Most of us have a nonstop flow of chatter going on in our heads all of the time, except when we sleep. This is all we know so we accept it as normal thinking nothing about it.
This chatter would be fine except it consists of many negative thoughts about us. We believe these 100 % without any questions. These thoughts have been with us for most of our lives, even as young children or teenagers. This is our negative self-talk.
I believed at the age of 12 to be “the lowest man on the totem pole.” In other words, I felt such low self-esteem I considered everyone else in school better than me. Some reasons may have been my family was poor, my father was a drunk, I wore second hand clothes, and I believed I had less than average intelligence. This thought ran through my head or at least in the background during my days at school all the way to high school graduation.
No one ever told me I could change my critical thoughts. Only looking back now do I see the main critical thought patterns, which persisted for a majority of my life. I had no knowledge of the tools to recognize and change thoughts which I now teach teenagers in self-esteem groups.
In my mid twenties, my main passion revolved around personal emotional, mental, and spiritual growth. I have strived since then to learn more about myself and develop inner strengths and abilities. For about twenty years through a series of major relationships, I persevered recognizing my codependent behaviors and recovering. During this time, I usually focused on lack and limitation rather than opening my mind to a positive creative solution. I felt frustrated never achieving my desired goals a lot of the time and also unknown to me I tended to sink into victim consciousness, feeling powerless.
Over many decades, I learned methods of taking charge of my mind, which moved me in the direction of more positive thoughts. A few of these methods included a ten year daily practice of focused meditation, which slowed down my active mind. A few years earlier I read a classic book, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, by Joseph Murphy which talked about using our subconscious to change our lives for the better. I believe this book had a positive influence. Much later I took some training - the Silva Method, which shows ways to use the creative power of our minds to manage stress and pain and to improve our lives. I also spent a good portion of my life learning and practicing energy medicine, which trained me to surrender my conscious mind and will to the Divine energy flowing through me for healing others. All my life experience and learning assisted to shift my negative thinking.
I now know the importance of first becoming aware of the negative things we say over and over to ourselves in our heads. Once we become aware of the related events, feelings, and the critical self-talk we have a choice to start to change these thoughts. We can reprogram our subconscious mind with conscious positive self-talk.
In cognitive behavioral therapy a person keeps thought records as a way of overcoming negative self-talk. Carolyn Ball, Claiming Your Self-Esteem, outlines another technique of reprogramming to recognize the event which triggers an emotional reaction. Then a person writes down all the associated critical thoughts and creates a related positive statement to use when a similar event triggers reactions and the old pattern of critical thoughts emerges again. Over time the critical thoughts weaken, which have sabotaged our conscious desires for success.
When are you going to start reprogramming your subconscious mind with positive self-talk as a way of dealing with negative self-talk?
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