Are you mindful of the language you use when you talk about yourself? I certainly wasn’t, but it’s something that I’m absolutely going to be more aware of going forward. I was on a phone call the other night regarding some personal struggles I’m going through in determining what it is I want to do. To help me with this, I have been spending quite a bit of time going through some personal exercises. One of those being the ‘fear braindump exercise’ I outlined in my last post. At any rate, on the call I used the phrase ‘I hope that these exercises will help me.’
The person who I was talking to quickly pointed out that I should I should re-phrase the statement. Instead of ‘I hope,’ I should say ‘These exercises will help me.’
The Power of Thoughts In Creating Our Reality
I’m becoming more conscious of my tendency to qualify a lot of the statements I make. For example: ‘I think I can…,’ ‘I wish that…’, I’d like to…’, etc.
By making statements like this I am unconsciously setting myself up for failure before I even start. It’s like I’m putting in this qualifier for failure as a safety mechanism. In other words, there’s always room for a ‘but’ in those statements. “I’d like to travel around the world, but I have a full-time job.” Basically that’s the same as saying I can’t do it.
Do you find yourself doing this? If so, start to make a conscious effort to be more positive and definitive in your statements. Use absolutes, so there’s no wiggle room for unconsciously setting yourself up for failure before you begin.
The thing is, we have this perception of separateness from the external world especially as it relates to our thoughts. Most of us perceive the outside, external world as being separate from our thoughts. It’s quite the opposite. Our thoughts do truly create our reality. This doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen, because they do. What it does mean is that we have greater control in how we respond to moment to moment situations than we may realize.
I’m reading the book ‘The Big Leap,’ which talks a lot about the language we use with ourselves. One of the main ways we sabotage ourselves is through deflection. The author, Gay Hendricks, uses an example of golfing, which I resonate with since I like to golf. In fact, just this past week when I was on vacation with my family I noticed myself deflecting. I’d have a great shot and my Dad or Brother-In-Law would say ‘great shot, good job’ and I’d often respond with some variation of how it was just ok, or not good enough. For example ‘Yeah, I suppose, but it would have been nice if I would have made it on the green in three shots instead of four.’ It’s almost as if I felt undeserving of praise or doing well..or didn’t even recognize that I was golfing well considering I only get out a few times a year.
Forming New Habits Around Your Speech
Here are some quick tips you can implement to help you become more mindful of the language and thought patterns you have regarding yourself:
- Become conscious of the ‘yeah, but’ syndrome (e.g I’d really like to take that vacation, but I don’t have the time, money, etc.). Spin it on its head and make it an absolute, such as ‘I’m going to take that vacation.’ By doing this you’re putting yourself in a state of mind that will make it much more likely that you’ll succeed. Plus, it re-enforces being more positive in your life, which is never a bad thing.
- Don’t deflect compliments. Instead, be gracious and thank the person who complimented you. Just like above, this will keep the positive energy flowing in your direction.
- Compliment and thank others. I always feel much better when I put a smile on my face and graciously thank others who help me. This can be anyone in your life including the people who serve you at the local coffee shop, grocery store baggers, restaurant servers or even the person who holds open a door for you.
- Make sure you’re well rested and get enough sleep. The more over-worked we are, the more stressed we get and usually the less sleep we get. All of these factors will make us ornery and more prone to snap at someone or be negative.
Reading the above you might think, ‘of course, all of that is obvious,’ and it is. The challenge I have and that you may have is that at times I ‘fall asleep’ so to speak (i.e. I am un-mindful) and I get caught up in bad habits regarding my speech and thoughts. Here’s a final test you can do. Try to go a 24 hour period without criticizing or blaming anyone, including yourself. If you can’t make it through the day, don’t worry about it. The important part is just noticing and becoming aware of your thoughts in that moment. That’s being mindful!