Listen to the article
Wow, I am amazed I still remember the words to this song! A song I used to sing in music class in the fourth grade. I don’t think I consciously realized it back then, but this song definitely shaped my view and thinking around the month of January. I’d sing along, not even realizing that in reality, I wasn’t very excited about the month of January, due to the words this song had placed in my mind about this month.
I can remember asking my mom, “When is January going to be over?” Followed by, “This month is so boring.” I was always eager for January to pass and for February to arrive. Not only was my thinking around the month of January not very positive, but because of it, I subconsciously wasn’t being very present either.
I share all of this to say that our words have power. For our words then turn into thoughts, and these thoughts then influence our behavior and reaction.
If you consciously choose the thoughts, words, and phrases that you repeat in your mind, your life will start to change. You will begin discovering and creating new circumstances and situations. Positive self-talk is a vital step in building self-esteem. It is an incredible strategy for change. Some of the greatest athletes in the world use positive self-talk to help them achieve their biggest goals. The thing is, you don’t actually need to be an all-star athlete to use this strategy. Anyone can do it!
More often than not, it is so common and routine to speak negatively about yourself that you are completely unaware of how frequently you do it. You may not even be aware that you are doing it. If for the next twenty-four hours, you took the time to pay attention to your thoughts and to take notice of how you speak about yourself – what kind of internal dialogue are you running? Furthermore, are you verbalizing it?
Pay attention to how often your inner critic is active. By bringing awareness to any negative self talk, this will begin the important process of interrupting this destructive habit.
If you speak negatively about yourself, and as you pay more attention to how often this is happening, start being in inquiry around the following questions:
- Would I speak to my best friend like this?
- Would I speak to someone I loved like this?
- Can I change the situation that is making me feel so low?
- Am I actively taking positive steps towards feeling better?
- What resulted from saying something so negative to myself?
Be aware of your self-talk. If your inner-critic is loud and out of control, it’s time to silence that negative voice in your head. Negative self-talk can impact your self-esteem, your outlook on life, your energy levels, your relationships, and even your health.
Instead of repeating negative words and phrases in the mind, why not choose positive words and phrases that help you create the life and situation you want? It’s like I often say in class, “What are you thinking right now, as you’re holding this pose? What words are you telling yourself about being in this pose? You can either be suffering and struggling in the midst of this pose, or you can be creating ease and peace for yourself in this pose. You have the power to choose that.”
We may not always have control over the situations and circumstances that arise in our life, but we always have control over how we choose to react and respond to the situations and circumstances.
Just like any toxic bad habit, you can decide to stop the behavior of negative self-talk and choose positive words and positive self-talk, instead. It may take time, perseverance, attention, and strength to quit negative self-talk completely, because for many of us it has become so deeply ingrained, it is almost second nature. But, you can do it! Just as we trust the process on the mat and surrender to the flow of the practice – so too can we trust and surrender to the process of choosing our words wisely.
May we choose loving and kind words. May we choose positive thinking. May we choose a life that is a reflection of our beautiful inner light. Both on and off the mat.