We talk to ourselves all of the time; it is estimated we each have approximately 60,000 thoughts per day. Do you ever say negative things about yourself, to yourself? Remember, that every time you make a statement about yourself that is negative, you are directing your subconscious mind to become that person. What you tell yourself often enough you will believe to be true. And what we believe will determine our attitude toward it, which will determine our feelings toward it, which will affect our actions, which will determine whether we succeed or fail. In short, belief is powerful stuff. Belief does not require something to be true, it only requires us to believe it to be true. The longer you believe something to be true, the harder it will be to change. Reality to each of us is based on what we have come to believe.
What we are told when we are children has an immense effect on what we believe. It forms what we believe about ourselves and the world around us. In other words, we have been unconsciously conditioned by others as to what we should accept as true. Some of this programming may be good, but some of it may be negative and damaging to our self-esteem and happiness.
The most effective way to manage ourselves and achieve more desirable results is to change our programming. When we change our programming from negative to positive, we can gradually change our beliefs, which in turn will change our attitude, and ultimately our feelings; more positive feelings generate more positive actions, which will lead to more successful results. Unfortunately, you cannot simply say to yourself you are not going to think negative thoughts about yourself because you subconscious mind still believes the old programming. You will not be successful over the long term thinking positively about yourself until you have replaced your old programming with new, positive beliefs about yourself.
Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D. in his book, What You Say When You Talk to Yourself offers many ideas on how to gradually reprogram your self-talk.
The most damaging type of self-talk is when you say something bad about yourself, and your subconscious mind accepts it. Using phrases like, “I just can’t…” or, “I could never…” or, “I don’t know how to…’ or, “I wish I could” or, “why am I so….” Are all examples of phrases that program your mind with doubts and fears about your abilities. They cripple your ability to achieve positive personal-growth and seduce you to accept less than your capabilities.
Another type of self- talk that undermines your confidence is characterized by the following phrases: “I ought to…” or, “I need to…” or, “ I should…”This type of language will not help us succeed. Instead of giving ourselves a path to accomplishment, we create disappointment, guilt, and self-imagined inadequacies about ourselves.
Suggestions to throw out the old programming.
1) Fill your mind with positive self-talk that paints a picture of who you want to be. For example, “I am healthy because I exercise three days a week.” or “I am a great employee because I get everything done that needs to be done on time,” or “I am a great friend because I communicate with my friends often.” Start telling yourself today, “I am a winner!” “ I believe in myself!” “ I like who I am!”
2) External praise and motivation from others is nice but short lived. Unfortunately, any progress you are going to make to become more positive about yourself and to believe in yourself, is going to be filtered through your old programming. To change your old programming will not be easy. You must want to change yourself. You must be able to motivate yourself from within. You must accept responsibility for yourself as to how you speak to yourself, call your mind to awareness, educate yourself, and program your mind to think about yourself more positively. With daily, positive self- talk, you are in control of successful results.
3) Keep it simple. When we want to improve ourselves, we are not only competing with our old programming but the hassle of daily life. Any desire to improve will be in competition with our time to do our job and daily chores, our energy to get everything done, and our minds to solve daily problems and make decisions. The result is delaying self- improvement because it competes for our time, energy, and mental awareness. So for any self-improvement program to work it must be simple.
4) Your old self-talk is a habit, it feels natural to you even though it is negative. Now that you know how your old self-talk works against you, you can start to over-ride it. It all starts with developing an awareness of both your silent self-talk (which is going on in your mind continuously) and the self-talk you say out loud to yourself and others. Anything that you say either to yourself or out loud to others that sounds negative, re-phrase it in the positive. For example,”I am fat and cannot lose weight,” would be rephrased to, “I am losing weight. I only eat what I should. I am in control and looking better every day.” One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is positive self-talk. Paint positive pictures in your mind when you speak about yourself and watch the success it creates.
5) Use the right words to create the right pictures in your mind. Your success will always depend upon what you tell yourself and what you think about yourself. Choose the right words to paint the right picture in your mind. When you fuel your mind with the right goals, words, pictures, and continuous positive input, you will begin to get the right output.
Remember that every time you make a negative comment about yourself, you are directing your subconscious mind to become the person you are negatively describing. The longer you think about yourself in a certain way, the more you will become to believe it is true. To take ownership of your self –talk, imagine the person you want to become, feed your mind the right words every day and you will start to overcome your fears. With positive self-talk you will become a doer and start to achieve your goals, becoming the person you want to be.