“Today I want you to think about everything you are, not everything you are not.” ~ Unknown
“I love pine cones!”
This was a comment from a friend to one of my Facebook photos from a beautiful seaside hike full of wildflowers and other natural wonders.
“Taking a picture was the best puzzle” (which wasn’t originally planned), he wrote, “Greg, that’s a lot of fun.” The comment was the brightness of the light bulb that had already disappeared in my head. It led to deeper introspection and consciousness around my own self-talk pattern.
We all hear that the way we talk to ourselves has a huge impact on our lives. If your self-talk is primarily negative, it reduces your self-confidence, motivation, creativity, spirit, and enthusiasm for life. In short, it limits your access to self-expression and joy. If your self-talk is compassionate, understanding, and affectionate, it will help you move your life with much greater flow and ease.
There are more obvious ways in which negative language patterns appear, and then there are more hidden, subtle, or unconscious ways. Some of the more obvious are the habitual ways in which we criticize ourselves and call ourselves names.
For example, what would you do if you were cooking dinner and knocked everything on the floor right after it was over? It makes perfect sense to be upset or disappointed, but how does that upset manifest itself in you?
Maybe you think, “Well, I’m such an idiot!” Or “I’m so stupid!” If so, rather than just expressing disappointment with your actions and consequences, you take a moment in your life and use it to hurt your heart.
Even calling yourself clumsy can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe you feel it really is true. Perhaps others have told you so. The problem is that no matter what we say to ourselves, whether unfriendly or graceful, our brains look for ways to prove that their ideas are true.
You can admit mistakes, express frustration with your experience, or even want to be more careful in the future. Names and harsh words directed at oneself are examples of more readable forms of self-talk. But what about those hidden or unconscious patterns?
This kind of negative self-talk can be far more insidious and prevalent than you can imagine. I know it was for me. This is what I’ve been doing in-house recently and that’s why I was surprised by my friend’s comments on my post. Discovering the hidden ways I’m making myself smaller has led to the development of a more powerful language that helps me on a daily basis.
I was affected by ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) for the rest of my life, but I was diagnosed only in my 40s.The first book I read about this topic, probably my favorite Do you mean I’m not lazy, stupid, or crazy?
I loved all the lessons I learned from the book and everything I learned about how my brain works. But for a few years I felt a conflict with the title. After all, I inferred that I never talked about myself in those derogatory terms. At least I wasn’t consciously aware of it anyway.
But over time, I noticed that there was a part of my brain that was actively trying to prove that I wasn’t one of them. And if one part of my brain is trying to prove that I’m not, another must somehow tell me that I’m lazy, crazy, or stupid. At that time, I thought it would be useful to start consciously examining the unconscious pattern of the voice in my head.
I noticed the relentless story of “I don’t know what to do” and “It’s going to be difficult”, which is a mantra that came to my mind since I was a kid. They can manifest themselves in a sneaky way, but I’ve been obsessed with those stories for a long time. For example, when you look at a photo of a place you have never been to, you may feel depressed that you have never been there, or you may be jealous or jealous of a photographer.
It’s not a mistake to have that feeling, and it makes sense to come out occasionally, but I’ve noticed that I’m dissatisfied with the beautiful photos and feel sorry for myself. Instead of empowering myself, I perpetuated the limited pattern of the victim’s story. When I recognized that pattern, I decided to play with a new idea.
It may involve reminding me of all the wonderful places, using beautiful pictures of places I’ve never been to Have got in the meantime. Or you may be delighted with the existence of such places, or grateful that others can enjoy them.
Or maybe it’s as easy as thinking, “Oh, it looks very interesting.” Or “How can I get there?” The last one can be said in the air of resignation as a way to make yourself smaller and complain. Or you can get excited about the possibilities, depending on how you keep that idea.
It is not only the specific words we use, but what gives them energy and power is what we mean to them. I found it invaluable to be aware of my energy and the words I chose.
With Facebook exchanges about my photos and a puzzle to find the best way to shoot pine cones, my first idea was to write “I was having a hard time finding a way to shoot them”. ..
