25 Labels in Your Negative Self Talk

self esteem self talk self worth

Labels used in negative self talk can restrict you from being your fullest potential. They are the names you mentally call yourself in your head. Unfavourable outcomes result when you identify who you are with these labels.

Labels can be positive or negative. While it helps to use labels for describing something, they can also be rather restrictive. By identifying yourself with them, whether positive or negative, you prevent yourself from discovering your true essence. Still, it is the labels in negative self talk that create the most problems for us.

negative labels in your self-talk

Labeling yourself negatively stems from thinking that you are defective, flawed and un-whole. You simply believe that you are “not good enough”. You are not able to accept that you are humanly imperfect. Each time you affix a negative label on yourself, you feel down and leak energy.

It does not matter even if others may have used the label on you once. The most important thing is how you have viewed yourself because of the name-calling. You may mistakenly even blame others for causing you to feel miserable. However, sad to say, it is really you who have inflicted more misery inwards.

Where others have pronounced you a “pig”, you are likely to have called yourself “a pig” over and over again in negative self talk whilst stewing over in anger. You are not able to sleep well at night because of the constant replay in your mind. If anything, your greatest enemy is not your friend who has called you a “pig” but yourself.

Let’s look into more examples of what some of these negative labels in our self talk are…

1. I am such a “failure” or “loser”.

You probably view life as a game whereby you either “lose” or “win”. So you are attached to the results. Having labels such as “failure” or “loser” lowers you confidence and prevents you from attaining the success that you deserve.

2. I am a “freak”.

There is something about you that makes you different. And so you do not quite conform to being what is considered normal in society. Feeling like an “alien”, you often wonder what you are doing here on Planet Earth.

3. I am born “unlucky”.

You believe that you are doomed for life because of your birth circumstances. Perhaps you have been born in dismal conditions such as poverty, a serious handicap or have lost both your parents. Whatever it is, you believe that you are at a greater disadvantage than others, with no head start.

4. I am “ugly”, “fat”, “flat” or “short” and so on.

When you look in the mirror, you experience a sense of dejection. You find it hard to practice self-acceptance. You feel imperfect because of a certain body part. It would be awesome if you can look like a god or goddess, with features that are flawless. Unfortunately, you do not. You may also have realised that at best, you look rather ordinary.

5. I am “stupid”.

With a label like “stupid”, you prevent yourself from being able learn things effectively. You believe that you are not born intelligent enough. And so you hamper yourself because you say that you are not able to think critically, analyze or learn fast.

25 Negative Self Talk Labels That Stifle You

I have shared about 14 labels that are commonly used in negative self talk:

pig, imperfect, failure, loser, freak, alien, unlucky, slow, stupid, ugly, fat, flat, short, and suck.

Then, there are also others like
– worthless
– boring
– emo or emotional
– hyper
– crazy
– retard
– psycho
– nerd
– weird
– lousy
– lousy
and so on.

My Own Experience

I remember labeling myself as “slow” when I compared my own performance to some of my peers at an early point in my career. Each of us had joined as a management trainee. As a member of the trainee team, we were also supposed to be in some kind of fast track in terms of career progression. One of the members openly wondered how without scoring top-notch university grades, I actually made it to the team. Hearing his comments repeatedly, I soon formed the belief that I would never be quite as good as the rest.

Well, we were made to go through evaluation rounds during our training. During the last 2 final rounds, we were asked many difficult questions. Stumped, my teammates and I fell silent.

Then, as I stood facing the panel of judges, the right answers came flooding into my mind. Don’t ask me how. I managed to answer all the questions, to the astonishment of everyone. The team made it because I could successfully answer the questions. After the evaluation round, I could see that my teammates were disappointed with their inability to answer the questions.

Not just this experience but several, I have come to appreciate that being first in the queue is not always the best. I would find myself catching up and then performing better – if not just as well – than others. It is the diligence and constant practice to learn the parts that I do not know that usually helps. I prefer to do things at the pace that I can cope with. Slow and steady wins the race!

