We may not all do it out loud, but most of us have some way of addressing ourselves when it comes to self-critiquing. If you want to give yourself better feedback, you may be best off speaking to yourself as though you're a separate person.
Picture: Peter Alfred Hess/Flickr
According to psychology researcher Dr Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the way you talk to yourself has a significant impact on how well you perform. Using pronouns like "What are you worried about?" instead of "What am I worried about?" helps maintain a more external perspective. That conclusion was reflected in a study performed at the University of Michigan:
Half the participants were instructed to work through their anxiety using the first-person pronoun ("Why am I nervous?"). The other half were told to address themselves by name or the pronoun "you" ("Why are you nervous?"). Afterward, each participant was asked to estimate how much shame he or she experienced right after the speech, and how much subsequent ruminating they did.
The results were consistent: People whose self-talk used their names or "you" reported less shame and ruminated less than the ones who used "I." The judges found the performances of those using "you" to be more confident, less nervous and more persuasive.
The idea seems to be that when we use external pronouns, we view ourselves as a separate person, enabling us to give ourselves more objective advice. Your mileage may vary, of course, but if you find your self-reflection is too wrapped up in your own head, it may be worth switching to "you".
'Self Talk': When Talking to Yourself, the Way You Do It Makes a Difference [Wall Street Journal via 99u]