I hope you’ve had a productive week?
What I want to talk about with you today, is whether using positive language has any real benefits. And alternatively, does using negative language create any real problems. Specifically, when it comes to Social Anxiety issues and a lack of confidence.
Well, if you’ve been hanging around here for a while, you’ll know I’ve said, your mind doesn’t really know the difference between positive and negative. And it wants you to be right ALL the time.
What that means, is that whenever you use negative, or derogatory language to describe yourself, your mind immediately tries to prove that you’re right. So, when you’re constantly using negative self-talk, you create a problem on two fronts.
The ‘Third Person’ Problem
Firstly, assume for a moment that you’re talking with a friend. She tells you that an old aquaintance of hers has just moved in up the road from you.
Then, she tells you that this person is a gossip and you shouldn’t trust her.
Of course, you trust your friend. So, you believe what she says. Now you’ve got this belief, your sub-conscious won’t let you change your mind. You’ll most likely treat this neighbor with caution now.
Whatever you tell yourself, is accepted as a fact and acted on; positive, or negative.
And, negativity can really screw up your day!
The more Likely Problem
The other, more problematic issue is that your mind sees everything as a goal to achieve. Whether that goal is: “I will be calm and confident when I speak to my boss today”, or “I’m such an idiot, I always screw things up!”
In the corridors of your mind, obtaining a negative goal is just as entertaining as achieving a positive one.
The problem most people face, is deciding which phrases are negative and which are positive. For example:
Which of the following are negative….
- I am confident
- I’m not shy
- I will speak slowly and clearly
- I won’t mess up in the meeting today
- I’m going to be positive
- I’m not going to be negative
- I always make mistakes
- I could never do that
- I’m too old to learn new skills
- I’m clumsy
Well, apart from numbers 1,3 and 5, they’re all negative statements.
A statement’s negative if;
- It’s a statement about somehing that’s derogatory (eg. being clumsy, ugly, stupid, etc.) or,
- It’s a statement about something you don’t want to happen (eg. I won’t mess up, I am not shy, etc.)
Let me explain…
If you take the first two examples above. I am confident and I’m not shy. To your conscious mind, they’re both basically the same thing.
To your sub-conscious though, it only sees the adjective in the statement ie: confident and shy.
Then it tries to reach those goals. In the first case your mind will try to prove you’re confident, by reminding you of times you acted confidently.
In the second, it will try to prove you’re shy, by bringing up times when you struggled in social situations, for example.
So, whenever you use affirmations to help you, always make sure that you’re using a statement of what you want to happen, rather than what you don’t.
Using positive affirmations, backed up with appropriate action, can be very helpful but, unfortunately, using negative self-talk can have devistating effects.
This is especially true when you thought you were using positive statements (eg I am not shy). Because then, you start to believe that the affirmations aren’t working, when really they are and you’re just asking for the wrong things!
Take some time to decide on a few positive affirmations, then use them at least a couple times each day. You’ll be surprised at the result.
Until next time,