Conceptually, I understand the principal behind positive thinking, positive affirmations, or “re-framing” the negative thoughts or labels I make about myself. I understand this. It makes sense.
Putting it into practice is a different story.
Last weekend I attended a local 12 Step Conference where the topic was “healthy communication.” I’m thinking, this is cool. This will give me tools on how to communicate healthier with my mom, my friends, colleagues, and even people I don’t like. Maybe I will learn how to communicate with my future special guy. Hell, maybe this conference will even give me tools on better communication with the cat. But in the expectations of the things I would learn about communicating with others, there was one very important person I left out of the equation.
Healthy communication with myself has to be a priority. Now I’m not talking about sitting around talking to myself (which is not necessarily a bad thing), but I admit to calling myself names, I admit to being hard on myself, I admit to being negative to myself more often than I give myself praise and admiration.
This is something that needs work in my life. But specifically what I learned this weekend is that negative self-talk is a nasty cyclical process. I realized that the reason I usually speak negative words into my own life is because they are a defense mechanism. I’m going to call myself something negative before you get the chance to. If I do it, this will lessen the blow because I believe you believe that about me anyway. For example, if I believe I’ve done something stupid, I’m more prone to say I am so stupid before you get a chance to say to me, that was so stupid. This hurts less, right?
Wrong. Because as soon as I put that negative word or concept about myself out into the Universe, the more likely people are going to treat me that way. Then, I’m going to get mad at you for treating me that way even though I just claimed the negativity. And then the process starts itself all over again.
I love the awareness I have about this now. I’ve never been one to speak empty affirmations or lie to myself about the way I feel. Especially now that I know that feeling feelings are okay. But now that I see the practical effects of speaking positive thoughts into my life, I’m going to try and be more conscious of what comes out of my mouth…specifically about myself.
My challenge comes with quickly re-framing the thoughts. Yesterday, something negative came out of my mouth before I could even catch it. Luckily, I have friends that quickly correct me if I don’t do it first. The negative thoughts about myself are going to come up, but I have to learn how to catch the thoughts and transform them into TRUTH.
And here is a bonus. What is that TRUTH? It’s the way God sees me: wonderful, beautiful, and loved.