But I thought, “Why are you saying that?” I didn’t have a hard time. Why do I want to assemble it that way to myself or someone else? So I changed the wording. I felt that the change was definitely more empowering and less obsessed with the victims’ spirits. But again, it notices energy as well as words.
Because, depending on how I hold it, a “puzzle” can be a game or a chore. I was already leaning towards a more positive side, but there was a remnant from the initial “struggle” idea.
So when my friend chimed, “Greg, that’s a lot of fun,” I was light, happy, and energetic. And to be honest, I felt a little embarrassed at first. It really emphasized to me the heavier energy I was unknowingly creating on top of the experience I completely enjoyed.
That awareness brought excitement to a deeper awareness of how my pattern of words could create disappointment and sadness, or excitement and joy in my nervous system.
It’s not just whether we overtly beat ourselves, but what patterns we use. I had so many unconscious patterns that I stayed in the mode of the victims of the world, not the creator of my life.
It’s a recognition that I’m getting deeper. As I do, I find myself more elastic, trapped in negative emotions for a shorter period of time, and have more access to joy and vitality. You can change your feelings in an instant just by talking about yourself or talking about yourself.
You can also create your own. Here are some steps to do this: Other than step 1, they may occur at the same time rather than in chronological order.
1. Start by slowing down and noticing the pattern.
Do you offend yourself? Do you use words that you feel are not true, such as when you use the word “struggle,” or create internal discord and discomfort that would otherwise not exist? If so, find out how to change those patterns and choose a more powerful wording.
This is not to deny that we sometimes struggle, sad or difficult things happen. However, you may find that your language actually affects your perception of your situation and your emotions. You can see the same situation as a duty or opportunity. It all depends on how you see and discuss it.
2. Correct the word selection.
While observing the pattern, I noticed that, for example, when I wrote a letter to a company seeking technical support, I wrote “I don’t know xyz.” The word “can’t” has the meaning of depriving such power. So I started changing the word selection to something like “with your help …” or “I want to understand how xyz works”. This difference may seem subtle, but the impact on my mind is immeasurable.
With the word “I can’t”, I literally said I couldn’t do anything, but in the other two examples I simply admit the information I’m missing. Which of them feels more empowering to you?
The language can look new, unpleasant or foreign at first. Perhaps you don’t know how to make a shift. Again, the first step is just to notice. The more conscious you generate, the more your brain will automatically start looking for ways to shift towards your desired outcome.
In the meantime, if you’re comfortable sharing your trip, you can ask a trusted friend, family member, or coach to point out the words you’ve lost when you use them.
3. Note how your choice of words affects your energy.
Asking for technical support In the above example, I noticed that my habit of “I don’t know how to do xyz” is a subtle diminishing confidence. It kept me frustrated and my energy was small and unstable.
I made a change to “I want to understand how xyz works” and it felt more broad. Instead of declaring what I couldn’t do, I was declaring a desire to make changes. It feels more empowering to my nervous system, but it’s still not the vitality I want most. Now I would say something more similar to “I’m learning your system” or “I’m clear about your system”. Please tell me the method of xyz. “
By sharing that way, I’m talking about my growth rather than declaring a deficit. The last one in my body feels powerful and assertive while seeking the support I need. What is the most powerful thing for you?
4. Be kind and considerate of yourself.
Don’t expect perfection. Be considerate of yourself. If you find yourself back in the old pattern instead of offending yourself, use it as an opportunity to get excited. Because it means you are aware. Like meditation, the idea is to be aware of your wandering thoughts and come back. Every time you notice, you are creating an opportunity for new and more empowering patterns to flow.
It’s like learning a foreign language. Because in a sense you are. And just as learning a new language can open the way for entirely new possibilities, this also frees up shame and self-judgment while brightening and uplifting your world.
By changing the hidden patterns myself, I was able to mitigate the impact of the historical victim stories I had held. I feel more empowered with more energy to reach my goals. Please give it a try and let us know what you noticed.