So, poisoning your mind with your mouth. What do I mean by that?
What we say has a massive impact on our beliefs about ourselves.
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Thoughts enter our heads and then there are a few things we can do with them. We can simply acknowledge we had them with a simple – ‘There is that thought again’, or, we can get into a dialogue, or back and forth conversation, with them.
The other thing we can do is have them come out of our mouths.
Here is an example:
The other day I was watching a webinar and the host was saying that she struggles with using ‘um’ and ‘er’ a lot when she is doing a presentation. Every single time she verbalizes that she sends the message back to her brain and reinforces to herself that she struggles with it. What, of course, is going to happen? She will continue to struggle with it.
What I invite you to do is, next time you have thoughts like; ‘Oh, I'm not very good at that,’ or ‘I shouldn't be doing this,’ or ‘Who do I think I am to think I can achieve that?’ is to just acknowledge the thought is there and leave it at that. When I say ‘acknowledge the thought’ I mean to just notice it, and that’s it. In the dictionary acknowledge means – accept or admit the existence of.
What we don’t want to do is try to fight with it.
Another idea people suggest is to flip it and then say something positive – like an affirmation. You might say, ‘I'm not very good at math’. The idea would be that you would then say something to yourself like – ‘I'm really good at math, so I find it easy, and I love it.’
If this works for you that is great – but for me this strategy is still giving power to the thoughts we are trying to ignore, because we are still spending time interacting with them.
Affirmations are very powerful, but I don’t think this situation is the best place to use them.
It’s all about just noticing it and moving on. I invite you to, next time you have a thought about yourself, just think, ‘Oh, there's that thought again.’ We don't even need to do anything with it, and we definitely don't need to share it with other people.
It's not about keeping it a secret, it's because every single time we say it to somebody else, again, we're reinforcing that belief to ourselves.
Instead you could say something like: I am working on improving the number of um’s and er’s I use when I am speaking.
The other interesting thing is that these thoughts are mostly mean or unhelpful.
We don't find ourselves naturally saying, ‘Oh, you're so wonderful,’ or, ‘That was really amazing what you did,’ or, ‘You're such a great friend.’ They are not the thoughts we have. We have the, ‘You're stupid’ ones instead.
One other thing I want to touch on are the throw away comments that we have. I know I used to say quite a lot, ‘I'm really stressed about that’, or, ‘It’s really stressful, right now.’ When I stopped and asked myself, ‘Are you really stressed about that?’ Well, actually, I wasn’t. I don’t say that anymore.
We have these little default phrases that we say to ourselves about things. They can be recurring ones. And they don’t serve us in any way.
For a lot of years I thought I was the only person that had these crazy thoughts. I thought everyone else was all sorted and it was only me who suffered with such negativity about myself. It's not true! Every single person has them, it's how we're wired as human beings. We all have them – it is just that my version (what I say to myself) might be a different to yours.
Here is the original periscope I filmed on the topic: