YOUR relationship with yourself is critically important and without a positive self-talk practice you will become trapped in the loop of negative thinking.How you interact with yourself is one of the most powerful influences on your future happiness and success. Research indicates that those who have emotional problems engage in negative self-talk a high percentage of the time and yet few people admit that they talk to themselves and as a result fail to understand the critical nature of this internal dialogue. Negative self-talk stems from our thoughts and are usually distortions of an event or situation and an over focus on what's wrong. Thinking habits develop over the years and are deeply rooted within our past experiences. If you find yourself jealous of others or are frequently competitive in most situations the chances are that you were belittled by other children in your formative years. As children, we believe what we're told about ourselves. As adults we carry on telling ourselves these same messages never doubting them or challenging them. We take our beliefs as facts – which of course is usually not the case. When you tried something new were you told you'd never be good at it or were your efforts the source of humour for others? Many of us would have encountered a teacher at some point in our schooling who just seemed highly critical of us. Teachers are in a role of authority, and you put your trust in them. One highly critical or hard- to- please teacher can often set off a chain reaction of self- doubt and fear of failure. These many experiences are the seeds of our selftalk. Sometimes we initiate negative self-talk when we are faced with moving beyond our comfort zone. "I can't do this" is often a screen for 'I don't want to deal with the experience of making a mistake or of failing'. Our thoughts determine how we feel and how we feel influence the way we act often resulting in no action. Find out where the negative self- talk originated. Can you recall specific moments in your life that have impacted on how you see yourself today? Watch out for negative labels. Negative labels are the things we often habitually say that lower selfesteem in ourselves. Example: "I'm stupid," or "I'm fat." When we say phrases like these often enough they become a part of our identity and we can begin to dislike who we are. Although you may engage in stupid behaviour occasionally, that doesn't make you a stupid person. Remember, we are not born with negative thoughts – this inner dialogue is something we learn to do and can be unlearned. You can be a victim or victor in life and that is simply your choice!