In everyday life so many of us talk to ourselves more harshly than we ever would to another person. We berate ourselves for even the smallest things with words that are often cruel or vicious. Let us look at the importance of talking to ourselves with a positive inner voice, with rather more kindness and sensitivity. Affirmations come into their own as a way of incorporating our goals and aspirations into our everyday mindset.
Negative self talk percolates through and can ultimately damage our view of ourself. It is important to clarify what we are actually saying at these times. For example, if I accidentally drop a cup on the floor I may say ‘you stupid thing, fancy doing that!’. The truth is, I am not stupid. I have simply done a ‘stupid’ thing. It is important not to confuse the individual action with the person concerned. Learning to appreciate the difference helps us to identify the critical inner voice and stop it from beating ourselves up over every little thing.
Positive self talk should aim to be gentle and supportive. Encouragement and understanding is an important part of its role. So, using the dropped cup example, the positive voice would say, ‘are you tired or stressed, do you need a break, or was that simply an accident ?’ It is the supportive, concerned voice that we need with us at times. And it can also provide, when required, the encouragement we need to do things that are new or a challenge. It pushes without being overtly demanding.
Affirmations need to be reasonable and plausible. They need to sit well and feel acceptable to us. In my opinion if most people said to themselves,’ I am gorgeous and have a great body’ they would cringe as they said it and the words would fall flat. I feel that affirmations should sit comfortably and stretch ourselves a little bit, enabling us to feel confident about our goals. They acknowledge and resonate our desires, goals and aspirations.
So saying to ourselves ‘I am becoming happier about myself and my body’, ‘I am working towards my goal of losing weight, am on track and am feeling good’ , are both reasonable and constructive ways of focussing our mind, reinforcing our positive inner voice and continuing with our plan. These are ways of tuning in to how we are talking to ourselves with our day-to-day inner chatter.
Some people like to write down their goals and aspirations as affirmations. They put them in the present tense, as if already reached and achieved. New Years Eve is a good time to set out the targets and goals for the year ahead, but a birthday, an anniversary or a new commitment can also be an opportunity for a new start in life. Writing down affirmations can be done in a special notebook or the front of your diary. Some people use stickers and put their affirmations around their room, so that they are constantly visible and trigger positive thought responses and reminders to stay on target.
Writing down affirmations like, ‘I am appreciative and thankful for my succesful career’, ‘I am thankful for being recognised as good at what I do’, ‘I am thankful for my slim and healthy body’ are all examples of incorporating our goals into our everyday mindset. By saying them out loud as affirmations we build our acceptance of this reality and start acting in a more positive, successful way. And this reaffirms the importance of talking to ourselves in a positive, constructive way.
Susan Leigh, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist