. . . 

  • The quality of our lives depends on the quality of our programming, that is, how we talk to ourselves.
  • “The brain simply believes what you tell it “most. And what you tell it about you, it will create. It has no choice.”
  • Helmstetter tells us that there are 5 levels of self talk; most of us operate on level 1, which is the most damaging.
  • Re-framing self talk: “I just can’t seem to get anything done today!” to… “I am organized and complete my work on time!”
  • When you talk to yourself, a single positive phrase won’t result in an overnight miracle; instead, use self talk scripts which address all the major subject areas of a problem. [Insight #3]
  • Adjust your attitude; one can change how they feel about anything by merely adjusting the way they think about that particular thing.
  • ‘Programming creates beliefs, beliefs create attitudes, attitudes create feelings, feelings determine actions and actions create results.’
  • “How we react to those things in life which we can do nothing about will always be the truest test of our own self-control, our own individual sense of self, and our ability to manage our minds.”
  • “Mastering your future starts by managing yourself.”

Shad Helmstetter

“What To Say When You Talk To Yourself”


. . .

INSIGHT #1 The Five Levels Of Self-Talk

“Self talk is a specific set of concisely worded directions –usually a group of dozen or more combined phrases. They link together on the same subject, which jointly paints a detailed picture of the better you which you would like to become or the change in your life you would like to create.”

On any given day, each of us engages in self talk on any of the five different levels, says Helmstetter. Some of the levels work for us, whilst others work against us.

He outlines five distinct levels of self talk:

Level 1: “Negative Acceptance.”

This is the lowest level of self talk and is the most damaging. According to the author, most of our self talk occurs at this level.


“I can’t seem to get anything right!”
“I just can’t!”
“Today just isn’t my day!”
“…was right, I’m useless!”

Level 2: “Recognition and the Need to Change.”

The self talk at this level may appear that it is good but in reality, it is actually working against us.

Here are a few examples:

“I really should get to work on time.”
“I need to lose some weight badly!”
“I’ve got to do something about this!”

Helmstetter points out that the reason why these phrases work against us is because they provide problems without solutions. When we say things such as “I really need to be more organized,” what we are really saying is “I really need to be more organized… but I’m not!”

Level 3: “Decision to Change.”

This is the level where self-talk shifts and is aimed towards working for your benefit rather than working against you.

Examples of level 3 self-talk:

“I no longer have a problem dealing with people at work.”
“I don’t eat more than I should.”
“I never get upset in traffic.”

Helmstetter writes: “when you move to Level III, you are automatically beginning to rephrase old negative ‘cannots.’ That is, you are putting them behind you, and stating them in a positive new way. This tells your subconscious mind to wake up, get moving, and make the change.”

Level 4: “A Better You.”

This is the most effective level of self-talk, says Helmstetter. Level 4 self talk is crucial, but we tend to use it the least. Self talk at this level inspires, encourages and implores the individual.

Examples of statements on this level are:

“I am organized and get things done”
“I have determination, drive and self belief.”
“I am a winner, I believe in myself!”

Level 5: “Universal Affirmation.”

According to Helmstetter, Level 5 self talk is to do with ‘oneness’ and divinity with the universe. Words at this level are meaningful and engaging, such as… “I am one with the universe, and it is one with me.”

He also adds: “This is the self talk for seekers, still living amongst mankind, but anxious to find a greater reward.”


INSIGHT #2  Methods For Applying Self-Talk.

Silent Self Speak
This is what you think about yourself and everything around you. Silent self talk happens both consciously and on an unconscious level. The idea is to listen to all the negative things you say to yourself and then to re-frame them.

Consider this phrase: “ I can’t seem to get anything done today!”

Reframe it to: “I am organized and complete my work on time.”

What you say when you are speaking paints an important part of the pictures and commands that you send to your subconscious.
Helmstetter advises only on using words that align with who you want to become and not saying phrases that might be counterproductive.

Self Conversation
This involves talking to yourself loudly as if you were having a dialogue with yourself whilst holding down both ends of the conversation.

Before attempting this method, the author cautions that you go somewhere private. That is unless you want your most trusted family members or friends to think you’ve gone loony!

Self Write
The idea here is to write down your self-talk. This involves noting the ten most significant self talk suggestions that you are giving to yourself most often. This helps with identifying the negative Level I and II self-talk within you. It’s to do with phrases starting with, “I can’t…” or “nothing seems to go right,” or “it’s just not my day.” Once you have written them down, reframe them into more positive and empowering statements.

Tape Talk
The idea here is to record ‘new programming’ statements and listen to it once or twice in the day via cassette or CD player. The benefit here is that one can listen to the tapes even whilst they are busy doing other chores.


INSIGHT #3 Situational Self Talk

“…how we react to those things in life which we can do nothing about will always be the truest test of our own self-control, our own individual sense of self, and our ability to manage our minds…”

The primary goal of Situational Self-Talk says Helmstetter, is to “adjust situations by adjusting how we look at them.”

Here’s a list of everyday situations collected from the book, which demonstrates how you can shift your perspective about situations through self talk.

  1. Situation: When standing in a long queue…
    Self Talk: “I don’t mind standing in line. That’s where I am and I’m doing what I need to do. Standing in line doesn’t bother me –and I really like getting things done.”
  2. Amidst bad weather…
    Self Talk: “It’s raining today and that’s fine with me. I’m going to have a good day and a little rain can’t stop me.”

iii. An incoming call from an irate customer…
Self Talk: “I like solving problems. I always deal with problems and I never avoid them. I’ll take the call and I’ll tackle the problem head on.”

  1. Whilst Driving…
    Self Talk: “I enjoy relaxing while I am driving in the car. I always give myself the necessary amount of time to get anywhere I am going. I always arrive at -or before -the time I need to be there.”


INSIGHT #4 Self Talk Script

In chapter 14 of What to Say When You Talk To Yourself, Shad Helmstetter provides a self talk script on ‘taking responsibility.’ For the scripts to be effective, he suggests reading them multiple times daily.

“I take full responsibility for everything about me- even the thoughts that I think. I am in control of the vast resources of my own mind.”

“I alone am responsible for what I do and what I tell myself about me. No one can share this responsibility with me.”

“I also allow others to accept their responsibilities for themselves and I do not try to accept their responsibilities for them.”

“I enjoy being responsible. It puts me in charge of being me –and that’s a challenge I enjoy.”

“I allow no one else, at any time, to assume control or responsibility over my life or over anything that I do. My responsibility to others is an extension of my own responsibility to myself.”

“I choose to leave nothing about me up to chance. When it comes to me –and anything in my life –I choose to CHOOSE!”

“My choices are mine alone to make for myself. I do not, at any time, allow anyone else to make my choices for me. An I accept full responsibility for every choice and decision I make.”

“I always meet all of the obligations which I accept. And I accept no obligations which I will not meet.”

“I am trustworthy. I can be counted on. I have accepted winning responsibility for myself –and I always live up to the responsibilities I accept.”

“There is no they on whom I lay blame, or with whom I share my own responsibilities. I have learned the great secret of mastering my own destiny. I have learned that “they” is “me!” ”

“I have no need to make excuses and no one needs to carry my responsibility for me. I gladly carry my own weight- and carry it well.

Each day I acknowledge and accept the responsibility not only for my own actions –but also for my emotions, my thoughts, and my attitudes.”

“I accept the responsibility for living my life in a way which creates y strengths, my happiness, my positive, healthy beliefs, and for my past, my present, and my future.”



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