We all know the importance of choosing the right words to communicate with other people, especially when we want something, but do you ever stop to consider the words you’re using to communicate with yourself? One of my favourite phrases that I think helps to summarise the importance of talking to ourselves compassionately is:
“ How do you expect to do something well if there’s someone being mean to you all the time?”
The impact of criticism from a peer can be devastating, and can easily crush our spirit, and trample on our motivation. But have you ever stopped to think about the criticism you’re dishing out to yourself and how that impacts your performance and self-belief? If you’re constantly making negative comments like “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good enough”, you’re certainly not helping yourself.
I like to think of positive affirmations as talking to yourself nicely, and being your own cheerleader. Just like criticism can have a big impact on our self-esteem, so can praise and support. Remember how it felt when you got a pat on the back and were told well done? Yeah, that felt good, and made you want to do it all over again. We’re not looking to over inflate our egos, but by giving the words you use to talk to yourself as much consideration as you would a friend or a loved one, you are giving yourself a better chance at getting things done, and to the best of your ability.
Language is a very powerful tool for provoking actions and getting results from other people, so why not harness this and use the power of language to develop your own self-belief system.
Most of us are in the habit of reflecting critically, so it can certainly take some getting used to when you start telling yourself “I believe in myself and my abilities”. You might even feel a little silly at first. But that’s just the years of criticism talking, that you’ve led yourself to believe are truths. Now you’ve got to undo those years of negative thoughts and flood your brain with positivity. All it takes is a little perseverance, and the key to getting better at most things: repetition.
To really benefit from your positive affirmations, you need to get into the habit of using them. Saying them out loud can really help too. Allow yourself to hear your words, and say them with conviction. I think writing them down somewhere you can see them can really help too. Perhaps sticking it on the mirror in the bathroom so you can read it when you are brushing your teeth, or writing it down on a card in your purse or wallet so that you can remind yourself.
Once you have your positive affirmation (a short phase that positively asserts your capability and resonates with you), then you just need to practice repeating it. Sticking with the same phrase for a few weeks can really help you ingrain that positive thought into your mind, but some people like a new thought each day or in times of need for fresh motivation.
Here’s a few to get you started:
It’s worth taking the time to find a phrase that suits your current position, and with Google at our fingertips it’s easy to find a phrase with a quick search.
Next time you feel yourself giving yourself a hard time, or worrying that you’re not good enough, reach for your affirmation and remind yourself: “I am capable”!