A shift will occur at some point during our 40s. It will come into our life quietly with no fanfare or parade; yet, it will leave behind a powerful gift. People will notice a difference in the way we walk, talk and look at life. They will be intrigued and want to know our secret. When we tell them…they won’t believe it! Why? Because it sounds too simple to believe that by simply altering the way we talk to ourselves can bring about tremendous change in our lives.
The conversations that we have with others are important and should not be taken for granted. These interactions are necessary in order for us to function in society; however, the most critical conversations we will ever have are the ones we have with ourselves.
Do you remember growing up and having our parents teach us that if we don’t have anything nice to say to someone then don’t say anything at all? That golden rule would hit me on the side of my head when I was 37 years old and realized that I was the one standing in my own way of having a better life. My pessimistic and negative internal chatter was holding me hostage from life’s many possibilities. The thought of living out the next 50 years in this state came to an end when I decided to sit down and give myself a good talking to. I needed to focus on what was in my control and a good place to begin was by changing my inner vocabulary.
Words are the most powerful tools we have at our disposal. We need to be very careful with how we choose to aim and fire them at others but, more importantly, how our word selection can destroy our own self-confidence and keep us prisoners from reaching our true potential. I think it would be safe to assume that I am not the only one who talks to themselves on a daily basis. We all do it. Actually, I find that the older I get this activity is more frequent than not. It’s okay to have these consultations with ourselves but only if our words are positive and encouraging.
After having this meeting with myself I came up with a new plan. Going forward, instead of being the school-yard bully in my mind and thoughts, I was going to become my own personal cheerleader by choosing to use more active and positive words. The first order of business was to immediately stop using words like “can’t,” “won’t” and “shouldn’t.” Those “n’t” words are stagnating and damaging. Every time we use them we have already convinced ourselves that we will “not” be able to do something. I wanted to change all of that and focus my thoughts on what I could do. It was amazing how quickly opportunities started to appear when I eliminated using those types of limiting words.
The second challenge for me was to mind my own business. How others chose to live out their lives was no longer any of my concern. When I placed my attention on fixing me (and let me tell you, that was a tall order) it was manageable and achievable. It’s not our responsibility to change others. Change begins and ends with ourselves. All we can do for others is to love and accept them for who they are. Re-training my thoughts and dialogue is an on-going daily exercise. I compare it to an athlete preparing for their sport. Without training and practice they cannot expect to be a superstar when stepping into their arena. It takes time, dedication and patience but the results are priceless. The payoff is freedom.