Be Careful How You Speak to Yourself

Do you talk to yourself when no one is there to hear you? I do! My wife, Susan, does too. It’s not the onset of dementia, neither is it a sign that you are gradually losing it! In fact, how you talk to yourself is very important to your state of mind and to how you see yourself.

Psychological research has shown that our subconscious mind interprets what it hears literally. Thus, our mind and body tend to follow the direction that our words lead them. The words you use have the power to fuel your confidence and ambition, or alternatively to make you feel anxious and inadequate. The spoken word has great power and influence.

Not everyone is called to be a politician, preacher or public speaker. However, if you disqualify yourself by saying audibly to yourself, “I could never do that”, it can keep you from even trying to improve your presentational skills. There is a saying which goes something like this: “The words you speak become the house in which you live”. If you use positive language about your ability to achieve goals, meet challenges or get a job done, that is what will become presentin your behaviour. If you constantly make declarations about yourself and your circumstances that highlight hopelessness, fear, pessimism or anxiety, those words will shape your reality.

Your language also affects the way others perceive you and relate to you. If you talk yourself down, make excuses or qualify your opinion before you have even given it, you weaken your authority and credibility. People who are secure and confident use language that is positive and action-focused. This enables them to create trust in their relationships.

In an article I read recently I learned that Neuroscience has shown that all of us can “rewire our brains”. However, this requires persistent practice, replacing habitually negative thought patterns, speech and behaviour with more positive habits. A practical way to achieve this is to monitor your language over a 24 hour period. Then ask someone else to monitor you over the same period of time (because our habits are often invisible to us). You can then work on replacing language that is disqualifying, passive and defeatist with positive, optimistic and confident language. This will give you greater control of your life as well as boost your energy level. As a result, you become someone whom others are more inclined to listen to.

There are guidelines to help you keep on track with this process. You can express yourself in terms of what you can do, rather than what you can’t do. Avoiding sweeping statements is also helpful. Rather than, “These people are idiots”, try, “These people see things differently from me. I wonder what they are seeing that I am missing?” Instead of apologising for having an opinion, simply express that opinion respectfully. It’s not helpful to put negative labels on yourself, like, “lazy”, “disorganised”, “poor at communicating”. Instead, express your intention to change those things from now on.

It’s very important to see problems as challenges and opportunities, rather than hindrances to your progress. For example, instead of saying, “This situation is a nightmare”, say, ”This situation presents an interesting challenge”. The latter response opens the possibility of solving the problem, or trying a different approach as a solution.

 

[I am indebted to “Your words are powerful: 8-positive speaking habits to build yourself up”, by Margie Warrell, 18 May 2018, Success Magazine,]

 

Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, then you aren't. Margaret Thatcher
The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but God will make us good because he loves us. C S Lewis
Fear is misplaced faith. Kris Vallotton
God has already seen every mistake, every failure and every weakness, and the good news is he's already forgiven you. He is not holding it against you. Joel Osteen
God is not nearly so interested in changing your circumstances as he is in changing you. Joyce Meyer
Pray, and let God worry Martin Luther
Those who never change their mind never change anything. Winston Churchill
What you do (for a living) is not who you are.  Celia Apeagyei-Collins 
 People who write you off when you fail know nothing about history and even less about life. No person ever fully succeeds until they fully fail. Lance Wallnau 
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He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Jim Elliot
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If you know you are loved, faith is easy. It's easy to trust someone you know loves you. David Forster
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no one knows how bad they are until they have tried very hard to be good.. C S Lewis
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How you feel is not who you are. Feelings are great servants and terrible masters. Kris Vallotton
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You can believe in Christianity in the same way you believe that the sun has risen; Firstly, because you see it and secondly because by it you see everything else. C S Lewis
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Your unfinished destiny is your most potent argument with death. Graham Cooke
I am not focused on what I am not, I am focused on what he is for me. David Forster
Reaching the Heights