How to turn the negatives into positives10 Mar 2017
Even though I'm a life coach, I can still fall prey to negative thinking. I know it's a battle we all have at times, but there are things we can do about it, and for you this doesn't mean having to see a coach. I'm lucky that I've got a bunch of tools and tricks up my sleeve which I can pull out to turn those negative thoughts around, and today I'm going to share them with you.
Negativity often stems from a lack of self worth, and can easily spiral out of control. One negative thought can lead to another and before you know it, everything seems unbearable.
Lack of self-esteem
It's the beliefs that are drilled into us as we grow that can create low levels of self-esteem. Without putting some daily actions in place, you can feel the effects of this for a lifetime.
If you've got low self-esteem and you know it, there are things you can easily do which will have an impact, if done consistently. Remember the movie The Help.
"You is kind. You is smart. You is important".
In this movie the nanny recognised that the child she was caring for didn't have much confidence in herself. She says this phrase to the little four year old every single day, in the hope she can build up her confidence again.
Our elders can have such an impact on our development of self-esteem when we're children. I remember when I had just started senior school at the age of 11, the deputy headmistress (Mrs Leppik) sat with us newbies one day and asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I was first and I told her with great enthusiasm that I wanted to be a vet because I loved animals, especially horses and wanted to look after them. In one sentence she blew all that away.
“Amanda, you should think of something else. At this school no one will become a vet, that is for the intelligent kids at Highlands School, so you should choose something else.”
BOOM...dream crusher, right there. And I believed her. I failed my maths ‘O’ level three times, I was in the bottom sets for all the important subjects and I failed to get to university. All because that nasty mind virus got into my mind and changed my reality. I now know it was utter rubbish. I am intelligent, I worked and got my Doctorate as an adult, so she was wrong, very wrong. If I'd had a higher self-esteem at this time, who knows what I would achieved!
The sad thing is that we tend to believe the negatives too much. Yet if someone pays you a compliment, you might find yourself making an excuse, like "Oh thanks but it’s old,” or “I got it in the sale, it was cheap as chips”, because we think they are just being nice, they don’t mean it, they just want us to feel good.
When what is really happening is that it's easier for us to believe the negatives about ourselves than the positives.
We are being influenced every day by what is happening around us, whether we like it or not. In most cases we are not even aware of it as the messages slip by us, right into our unassuming minds. This is why advertising agencies spend so much money on those adverts when our favourite show goes on a break...their messaging works on a subconscious level and before you know it, you're buying!
If you can relate to having been told by a teacher, a parent, an aunt or any adult for that matter, that you were silly, daft, clumsy, fat, stupid...the list goes on, then chances are you will have believed them. When you reflect back now you might be realising just how much of an impact this had on your life!
Breath and know that this is just not true, it is just a message that you devoured at a young age and saw as being a truth. When in fact it was just a really stupid comment made without much thought behind it at all.
This proves that we believe what we are told. We call this a 'mind virus'. A whole book has been written on the subject by Richard Brodie, and is well worth a read.
You know that famous Jim Rohn saying, "You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Well, it's true, so choose wisely. Surround yourself with positive influences.
Fear of Failure
We all have big hopes and dreams of things we are going to accomplish in our lives, but often there's a dull nagging in the back of your brain that is sending you all kinds of negative messages about why you shouldn't give something a go. This fear stems from low self-esteem and negative beliefs about ourselves that have been developed over a lifetime.
What if you fail again? I'm sure that story has played over and over in your mind.
Whether it's breaking free from a rocky relationship, taking on a new fitness challenge or starting a business, the fear that we have of failure is incredibly unhealthy. Yet it's something we all experience, and quite frankly is a gigantic barrier you have to cross if you're going to live the life you truly dream of.
The answer to all of this is literally flicking a switch in your brain. And it won't happen overnight, but you'll be amazed at the results if you stick at it. That switch is to substitute those negative thoughts for positives. And we can help you do just that with the use of positive affirmations.
We've got a download for you below showing some examples of positive affirmations that are worded in ways that will allow them to be programmed into your neurology, so you don't get stuck on what to say.
Here's what you need to do:
- Pick three sentences from the download
- Write them on a card or on post it notes
- Put them where you can see them
- Say them out loud to yourself every morning three times and throughout the day at least another three times.
- Challenge yourself to do this for at least one week, then look at the impact!
It’s a game changer! It's all about choosing what messages you want to tell yourself rather than leaving it to chance.
When I keynote speak to large groups, I always share this. People come back to me years later and tell me it made a huge difference to their family. This is a simple and really effective confidence builder, and a tool I really wish I had a lot earlier in life.