Ok, I know that sounds slighly new agey and bizaro. However, it’s pretty darn true. Your brain (which takes up about 5% of your body matter) can be thought of as it’s own entity. It’s own being. But, this “being” your brain, is controlling you; your steps, your breath, your reality.
I was listening to an interview with the brain guy himself Jim Kwik. He is the famous “speed reader” and gives presentations on how to read faster, remember more and other tricks for using the full capacity of your brain. I promise I won’t bore you with brain details here. However, I have to share this simple mantra of his with you:
Be careful what you say: your brain is listening.
You have probably heard that you should not talk down to yourself. That negative self-talk is destructive. It’s because it is true. Pessimists are more accurate at their abilities than optimists. But, optimists try new things, learn from them and try again! I am not saying you have to walk around being so glass half full you’re in denial of life. I am merely asking you to observe how you speak to yourself. How you speak about yourself to others.
Often I wonder if we played back a recording of our own thoughts if we would still be friends with ourselves? Think about it. You wouldn’t be friends with someone who constantly berated you!
Here are some examples of negative self-talk:
- I can’t
- I’m not
- He/She is better than me at___
- I wish I was more____
- I’ll never
- It’s too late___
- I’m too___
- almost any phrase with TOO
I have been trying for years to do a handstand in yoga. Literally years. My fiancée, Brad, has been doing yoga less than 2 years and within a few months of regular practice got up into one. Is he perfect at yoga no but he was “beating” me at my own self-challenge. It was frustrating. How was that possible? I have been doing Yoga longer. I workout more than most people. I should be strong enough.
After I broke my leg I started a new regime for myself: LL 2.0. I wanted to get back into shape, however, I realized I was not rewarding myself on successes I was making. I would finally do a pull up, but because I could only do one, it wasn’t good enough. I would do more reps of a certain exercise, but because I needed assistance, I felt I wasn’t strong enough. My self-chatter inside my head and outside was terrible. So, after I was allowed to walk again I made a declaration. I would check my negative chatter at the door. I was going to talk positively, especially to myself, during my workouts. I would acknowledge areas that might need more practice. I would celebrate the wins.
It was not easy. I have had moments where I caught myself saying “I can’t.” Then of course I could go down an entire negative spiral. But, now I am focusing on following that “I can’t” with “YET!” Then replacing the “I have to’s” to “I get to!”
I am still working on my handstands in the middle of the room. I can hold one at the wall for 2 min or longer. I am strong enough. One day I will handstand. I promise to share that with you when it happens!
Here’s some replacement phrases for you to try:
- I get to
- I got to ___ (goal, achievement, level)
- I am working on
- Soon I will
- I am practicing
- I am training
Think about some instances in your life where you find yourself saying “I can’t” or “I wish I were better.” Is it at work? Do you compare yourself to co-workers accomplishments? Do you spend your precious brain time thinking all the things someone else can do better?
Maybe it’s your own friends? You go out for drinks, dancing or karaoke and you compare yourself to them. Maybe you think they can flirt better, joke easier or have the confidence you might wish you have? They are friends with you because of how awesome you are! Ever think about that? What if they heard the things you said about yourself?
It’s time to stop the bullying. Remove “can’t” and replace with “get to.” If your brain begins to hear that you “get to do” something rather than “I have to” do something it will prepare for the occasion in a positive way. If it’s feeling that it has to do something. Well, it’ll prepare for surviving but not flying.
What self-talk do you hear on repeat? Share your thoughts with us. We’d love to help you change that thought from foul to favorable.
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