“I am safe. I am calm. I am strong. I am wearing a life vest.”
When I was first introduced to the concept of self-talk, I reacted with an eye-roll and a rude noise. Before I discovered that my “mindset” was both my responsibility and totally pliable, I simply didn’t get it. The idea of talking to myself was absurd. Who does that? Believe it or not, we all do. Thousands of personal messages are downloaded directly from our own subconscious daily whether we are aware of them or not.
Are “positive affirmations” about spouting lies to yourself to make yourself feel better? Not according to According to Psychology Today, “Positive self-talk is about recognizing the truth, in situations and in yourself.” Positive self-talk is about navigating past your self-limiting beliefs to realize your full potential. It is how you go from “I can’t do it” to “ok, dolphin, push my feet with your nose and make me fly”.
Photo Credit – Maria Spillane
Overwrite your Internal Programming
Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D., is the best-selling author of more than twenty books in the field of personal growth, including the classic What to Say When You Talk to Your Self, The Gift, and the recent The Power of Neuroplasticity and the 365 Days of Positive Self-Talk series. Dr. Shad happens to be the pioneering dean in the field of self-talk. He is the first behavioral researcher to focus on the role of self-talk as a primary programming source that directs our life path and personal effectiveness.
I am lucky enough to have seen Dr. Shad Helmstetter speak on several occasions. One concept he shares often is the idea that the words spoken to us throughout our lives are entered into our programming (our brain) as they are repeated. Whether they are repeated by our parents, friends, strangers or ourselves, the more we “hear” something, the deeper that pathway in the mind gets. In many cases, these repeated phrases become the foundation of the self-limiting beliefs that hold us back from what we are meant to accomplish in our lifetime.
So how do we battle these self-limiting beliefs? With positive self-talk of course! Take Olympic athletes for example. Many have visualization and positive self-talk coaches. Why? Because those that do WIN. One thing most Olympic gold medalists have in common is the practice of positive self-talk and visualization. By focusing their thoughts about themselves on the positive and visualizing their success long before they achieve it, they prime themselves for success.
Practice these positive self-talk phrases daily
Photo Credit – Maria Spillane
Taking a Look at Your Internal Dialogue
Try this exercise: For the next 24 hours pay attention to the voice inside your head.What are you saying to yourself? Make a list of those thoughts. Be honest with yourself. How would you feel if you heard someone saying those things to your child or best friend? If you wouldn’t stand for someone treating a friend that way, then you shouldn’t accept yourself speaking to your inner you that way. Go back to your list the following day and reframe those with a positive spin. Create a list of positive reframed phrases to battle your own negative self-talk habit and break the cycle of self-limiting behavior for good!
Here are some examples of common phrases we say to ourselves that inflate limiting self-beliefs:
- I’m never going to lose that weight
- Of course he got the promotion over me, I’m such a loser
- I am always late
- I don’t know how
Here are some ways to reframe those phrases to eliminate self-limiting beliefs
- I love my body and I love taking good care of it.
- I am learning and growing every day. Every day I get better and better in every way.
- I respect the time of others. I enjoy being prompt.
- I love to learn new ideas and skills
The Proof is in the Results
Now some of you might be thinking, “But that is such bull****!” Well at the moment, for some of you, it might be. I remember feeling that way myself. “This is hokey nonsense”, I thought. Then I found out that by repeating these phrases daily and staying aware of my own self dialogue I was seeing a change in my attitude toward myself. I found myself showing up on time, feeling confident, losing weight and succeeding like never before. The key is that as I was changing the way I communicated with ME, my thoughts inspired different actions. My actions inspired different results. My results drove my confidence and my success through the roof.
Check out the resources below for more information on Positive Self-Talk.
The Mayo Clinic
Dr. Shad Helmstetter – The Story of Self Talk