‘I should’, ‘I can’, ‘I will’, ‘I could’, ‘I can’t’ and many more words are casually tossed around without the realization of the effects they may have on our subconscious mind. Not only do we vocally use words that are demeaning, but our self talking is plagued with negativity as well. You cannot buck yourself up with a negative connotation. Take the example of a child – a harsh attitude does not help them grow into healthy beings because it is natural to want to receive nurturance.
Be Self Compassionate
Dr. Kristen Neff, Associate Professor at the University of Texas, has been working closely with the concept of self compassion for years. When she underwent a divorce and started a new chapter of her life, she had a slightly tough time. It was during this phase that she chose to undertake meditation classes that were Buddhist in origin and focused on enhancing well being. Upon experiencing the meditation she exclaimed, “I did not know you are allowed to be nice to yourself.”
Like the Buddhist psychologist, many of us do not believe in the concept of treating ourselves nicely. The idea seems rear. It sounds selfish? Doesn’t it? Well in reality, the world around you is formulated on the basis of how you view it. Interestingly enough, how you view the world is based on the perspective you hold for yourself. Hence, when you are nice and kind to yourself – you treat others the same way. It’s a loop, and it begins with you!
Story of the Happiest Man Alive
In 2003, Gus Godsey was named as the happiest man in America. His life is similar to that of an average American, however, the way he lives it is what sets him apart from others. He is a married man and has a small business where his employees love and appreciate him. His life is not perfect but he does not let failures and negativity get to him. When he cannot get something done, he does not make matters more difficult by adopting a harsh inner voice. He has many secrets to happiness and one of them is- positive language.
Positive Self Talk and Happiness
There is a connection in what you say and the way you say it. Observe an infant closely – it does not matter what you are saying to them, as long as your tone is calm and pleasing – they will flash a toothless smile right back at you. However, for an adult, both the tone and the content matters. When you communicate with someone else – your tone is assertive yet calm and pleasant. The two main reasons for maintaining a calm manner of conversation are-
- You cannot be rude to someone, and a harsh attitude does no good.
- You know that a negative behavior from your side will back fire and the person on the other side is likely to react.
Therefore, when you are considerate and sensitive to someone else’s feelings, then why not adopt the same mannerism with the self? Remember, don’t take yourself for granted. If you beat yourself too much with self criticism, each and every inch of your body is likely to be taken over by bitterness. This will be your reaction to yourself.
Try this: the next time you engage in self talk – try to adopt a calmer and nicer tone. Make use of decent and friendly language. Treat yourself with respect, and do not criticize yourself for the errors you make. You will notice a great change in your attitude and self esteem. The positive language you use for yourself is also likely to be reflected in how you treat others around you. It’s a loop, and it begins with you!
Lose the ‘Shoulds’
Nothing is an obligation. Majority of the time, we tend to be our own enemies – putting a great deal of unnecessary pressures on ourselves, wanting to reach the ideals that have been set by society. You are the only one who can break away from these fetters.
After failing to achieve a goal, your attitude becomes harsher towards yourself because you believe you should have been able to do better.
These ‘shoulds’ are an inherent part of our society. If you are a boy – you should not cry. If you are a student – you should get good grades. These ‘shoulds’ are considered to be one of the most growth hindering elements in our lives. Remember the time when you told yourself that you should get a good grade, but failed to do so? How did you feel after that? These feelings are not momentary in nature because they tend to negatively impact the self image. You lose out on your self esteem, your confidence and give yourself guilt trips. Hence, the negative language can be very unhealthy.
Break away from these and leave them behind because you are the only one who can be a source of emancipation for yourself. Remember- when you leave behind your own rigidity, you tend to become more warm and nurturing towards others. It’s a loop, and it begins with you!
Fighting the Anxiety with a Happy and Positive Language
Try the following – the next time you feel anxious and you are in public – fold your arms. This is no ordinary posture that you are sitting in as a little modification can have a very soothing effect. While your elbows are bent and your hands rest on your arms – imagine that you are giving yourself a hug. You will feel well contained and secure.
There will be a moment of peace inside you and to complete the process of soothing yourself – say something nice. Based on the situation that was the cause of anxiety – provide yourself a little reassurance. Tell yourself ‘it’s ok’ or ‘it will be fine’ or ‘take your time and settle in.’ The best part about this technique? No one will even notice. What everyone will notice is your calm presence that is likely to travel around in the room and create a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a loop, and it begins with you!