How to Turn the Situation Around

Here are some ways that you can turn the situation around if you are using the following labels in your negative self talk…

1. “Failure”, “Loser”. It will help if you can alter your perception of things. Life is a journey, with a series of adventures. In some of these adventures, you do better than others and in others, you do not do as well. You have not actually failed or lost if you have not given up. You also need to learn how to enjoy the journey in the meantime, instead of being too quick to condemn yourself.

2. “Freak”. Others may have called you names, which boil down to labeling you as a freak. You are the least popular person in school or in the neighborhood. Luckily for you, there is now Lady Gaga to the rescue through bringing attention to the subject on bullying with her”“Born this Way” foundation.

3. Born “unlucky”. Well, you need to learn to make good. Many of us are born imperfect or not in the best circumstances. Instead of feeling like a victim, you need to develop courage and overcome your challenges. You become a force of inspiration like Nick Vujicic, who has no limbs but who is leading a life without limits.

4. Body Imperfection such as “fat”, “ugly” and so on. Getting plastic surgery done to improve your looks may help to enhance your confidence but it may not sufficiently address the root cause of your problem: low self-love and esteem. You have to get to know your innate value by accessing your core deeply.

5. “Stupid”. Let us learn from Thomas Edison, famous American inventor and businessman with a record of 1,093 patents. He once said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”. With determination and diligence, you would be able to gain mastery over a subject. So never give up!

Switch from Negative to Positive Self Talk

Negative self talk makes you feel unlovable and/or unworthy and undeserving of love. They are mostly untrue. Needless to say, stop putting yourself down with unhelpful labels. Avoid limiting yourself with them.

self-love program: how to love yourself unconditionallyLabels essentially come from thought. Since you can create thought, you can also choose to use more positive words instead. You can use descriptions such as “brave”, “unique”, “worthy”, “lovable”, “strong” and so on.

Turn your negative self talk into a positive one. When you support yourself with more positive self talk, it becomes easier to raise your vibrations. You feel more empowered. From calling yourself a “success” on the inside, you find yourself magnetising greater success into your life.

“If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It’s very important to be aware of them every time they come up.” – Deepak Chopra

Love and Abundance Always,

evelyn lim signature

Author. Adventurer. Life Coach.

P.S. Share your experience with dealing with labels in negative self talk in the comments below.

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Julie | A Clear Sign - March 19, 2012 Reply

There are such different perspectives we can have about ourselves as we go through life. In childhood we may perfectly enjoy life but run into trouble in adolescence, or some other time. We need to remember that we are divinely made and are perfect just as we are. If we accept that, we have the power to change anything we want to, and also enjoy the adventure.


Evelyn Reply:

Hi Julie,

Thank you for affirming the reminder that we are divinely made and perfect just as we are. Who we are is clearly beyond all labels.

Abundance always,


Andi-Roo - March 19, 2012 Reply

I love this piece!

One of my Personal Commandments states, “You are allowed to wear more than one label at a time; alternatively, you may remove all your labels to reinvent yourself.” I try to keep myself from dressing in negative labels. Thank you for the reminder!

More closely related to the point you’re trying to make is another of my mottoes: “Speak as gently to others as you would to a child. Speak as gently to yourself as you should to others.” This is such a difficult habit for me to break, I must read & re-read my rules everyday. Seeing this affirmed from another source only compounds the truth of the statement.

Read here for more of my Personal Commandments: http://www.theworld4realz.com/2012/02/24/personal-commandments/


Evelyn Reply:

Hello Andi,

I like your Personal Commandment on removing labels. It made me laugh because it is so true!

Thank you for sharing your mottos. They are great ones to live by.

All the best,


Vidya Sury - March 19, 2012 Reply

This is such a good post. You know, in general my self-esteem has been good. But certain members of the family, and certain people at work would always make me feel like i was dumb. At the workplace I got over it quickly because continued interaction with these people dissolved all these things, but with the couple of elderly family members, it stuck until they (may their souls rest in peace) died. Of course, I have learned to laugh at that negative committee (to borrow Sibyl’s phrase) but hey, while it lasted, it was not at all nice. Glad I got over it. I also had an amazing mom who always pep-talked me and made me believe I was awesome.

