positive self-talk

The words we say to ourselves

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The subject of this post is “The words we say to ourselves” because so many of our students write to us saying they have low confidence in speaking English. And I know for a fact that low confidence has a lot to do with what we say to ourselves – whether out loud or in our heads.

Take a look at the below example. It’s based on an email we received not too long ago.

Dear My English Matters,

First of all, I’m very sorry for my poor writing.
I’m not very good at writing and my speaking is even worse.
Even though I’m a school teacher, my skills in speaking English is very poor. 

I look forward to learning English with you guys. Please help me improve my confidence by replying to this email. Thank you so much.


Now I’m going to share my reply to her because I believe it will be helpful to many. This is based on what I wrote back:

Dear MEMber,

Thank you for your email! It gives us great joy to know our work can help people. Now, I want to share a few extra tips for you to improve your confidence.

  1. You don’t need to apologise for poor writing! As second language learners, it’s absolutely normal to not be perfect. People will not be offended if you make mistakes.
  2. Instead of saying “I’m not very good at writing and speaking”, change the words to “I’m currently in the process of improving my writing and speaking skills”. The words we say to ourselves shape who we are and what we think of ourselves.
  3. Change “my skills in speaking English is very poor” to “I still have room to improve my English speaking skills”. 

I would like to say “thank you!” for being an important person in our society – you’re a school teacher, a person who is teaching a new generation of future leaders. You are a treasure! You can do this!

All my best to you,


Notice what I wrote in the second point?

Let me repeat it here: The words we say to ourselves shape who we are and what we think of ourselves.

If you tend to say negative words to yourself, it’s time to change that. Use the examples I shared in the email to maintain a positive mindset and set yourself up for success. Changing your inner monologue can help change your life.

Can you think of any negative thoughts you say to yourself? How can you change that? Write them down and formulate new and positive phrases to replace the negative ones.

You can even share them with us by leaving a comment below. We always love hearing from you.

Happy Independence Day to all Malaysians.

Do you want to speak English with confidence?

Sign up to join our free video training, Speaking with Confidence. We’ll send you seven tips to your email address!

Here’s Tip 1 for a sneak peek of what’s in store for you.

Hi there!

We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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