Negative self-talk hinders growth!
For years I believed the lie that said, “I’m no good. I’ll amount to nothing!” Unfortunately, the more I repeated this self-criticism the more I believed it. Imagine believing a lie for so long that it disguises itself as truth. You begin to say things like, “That’s just the way I am,” or “I will always be this way.” Does this sound familiar?
Our 6-year-old son loves the phrase “I can’t!” When we ask him to do his homework, pick up toys, or do any chore for that matter, he emphatically declares, “I can’t!” In reply, I like to ask him: “Who told you that?” He never gives me a clear answer. The fact is, he has simply made up his mind. He is convinced that certain tasks are downright impossible.
Regardless of our age, we all face certain barriers to growth. With each challenge that lies before us, our goal should be to grow through it. So how does one arrive at this new “I can” mindset? Take two simple steps. First, believe you can make the shift. Second, practice new phraseology.
Renew Your Mind
If we are going to make this transition, we need to believe we can. If we really believe “we can’t” we will not even attempt to try. Proverbs 26:11, “As a dog returns to it’s vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness” (NLT). In other words, we cannot keep doing the same things and expect different results. We need to change our thinking. Our brains need new data plans. The negative data needs to be deleted and replaced. So, here are a few tips to renew:
- Be Thankful. Take the first minute of every morning and focus on everything you are thankful for. You can journal, make a list, spend time in prayer, etc. The point is to trigger positive thoughts and to write them down. We have much to be thankful for.
- Don’t Complain. Take up the challenge to not complain for a whole week. Give yourself grace when you mess up because old habits run deep. However, it’s time to become conscious of our inner dialogue. Pay attention and stop the negativity cycle.
- Think Positive. Meditate on positive thoughts. Personally, I prefer to read the Bible every morning. I find that going to God’s Word renews my outlook for each day. There are plenty of Scriptures to camp out in. For example, Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” If the Bible is not your thing, find some positive quotes and allow them to take root.
Ok, now that we are renewing our mind. We need to change our phraseology.
Ask: How Can I?
Either possibilities abound or they don’t; our thinking makes it so. This week, whenever you hit a roadblock in your thinking, planning, work, or whatever; hit the pause button. Tap your brain and ask, “How can I?” Whenever negative self-talk rears it’s ugliness, we need to enforce this new phrase immediately. This moves us from merely wanting to achieve goals to actually working on goals. Like all positive habits, this will take some time to form.
In addition to these suggestions, I like the question Tony Teagarden asks: “Would you talk like that to a 5-year-old?”
- Where is negative self-talk showing up in your life?
- What do you complain about?
- How can you refrain from complaining this week? Track your progress.