This post is fantastic, Evelyn! You’ve written it so well!


Evelyn Reply:

Hello Vidya,

I am glad that the challenging period has been over for you. The ability to laugh at the comments also takes high self-esteem, which luckily you already have. Everyone has the potential to be great, in their own way. Your mum certainly sounds amazing!!

Love and abundance always,


Paula D'Andrea - March 20, 2012 Reply

Great job covering one of the biggest blocks people have Evelyn!
Most people are unaware of how they function. They are on ‘auto pilot’ with their thoughts, behaviors and actions, and don’t even no the impact they are having on themselves.

Uncovering and discovering the different ‘labels’, and putting a new spin on them, can give someone a new lease on life!
Best Regards, Paula D’Andrea


Evelyn Reply:

Hi Paula,

Great point about being on “auto-pilot”. It will help if we can slow down, and go over the comments that we have of ourselves. We will realize that many of them are not really true. By altering our perception, we are in a better position to succeed.

Abundance always,


David Stevens - March 20, 2012 Reply

Hi Evelyn,
We are so capable of beating ourselves up…..yet it doesn’t have to be that way…..turn it around and shine!
Thankyou for this
be good to yourself


Evelyn Reply:

Yup, it doesn’t have to be that way. We have a choice.

All the best,


The Vizier - March 20, 2012 Reply

Hi Evelyn,

It is true. Labels can be positive or negative. They can lift you up or bring you down.

I like how you shared your example with us that slow and steady wins the race. Grades are not everything in life. Being book smart does not make a person worldly wise. And in many cases, common sense and adaptability is more important and useful. Thankfully, these are things that anyone can learn through practice.

There are always two sides to any situation. I like the ways you have showed us to turn any situation around. It is what we do with a challenge that determines how things will turn out for us in the end.

Thank you for sharing this lovely article!

Irving the Vizier


Evelyn Reply:

Hello Irving,

It is certainly true that grades are not everything in life. There are people who have not done much schooling and have succeeded. Some even have physical handicaps. A lot depends on your mental attitude.

It is always possible to turn a situation around. But first, we must have the belief that it is possible.

Thank you for your comments,


J.D. Meier - March 21, 2012 Reply

Labels can be very limiting (or empowering.)

One of the most interesting insights from Martin Seligman is that our explanatory pattern can limit or enable us through life. We limit ourselves when we explain negative events as permanent, personal, or pervasive.

The trick is to always reframe and find more empowering labels and explanations.


Evelyn Reply:

Hi J.D,

Thank you for the insight on explaining negative events.

Reframing labels help. But we also need to be mindful not to be also limited by positive labels, because an over-identification can prevent us from knowing deeply who we are.

Abundance always,


Ajen - March 22, 2012 Reply

Labels is so pervasive in our society today. From the moment we are born, we are labeled. …and we accept these labels. As a perpetual learner in the mental health field, I have seen the devastation resulting from the use of labels. She is depressed. She is suicidal. He is a better father than you. He is an alcoholic. They are minorities. They are atheists.

If we took the time to see ourselves as an individual who is made up of complex experiences and who wears many hats in one day (child, sibling, student, co-worker, lover, citizen, etc…), I think it would be easier for each one of us to offer the same respect to our fellow human beings. To do this, it would require us to communicate more and be effective while doing so (labeling lends itself to quick and easy chats… and bound to leave a lot for assumption).

So, for example, instead of saying that I am a loser, I would say that I am a person who is doing my best to succeed at a particular activity. Here, the former phrase of the prior statement seems very absolute in comparison to the second half of the statement. Interestingly, it is the later part of the statement not only shows the open possibilities that are ever present in my life, it sets the positive tone that is needed for success.

Positive self talk is only the beginning… a necessary one in deed!

Thank you Evelyn for posting… I always enjoy processing your words!



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lynne - August 7, 2015 Reply

Hi, loved your post. sometimes we are too hard on ourselves, the advice you mentioned on how to turn things around are really great and very helpful. Thanks for sharing.


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