In the Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz talks about words as magic; negative words are black magic, positive words are white magic.
The dangers of negative words are obvious, if someone tells you you’re fat, ugly, stupid, whatever, he is casting a black magic spell upon you, and if you accept his words as true, you’re acquiescing to the spell. This is particularly harmful if the person casting the spell is you.
The opposite holds true. If someone uses words to lift you up, you’re beautiful, kind, smart, whatever, he is casting a white magic spell upon you. Like the black magic spell, the choice to accept or not is yours, even if the caster is you.
A word of caution, though.
Simply rejecting all black spells, or accepting all white spells, is a trap.
What if the criticism is valid? If you cannot accept criticism, how can you improve?
What if the praise is not valid. What if it is mere flattery? Simply accepting all praise leads to an inflated view of self. You need to earn your self esteem.
We cannot control the actions and words of others, but we can control our own. So look inside. Go deep within yourself, and be aware of how you describe yourself.
An example of how to different versions of self talk, describing the same thing, can lead to very different interpretations and outcomes over here.