“You are so stupid.” “What an idiot!” “You look like crap.” “Who do you think you are?” “You’ll never amount to anything.” “You need to shut up.” “Nobody cares about you.” “You’re ugly.”
Would you say these words to your child? Your spouse? Your boss or pastor? Your mother? These statements are considered offensive, humiliating and negative. It’s well documented that children who hear negative comments about themselves lack self-esteem and personal motivation and fulfill these prophecies. This type of speech is considered verbal abuse.
So why do we speak to ourselves this way?
People who would never say such critical phrases to anyone else speak them to themselves on a daily basis. Speaking them on the inside so our inner ears hear, and aloud to reinforce it in our external ears.
Creatives have a particular tendency to do this. “I’ll never finish writing this book.” “No one will ever buy one of my paintings.” “Who do you think you are? You have no business calling yourself a writer.” “Nobody cares about what you have to say.” “This is crap.” “You don’t know what you’re doing.” “You’ll never make a living at this.”
Negative thoughts become negative words that cause inertia in your life. Or worse, they move you backwards. Steven Pressfield calls this Resistance. How can you overcome negative attitudes about your creative pursuits?
Bless = to speak well of, to confer prosperity or happiness upon, an expression of goodness or well-being
Curse = a cause of great harm or misfortune, torment, an invocation for harm or injury to come upon one
Maybe you heard these kinds of negative statements from a parent, significant other, teacher, critique group, peer or cultural expectations. The world makes it easy to be negative. You must go against the grain to be positive.
- Change your words – Be mindful about the words you speak concerning your dreams and creative goals. This is not something that happens overnight. Speak what you want to become. You might feel silly and vulnerable saying ‘I’m a writer’ when you haven’t published anything, but if YOU don’t believe you, who else will believe you? You need to believe it so your mind and your spirit are aligned to what you’re moving toward.
- Change your influences – Do you have people in your life who tear down or make fun of your writing, art, etc.? Surround yourself with affirming people. Join online groups, meetups, take classes with those who have your same goals. Read books about those who have achieved in your chosen field.
- Change your abilities – Banish low self-esteem by improving the skills you do have. Again, take classes, read books and blogs that pump up your natural abilities.
- Change the scenery – Post affirmations everywhere you will see them to retrain your brain to focus on the positive. Write your goals on Post-Its and stick them on your bathroom mirror. Record your own voice saying positive things and listen to it. Use an affirmation as a screensaver on your computer or phone. Get a tattoo. (Make sure you’re positive about that one. 🙂 ) Do whatever it takes to get your attitude to do a 180.
Need more motivation for positive self-talk? Check out these links:
Let’s start our days like Jessica. With a positive outlook like that, who knows what we can achieve?
Question: Get some practice! Post an affirmation about yourself in the comments.