How we talk to ourselves matters…
As I’ve been pretty much on my own most of the time and with limited ability to leave home these past few months, I’ve had a lot of time to notice my thoughts …especially my use of language.
I’d like to share something interesting with you that I’ve found is helping me when I find I’m in a negative mood. It’s helping me feel more positive and in control of my life.
How we talk to ourselves matters…
How we speak to others and ourselves, even the words we choose to use, are just habit. But these words can affect us sub consciously, generating and perpetuating unhappy feelings and experiences.
In the widely used Roget’s Thesaurus there are more than 3,000 words describing various emotions. Of those, there are 1,051 words for positive emotions and 2,286 for negative emotions; roughly twice as many negative words as positive words!
We don’t tend to be that aware of things we say in everyday life. In conversations we aren’t always fully engaged and often come out with automatic responses…such as “really?”…”I know what you mean”….As for our thoughts..they just happen right? We don’t have that much control over them, or do we?
As I’ve become more aware of my thoughts and listening to what I’m telling myself on a daily basis, I’ve noticed not just their content but the actual words I use.
I often catch myself saying;
‘I should be doing xxxx’
‘Why aren’t I doing xxx? I should be!’
‘I’m trying to do xxxx but …’
‘I wish I could be more xxx ‘
‘I wish I could do xxx’
‘I’ll never be able to do xxx’
All of these expressions just make me feel sad, frustrated, helpless, useless and sometimes a complete failure!
So I decided to change my language and see if anything felt different.
How I changed how I talk to myself
I can honestly report that I have felt a shift in moments of negativity, such as when I’m beating myself up about something I’ve done / not done …
- Firstly I dropped the should – well actually I now say ‘should!’ out loud every time my inner me says it, and then I question who is it that’s actually telling me I should? Usually it’s my own harsh self-judgment and beliefs – no one else is telling me what I should / should not do!
- Then there was the ‘trying’ which I realised immediately placed me in a negative space as I was just trying but not succeeding – so I’ve changed ‘trying’ to ‘doing’ with the mantra ‘ I’m doing xxx to my best ability, right now’ . In addition, what’s the point of doing anything if you’re only trying and not really committed? Find a way of doing it that you enjoy or you may as well find something else that you do want to do!
- Now the ‘wish’ word… To me, thinking of this word summons up fairy tales, dreams, achievable desires…so that’s not a good start! So now I say ‘I will’ instead of ‘I wish’…it doesn’t always feel comfortable as I’m not confidant in knowing how the hell ‘I will’ but it does feel more empowering than the passive victim state of ‘I wish’.
- Finally the ‘never’ word…that’s been a hard one as I’ve felt so shit these past months and often thought I never could do certain things again – like stand in the kitchen and cook a meal. Well now I can and again I’ve decided to kick that negative mindset in the arse and tell myself to shut up ( in a nice way 😉 I shift from that negative space by focusing on things I have recently achieved. The outcome of which is that I’m actually aware of having a higher number of positive thoughts than negative ones …it’s much more empowering to be in charge of your thoughts rather than them controlling you.
What would happen if you changed how you talk to yourself?
This is my personal experience and it’s working for me. As I choose to take control of my thoughts and language, I feel more in control of how I’m living. There’s no escaping our thoughts – 50,000-70,000 of them per day! – so it makes sense to me to consciously choose positive ways to talk to ourselves and the language we use.
What would happen if you dropped a “should” now and then and exchanged “I wish” for “I will“?
Maybe it will help make you feel more empowered and in control of your life. Give it a go and let me know how you get on!
P.S. I’ll let you into a secret – I wasn’t in a good mood this morning – I had this blog to write…. I didn’t want to do it … but I ‘should’ write it as it’s my weekly commitment. I thought I would ‘try’ but had no idea what to write about…then I noticed my thoughts. I changed my words and my mindset, now my blog is done and I feel much better about myself …if this practice works for me I’m sure it can work for you…