How To Change The Way You Talk To Yourself
Following up on my last post, I have a question I’d like to ask, and I’d like you to hear me asking it in a pleasant and helpful tone of voice. As you listen to your internal dialogue, does your tone and your language help you to get what you want in your life? If not, then simply allow yourself to become conscious of the things you tell yourself and initially, just to get some experience with your control over it, simply change the sound of it instead of what it has to say.
Once you’ve learned you can do that, I’d like to recommend that you take charge over the things you say to yourself. Because that means it’s time to use that voice to exchange positive, supportive thoughts for negative ones, so that never is heard a discouraging word and your skies won’t be cloudy all day (and night!)
You must learn to speak purposefully to yourself to change your attitude for the better. You can develop a few quick-draw mental comments that help you to keep your sense of humor and perspective around difficulties. For example, here are some great things to say to yourself, with brief explanations of how they are true:
1. “I go for what I want, and I want what I get.” I think I heard this for the first time on the TV show, Kung Fu. “The branch that bends with the snow lives to see another winter, but the branch that resists the snow breaks.” Kwai Chang Kaine was a master at bending, and the lesson has stayed with me all these years. When you resist (struggle with, try to change, limit, inhibit, withdraw from) your challenges it’s usually you that breaks.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that you shouldn’t do something when challenged. But as soon as you accept the situation for what it is, you can begin to access your resources and act constructively to influence it. Because, it is what it is, it ain’t what it ain’t, and that’s the way it is, but how it is does not determine how it will be. YOU do. Only by accepting the situation can you begin to take aim at a worthwhile outcome.
2. “Somewhere in this experience is an opportunity.” Some people think that every silver lining has a dark cloud, and that may be true. But turn it around and it’s not that difficult to see the possibility that every dark cloud has a silver lining. Just looking back at your past should reveal this to you. Just as gold, silver, and diamonds are found in muddy water, dirt, and rocks, so have the beginnings of great opportunities been found in the darkest and most dismal of circumstances. You just have to look for the opportunities, or at least be willing to see them when they present themselves.
3. “Any experience I can learn from is a good one.” What you learn from dealing with difficulty will develop your character, make you stronger, and help you in many other areas of your life. Learning means getting feedback instead of failure out of an experience. When you look at the cause-effect relationship between what you did and what you got, you can learn what is working and what is not.
4. “I can be flexible.” If what you are doing isn’t working, your behavior comes with an iron clad guarantee: It doesn’t work! Anything else you try that doesn’t have that guarantee will have a greater chance of succeeding than something that is guaranteed not to work. Experiment! Try novel approaches. Be outrageous. Do the last thing you would ever think to do first!
5. “I know that anything is possible.” Whenever you hear someone say that ‘they’ said something, you know who ‘they’ means, right? ‘They,’ the people who steal the hubcaps and conduct the research? The keepers of conventional wisdom? Throughout history, ‘they’ always have a lot to say, and most of it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. For example, they told Tom Edison that electric light wasn’t’ possible, and a light bulb switched on in his head. They said that if man was meant to fly he would have wings, and now the flight attendant pins them on the jackets of children.
And what of the people who believe that anything is possible? THEY are the ones who get the breakthroughs. So think about it: If people can fly and you can turn on a light, then it must be possible to deal constructively with your challenges. If you haven’t gotten the result that you want, remember that it’s better to hit the light switch than to curse the darkness.
6. “Oh Well.” Whether you like the situation or dislike it, your opinion of it won’t really change much of anything, except the way that you feel. So instead of making a big deal out of facts that you don’t like, you might as well take a deep breath and say “Oh well,” and drop your opinion. Let it go and then go on from there.
7. “All things must pass.” When you are struggling to deal with a difficult challenge, you may sometimes feel like the pain of it will never end. But the feeling that this situation will go on forever is naught but an illusion. Just think for a moment about how old you are, and about all you’ve been through. Can you believe how fast all that time went by? This event or relationship will also change and then pass. If you look into the future with that knowledge, you may gain perspective and make the whole process easier on yourself.
8. “This used to bother me. I’m moving forward. That’s all behind me now.” Speaking of the past, why not start talking about your reaction to your challenge as if is it already behind you? Whether you’re talking to yourself, or talking to others, use the past tense, so you can stop being tense in the present.
9. “In God we trust.” According to the ancient proverb, all things work together for good. It is possible that something wonderful is emerging from your present situation, and that you haven’t seen it yet. Just as the stars hang in the sky and the seasons have their cycle, there is a real possibility that there is a big picture at work in your life also, and in time all may be revealed. Like Kwai Chaing Kaine would tell you, the pain you’ve been experiencing may only be the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Hang in there. Or let go. In due season, everything will be revealed and resolved.
Ok, now talk to me! Your comments and questions are welcome!