How we think: When we have a situation come up that is daunting, how many of us get to feeling that “we cannot do this”, or “oh this is a terrible situation”, or “this is too hard for me to do”. When we start thinking like that we can very easily come up with all sorts of reasons why we cannot do the task. That is how our brain works. It looks through all of its files for proof for what we are thinking or feeling.
Once we find one or more reasons that this task cannot be done by me, our body and mind shuts down and we make a decision not to do it or a decision not to even try. We have convinced ourselves of these ‘facts’.
The example I use with the students is riding a bicycle. I am sure that all of us had our spills as we began to learn to ride a bike. We would fall and someone would pick us up and we would try again. Over and over we would do this till one day it happened for us. We were riding, no one was holding the bike and we were controlling the whole experience.
What if though when we had fallen off the bike at the beginning for the second or third time someone said to us, “You stink at bike riding!”, “you are never going to get it”, you always fall off”. How would you have felt? It would have been very discouraging and the next time you climbed up on the bike it may not have been with the same enthusiasm and belief that this was going to be the time that you would do it all by yourself. You had placed in your mind negative thoughts and ideas and now your attitude had become negative too.
That would not have been a very good friend that was speaking to us in that manner. In fact when I talk to the kids about this they tell me that they would never talk to a friend that way. So I ask them what would you say to your friend that is falling off of their bike?
They tell me that they would use encouraging words like, “you can do it’, “you almost did it that time”, “I had the same experience and I finally got it – you will too”, Keep trying, you will get it”. Yes they had all kinds of ideas of encouraging things to say. If we had a friend like that, we would learn to ride the bike pretty quickly because of all the positive energy around us. Our thoughts and feeling would be positive and of course our actions would become positive results.
Now here is the question. If you would not talk to a friend with those kind of negative thoughts, why would you ever talk to yourself that way? Our self talk is many times so mean and we will say things to ourselves that we would never say to a friend. So I encourage you to talk to yourself in a way that creates a positive feeling rather than a negative one. Ask yourself when you hear the negative way of thinking coming out if you would talk to a friend that way. If what you are saying to yourself you would not say to a friend, then choose not to say it to yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat others. You deserve it.
This is not an idea of making everything positive all the time and living in La La Land. No you are your own best friend, so treat yourself that way. Talk to yourself in a positive way and you will find that you will have a positive attitude and will accomplish more with the skills that you have.