Look at what all the people around me have accomplished. So many people seem to have their life figured out and I don’t. There is really nothing very interesting about me but I look around and there are all these cool things that others do. I wish I could do that. These are the conversations that we have with our self. It is very much outward looking but inward lacking. It goes back to the old saying of a person floating in a life boat in the middle of the ocean and they are so thirsty – “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” What they forget is that it is pouring rain around them and there is water, but they are not looking in the right place. There is a thirst but not sure if they can or will.
I like the quote by H.D. Thoreau – “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” We can look at ourselves but we don’t spend the time to see who we really are. We need to take the time and appreciate what we are and what we have done. Rather than looking only forward at those around us, let’s look at ourselves within so we appreciate what we hold…and we do hold significance.
Can and will, are two important words. We replace the commitment part of the words, ‘can’ and ‘will’ with ‘I can’t or won’t be able to do’. We talk ourselves out of trying because of the commitment part. Sometimes it is fear, sometimes it is being self-conscious of what others might think. Case in point is a conversation I just had this last week with a wonderful person. She was very conscious of her English because it was not her first language and she was holding back from speaking freely. She stated that in her home country, she had more confidence and now lacked it. Now speaking with her, she sounded fine. The problem was that she was so concerned with what people might think of her if she could not use the right words. Well, as much as we worry about people think, reality is that they really don’t care. We are not the most important thing in other people’s lives and we forget that.
So how to change or limit the negative self talk? Here are some simple tips:
• Take time to really look at yourself and assess who you are. Rather than jumping into the negative side which is easy and convenient, take the time to start asking yourself what you do well or are good at. This is not easy to do because it is easy to gravitate to the negative. Ask those around you that you are close to, what you do well or what they like about you.
• We always look around and see what others have but what we lack. Instead, decide on five things you do very well and start showcasing and focusing on that. Often times we don’t take the time to realize what potential we have or what we can do. Silence the outer voice and work on what is within.
• Listen to the words you chose. Ask those around you to listen to your words. Assess what you say and how you say it. If you find you are using words like shouldn’t, won’t be able to, or can’t, then perhaps it is time to make some changes in your life. Change a word, change your life.
• Realize that we often talk about problems or the limitations. How about taking the situation and adding a solution to it. It is easy to always speak in the problem tone but add something more to move things along. When you feel that you are dwelling in a problem, start adding to it.
• Share your brand with others. Let others see the inner you that shines and don’t worry about what others might think. If you are too afraid in sharing, you are denying the world the authentic you and the authentic you is worth sharing. Find the champions and enablers that will keep you true to your positive self-talk. They will not just say things to make you feel good but rather to make sure to be present as that reassuring voice.
• Stop taking things too seriously. We make things bigger than what they are. Most people really don’t remember or care what happens and those that do are likely not the ones we want to hold close.
Rather than negative self-talk, lets change that to meaningful talk. A conversation with ourselves about what we have and how we can move forward. Realize the horizon within to reach the horizon beyond!
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