Our words are powerful. A positive word can lift a hurting heart. A negative word, well, the damage can go very deep. What we say to others, what they say to us, and what we say (or even think) to ourselves, can trigger a myriad of emotions. Good or bad, words have the power to make us believe.
I can remember being teased as a child and yelling out "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!". Not sure where I learned that, on the playground most likely. Helpful for schoolyard retaliation. But what about the negative messages that were reinforced daily? By people you loved and trusted? Getting hit with a stick doesn't seem as damaging.
Think about it. What's the first thing you think or say aloud to yourself when you make a mistake? When you drop something, say the wrong thing? Did you call yourself stupid, clumsy, or worse? What about when you're looking in the mirror? Who do you see? Whose voice do you hear? What are they telling you? What are you telling yourself? Are you subconsciously reinforcing those painful, negative messages?
Why do we seem to think it's okay to talk down to ourselves? If you saw someone drop something, what is your reaction? I'm thinking you're not shaming them or cussing them out. Your initial response may be to rush to their aid, ease their embarrassment, and help them collect their items. Am I right? Why would you deserve any less?
So, where do these negative and damaging thoughts come from?
Simply put, everywhere. If a child grows up in a dysfunctional household, ridicule or other abuse may have been a daily occurrence. Children have no real reason to doubt what is being told to them. A child's mind does not have the ability to rationalize that the adult is projecting their insecurities and so the adult's word becomes truth. The words and actions of the adult in their life defines how and what the child believes about themselves. No one could conclude they're smart or pretty if they're called dumb and ugly every day.
Additionally, we receive subtle messages from all media sources that define a standard of beauty and intelligence that is completely out of touch with reality. Through these outlets we receive messages that we aren't smart enough, pretty enough, tall enough, thin enough, and on and on. Criticism by people who don't know you, have never seen you and yet they are causing you to believe them and judge everything about yourself and conclude that you don't measure up. You berate yourself and reinforce the belief that those cruel words must be true.
There is a collective consciousness. These are beliefs and ideas shared in a society, a shared understanding of social norms, a cultural standard of beauty, etc. We also have beliefs that have carried over in our DNA from our ancestors. These beliefs are subconscious and while they may have been beneficial to that ancestor, they are no longer needed.
You can see how easy it is to take on negative beliefs about ourselves. Especially as young children. There are studies that say for every negative interaction, one needs between 4 and 7 positive interactions to reverse the effects. Think about that! If you had a difficult childhood, your entire adult life needs to be a positive interaction!
I don't see that happening anytime soon, so what now? Well, the first thing is, be more aware of the thoughts and words you use. Every time you. have an unkind thought toward yourself or someone else, stop, recognize it and change it to a positive thought or word. The temptation will be there to scold yourself. You don't need to do that. Be kind to yourself, make the correction and move on. Before you know it, the knee-jerk negativity will be gone.
For the deeper, more complex beliefs that were carried over from ancestors or deeply ingrained in childhood, with a little healing work, I can help you to uncover, release and replace all of them with positive and encouraging beliefs. Once you begin to release and replace those negative beliefs that no longer serve you, you'll be surprised at how quickly you begin to feel better, lighter. You'll be amazed how your thinking automatically becomes positive. When you let go of the need to put yourself down or cuss yourself out because of a mistake or the belief that you're not living up to a ridiculous standard, you will be free. Free to be happy and healthy. Free to be you.
What words do you want to believe?