“Of course I talk to myself. Sometimes I need an expert opinion.”
Carl Spackler (Bill Murray), Caddyshack
Try this little experiment tomorrow morning. As you’re going through your morning routine, start paying attention to the thoughts that come up in your mind. That’s it. Just start noticing.
Are some of them thoughts like:
- ‘What a stressful day it’s going to be.’
- ‘It’s only Wednesday?’
- ‘What’s her face really ticked me off yesterday.’
- ‘I’m so broke.’
- ‘God, I’m getting old.’
See a common theme in all of these thoughts? Negativity. You might even start thinking of an argument you had with someone six months ago – and play it over and over again in your mind. I used the morning for this experiment, but it could have been any time of day.
The thing is – we’re on this earth for a limited time. Is this really how you want to spend your time each day? Think this is just the way it is for everyone (except the few Pollyannas out there who are out of touch with reality)?
Not true my friends. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Really happy people didn’t get that way because of one big sweeping event that rescued them from their stressful lots in life. They created their beautiful lives – one day at a time, one thought at a time.
Yes, some people were just born this way or were lucky enough to have idyllic childhoods and things always going smoothly. But, they are pretty much the minority. Most of us have to work at it, right?
The funny thing about our thoughts is that they are always running in the back of our subconscious minds, without us really being aware of them. We have over 65,000 thoughts a day. And this number will grab you: around 80% of them are negative.
This is it people! This is where your happiness lies. It’s not your job or your boss or the weather or the government or etc. etc. etc. It’s your thoughts.
“What we think, we become.”
So, where do you begin to start changing your thoughts around? The first thing is to realize that our thoughts are always the product of our beliefs deep inside of us. Even though we get random thoughts popping up constantly – whether they are positive or negative is based on the beliefs we have about ourselves and about the world.
For example, thoughts like, ‘I can’t handle another day with my boss.’ could come from beliefs such as:
- ‘I am a victim.’
- ‘I am not worthy or capable of standing up for myself.’
- ‘I am stuck.’
- ‘I am dependent on other people for my happiness.’
You get the idea.
The biggie of all the beliefs that stop us from being really happy: ‘I am not enough!’. This belief is so universal and is usually at the core of all the other beliefs.
The good thing is that we’ve been given tools that we can use to reach into our subconscious minds and start turning these beliefs around. One of them is self-talk. I know, I know – you’re thinking you’ll never be caught talking to yourself. But, what would be even more embarrassing is if people heard how poorly we talk to ourselves all day long.
Self-talk or affirmations, as they’re called, have gotten a bad rap through the years. If people can get over the stigma and learn how to use them the right way, they can be powerful. They’re not about just saying nice things to yourself, like “Today’s going to be a great day.” That’s not what they’re about. They are so much more. In other words, they’re not about just changing our days, they’re about changing our lives.
And happy, successful people use them. People like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jennifer Lopez, to name just two celebrities.
The second step in using self-talk is to start becoming aware of your thoughts. Then work at tracing them back to your beliefs. Our beliefs are usually formed in our childhood, when we were too young to understand what was really going on. So, go back to your childhood in your mind and try and uncover how you formed that particular belief. As an adult now, you have the ability to see the truth and turn the belief around.
Do you notice on the list above that each of those beliefs started with the phrase, ‘I am…’? So, ‘I am not good enough.’ can be changed to, ‘I am so damn good enough and then some!!!’
Lastly, keep repeating it to yourself over and over and over again. The more the better. And no one has to know about it. Remember, we have over 60,000 thoughts a day. When you think of all those thoughts and all those years you’ve had that negative belief, you can see how just a few times isn’t going to cut it.
And that’s it. Once you start using this new tool for happiness, it’ll become second nature to:
- become aware of the negative thoughts playing in the back of your mind
- uncover the beliefs at the core of them
- start turning them around by installing new beliefs into your subconscious mind
Want the FREE 370 page E-book of my book, Simply Being Happy? Get it here.
I’d love to hear how you’re doing with self-talk. Share your experiences in the comments below. Have any questions? You can write them in the comments and I’ll be sure to answer them.