I’m reading a book right now on personal growth. It’s been pretty interesting so far and I’ve learned a lot about the growth process. One of the most eye-opening things I think I’ve come across is a section on Self-Talk. I am only to chapter three but still, it’s a great part of the book.
Have you ever thought that the way we talk to ourselves actually reflects the way we think about ourselves. Maybe I should say it this way – The way you talk to yourself reflects your own self-image. It reflects how you actually think of you. Here’s an example…
I remember growing up always hearing my dad call himself ‘dummy’ when he made a mistake on something. Now, I never viewed my dad as a dummy. He is actually extremely intelligent, one of the smartest people I know. So whenever I heard him say things like this, I thought it was funny and started doing it to myself. Calling myself ‘Dummy,’ ‘Idiot’ or something of the sorts.
As I got older, I continued this practice of self-deprecation until I developed a fear of messing up. I sometimes won’t start projects I know I can do out of the fear of messing it up in some way or another. I had a negative self image that said, “You can’t do it.”
Let’s look at it on the other side – Remember the little engine that could? What did he continually say to himself? “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…” This thought process created positive momentum that allowed him to do something that otherwise would have been impossible – Pull the load up the mountain.
John Maxwell says it this way in 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, “If we want to change our lives, we have to change the way we think about ourselves. if we want to change the way we think of ourselves, we need to change the way we talk to ourselves. And the older we are, the more responsible we are for how we think, talk, and believe. Don’t you have enough problems in life already? Why add to them by discouraging yourself everyday with negative self-talk?”
So how do you talk to yourself? Do you have a negative self image or a positive one? Let me encourage you to take a step back and just listen to how you talk to yourself. You may be surprised at what you hear. If you don’t like it, will you continue to say those same things or try to find a new way? I’ve learned that I can do far more if I talk to myself in a positive light rather than a negative one. We can be our own cheerleaders.