By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Self-talk makes you who you are.
Not all self-talk is positive. You may tell yourself positive things or you may criticize and belittle yourself. What you say to and about yourself, both out loud and in that running dialogue which takes place in your head determines who you become. What you repeat to yourself becomes your worldview. Having adopted that self-belief either positive or negative and with daily reinforcement, your brain heads your request.
Your unconscious thought processes will work overtime to make what you predict for yourself come true. It is natural to believe yourself. Would you lie to yourself? Your brain will believe you even when you tell it lies.
You may be programming your mind to believe you are incapable of better things. You can easily convince yourself that things will never be better for you. Ask yourself how sure you are about that. Could you be creating your own low self-esteem by trying to convince your brain that there is no use in trying?
Positive affirmations can create a happy successful life.
People who have used positive affirmations find that it changes their outlook on life. Telling yourself positive things makes them come to pass. There are a number of positive affirmation sites out there on the internet. Sundays I publish an inspirational post, many of which would make a good positive affirmation.
Many people find that they are working on one specific area of their life and they adopt an affirmation that attracts the feelings they need to set them on the right path. Whether you pick an affirmation from a ready-made list or you write a self-statement these things you tell yourself can help you create the life you would like.
Two times affirmations are most effective.
Personally, I have found that there are two times of day when affirmations and negative self-statements for that matter, are especially potent. Use affirmations when you are starting and when you are stopping an activity, especially your day.
Early each day, get things started in a positive direction by repeating your affirmation. This sets the stage for doing and feeling things that are consistent with the sort of life you wish for. If you leave home looking for the bad things in life you will easily find them If you prime your brain to notice those patches of sunshine, those moments of happiness, those will become more frequent.
Ending the day with a positive affirmation can also be useful. Avoid negative self-talk. Tell yourself something at bedtime and your brain seems to occupy itself all night with planning to create these things. Dwelling on what could go wrong tomorrow will keep you up all night and may be the cause of an awful next day.
You will sleep better if you slip off to dreamland thinking about the good that you may do and experience tomorrow. For those of you with a particular religious bent, prayer, telling your higher power, whom many of you call God, about your troubles and asking for help in overcoming difficulties can show significant benefits.
A word of caution about prayer as an affirmation.
When using evening prayer as a way to clear out the negative and create the positive be very careful to not ask God to fix something and then after saying “goodnight God” take that worry back from God and spend the rest of the night trying to fix it yourself. You can’t give something away, particularly a problem given to God, and then keep taking it back.
Remember to end these prayers or meditations with a thank you to the universe or that higher power for the help you expect to receive. Withholding that thank you will suggest to your brain that you have some doubts that the particular force you have requested help from can or will be able to help you.
Negative, critical self-talk become a sort of anti-affirmation.
If you tell yourself you can’t then you won’t be able to. Those who consistently tell themselves they are too old, too stupid or too fat, become or stay in those conditions. If you were put down or bullied as a child and you continue to repeat those negative things others told you, you have become your own life bully and are creating failure.
Negative affirmations can be the self-handicapping that keeps you stuck.
A common misconception is that self-criticism will make you work harder. Telling yourself you are a failure will not inspire you to work harder. It is likely to make you feel helpless and uninspired. You can learn to be helpless from what others told you and you can also teach yourself to be helpless by the put downs you repeat to yourself.
Don’t lie to yourself.
In creating affirmations a common mistake is to start by telling yourself things you can’t believe. Don’t say “I am the most beautiful, smartest person on earth.” You either won’t believe this and will give up on affirmations all together, or you will believe this and become delusional.
Begin by telling yourself you are a beautiful person just the way you are. You are smart enough to create a happy life. You can set your course for a goal and accomplish that goal. Pick goals that you can and will believe, if not now then eventually. Positive affirmations should be things you can believe in.
Here are some examples of positive affirmations that have helped people transform their lives.
I deserve to be happy.
I can do this.
I am getting better every day.
I deserve a good life.
I am learning to love myself.
There are many more powerful positive affirmations. Which ones will you adopt, tell yourself daily and take with you on the journey to a happy life?
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller
Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.
Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.