How Can I Change My Life For the Better? With Positive Self Talk, That's How! (Or, in other words, JUST SAY NO TO NO)!
In the early 90s, there was a funny character on Sat. Night Live called Stuart Smalley. He ran a mock self-help show and was always looking in the mirror saying things like, I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me! Although the character was simply a silly spoof of the power of positive affirmations - exaggerating for the sake of humor - the message is still a good one.
Positive self talk works!
While negative self talk sabotages.
Have you ever had one of those days where everything just seems to go wrong? Maybe it all starts when you look in the mirror and realize - to your horror - that a bad hair day is upon you. Hence, the negative self talk begins.
Look at my hair! I look like the bride of Frankenstein!
Soon, your negative self talk escalates into: I'm so ugly! Why does every single women in the world have such thick perfect bouncy shiny hair except for me? It's not fair! I hate myself!
After that, everything in your path becomes fodder for negative self thought.
Why don't we ever have any decent cereal to eat?
Why can't anyone else ever clean out the litter-box?
Then you start snapping at people. And then people snap back. Next you are convinced the whole world is against you...the congested traffic....the unfriendly check-out girl at the super market....your sister who never called back....
What you fail to realize, is that you have brought the doom and gloom upon yourself. Well of course the traffic isn't your fault. However, if you are in a more positive mood, you are more able to deal with all the inevitable obstacles in your path. Not just deal, but deal with style!
The check-out girl? Instead of blaming yourself for her unfriendliness (Nobody likes me! I radiate failure!) you're more apt to think: She's probably just having a bad day. And your sister? You won't be so quick to assume she doesn't want to talk to you. (She's avoiding me! She thinks I'm boring!) You'll tell yourself that she's probably just busy.
As you change your negative self talk into positive, you will literally change your life. William Shakespear once said:
Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
Your brain operates like a computer. If you regularly feed your brain negative input, your outlook, obviously, is going to be gloomy, depressing, bitter, anxious, insecure, etc... As a result, people will not respond to you well - which will further perpetuate your doom and gloom - thus providing you with a self fulfilling prophecy that might as well have you wearing a t-shirt that proclaims: I AM A PIECE OF POO SO FEEL FREE TO TREAT ME AS SUCH.
Well, it is time to take that T-shirt off, burn it, and replace it with one that reads: I AM A WORTHWHILE, HAPPY, UPBEAT,WELL-ADJUSTED PERSON, AND GOSH DARN IT, I LIKE MYSELF!
In most cases, people aren't even aware of their negative self talk. It just becomes a bad habit. But bad habits can be broken! You can indeed reprogram your thoughts and feelings and renew your brain - hence, renewing and revising your negative self image into a more positive one.
Do you often find thoughts like this entering your head whenever you see a woman you feel is more attractive than you?
What a b**&tch! She's so fake! Why does she dress like such a skank? She just wants attention!
If you dig deeper, this negative commentary towards this stranger is being born out of your own thoughts of insecurity. Maybe you've been feeling a bit out of shape lately Instead of focusing on this other woman, focus on yourself! Remember; thoughts become actions. Think: I'm going to get back in shape! I'm starting an exercise program TODAY! While I'm at it, I think I'll go shopping so I can buy myself one of those new skirts I like!
Mostly all successful people in life use positive self talk. That's how they get to where they are. What if I said to myself, I can't write an article about self talk! Who will want to read it? I'm not some famous psychologist or motivational speaker. What do I know? If I had berrated myself with these negative thoughts, this article would never have been attempted. Instead, I told myself, I want to write an article about positive self talk because I believe in the power of it, and have seen what it can do for me.
And voila...here we are!
What you think creates how you feel - how you feel determines how you act - and how you act ultimately creates your life experience.
Positive self talk can help ease stress and reduce anxiety, anger, and depression. Now I'm not saying you should stand in front of a mirror with a goofy smile and say, I'm good enough! I'm smart enough! And doggone it, people like me! (Although if doing so makes you giggle, why not)?
I can't tell you what to say to yourself, but I can tell you to be specific - keep it in the present tense - and say it with sincere emotion.
What is an example of insincere? Let's go back to that bad hair day. If you look in the mirror and honestly think your hair looks awful - yet tell yourself (insincerely) My hair looks so fantastic today! I should be in a shampoo commercial - well, chances are, you won't be fooling yourself.
However, what if you look in the mirror and say instead, Oh no, look at my hair! I have to do something about this!
Then you assemble your arsenol: your clurling iron, your round brush - maybe even a few hair extensions. You take control of the bad hair instead of allowing it to take control of you. Next thing you know = your hair isn't so bad after all. So you say, Hey, look at that! I'm a magician! A veritable hair genius! Then you offer your new and improved reflection a winning smile.
I mention the present tense, and this is key. Don't tell yourself, I'm going to do something about my bad skin one of these days. NO! Say instead: I'm going to order that Proactive stuff when I get home and stop eating so much greasy food. I'm also going to start drinking more water every day because I heard that's good for your skin. BE SPECIFIC!
You might also add, while you're at it, my skin isn't too bad and even if it's a little bad, so what? I'm still a really cool person!
Granted, talking this way to yourself at first may feel a little strange and phony - like your inner voice has suddenly transformed into some over-polite stranger. THAT'S OKAY! Shouldn't you be as polite and kind to yourself as you would be to a stranger? After all, you can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The choice is up to you, and if you ask me, it's a no-brainer.
Remember also, if negative self talk can become a habit, the same holds true for positve. The more you practice positive self talk, the more natural it becomes to you.
Positive affirmations help build confidence - which then, improve performance. Negative self talk, on the other hand,tears down self esteem and worsens performance.
Poised on the brink of attempting a new activity, have you ever heard this little voice in your head say: I can't do this! I'll never be as good as......(fill in blank) so why bother? I'll probably suck!
The next time you find yourself falling into this negative rut, try switching your self talk to something more positive,such as: I'll do the best I can! I believe in myself! I'm relaxed. I'm prepared! I might be new, but I'll catch on! Or how about simply: This is going to be fun! That way you are focusing on the new exciting life challenge, instead of immediately critiquing your performance in advance.
Okay, so maybe you think I sound a little cheesy right about now. Just as cheesy as Stuart Smalley. But so what? Who cares if your thoughts are cheesy? Positive self talk will make you a more confident person, and it will also make you a happier person. In my opinion, that's worth a little cheese factor.
Monitor your thoughts from now on. Pinpoint those situations that perpetuate your negative thinking. Then, when your brain lapses into it's old habit of being overly critical, jealous, or depressing, change that negative thought into two positive ones instead.
Don't believe it works? I challenge you to try it right now...right this second! Tell yourself two good things about yourself. There. Now doesn't that feel better?
Here's another exercise. Say the word "FABULOUS" with a great big smile on your face. Feels good, doesn't it? It's amazing how one little word can make you feel so much lighter and happier.
And while we're at it, here is another tip. The next time you feel yourself sinking into a negative mind spiral, think of something you are grateful for.
Tomorrow when you wake up, tell yourself, This is going to be a great day! Then you will be halfway there to making it so - despite dirty litter-boxes, traffic, slim cereal selections, and a bad case of bed head.
Remember: self defeating thoughts perpetuate fears and insecurity. You must control your thoughts and emotions or they will control you.