“You will become what you think about most; your success or failure in anything, large or small, will depend on your programming — what you accept from others, and what you say when you talk to yourself.” ― Shad Helmstetter, What To Say When You Talk To Your Self
If someone were to look at how you treat yourself, what might they say about you? It’s said, we will never speak to anyone more than we speak to ourselves and this is why we must be kind to ourselves. Knowing that, what is the relationship you have with yourself? You see, every interaction we have with others begins inside our heads and echoes throughout our external world. If we are not happy with our relationships, we ought to examine our thoughts to see how we treat ourselves.
For example, are you aware of the mental chatter that takes place within your mind? What is the theme of your dominant thoughts? Whilst I don’t intend to focus on whether you entertain negative thoughts or not, it’s important to know the nature of our thoughts. Thinking is something we are habituated to from a young age. We may not notice our thoughts are negative until it shows up in our reality.
To give you an example, when I go shopping at the local supermarket, there’s a mature aged checkout operator who often invites people with eight items or less to come through her register. I often overhear her telling shoppers about her sore shoulder and she asks them to bag their own items. What’s interesting about her interactions, is that during the space of a few minutes she will have told them how her entire body is in pain and she relies on medication to function. Now, if she works an eight-hour shift, she will have recited this story to at least fifty to one hundred people in one day. What we think about ourselves is what we communicate to others. On some level, she doesn’t believe her body is healthy and talks about her ill-health as a way of reaffirming her thoughts and beliefs.
As the Hermetic aphorism states: “As within, so without.” What we hold in mind has a ripple effect in our life and the lives of others. The checkout operator’s thoughts are a declaration to her subconscious mind, however negative they may be. Whilst I appreciate she may be looking for sympathy, it would be better if she stopped talking about her pain and ill-health and directed her thoughts towards more empowering ones. Perhaps this takes place in your own life without your conscious awareness? Not so much your health maybe your finances, relationships or career. It is easy to miss if we are not attentive to it.
“The brain simply believes what you tell it most. And what you tell it about you, it will create. It has no choice.”― Shad Helmstetter, What To Say When You Talk To Your Self
Life can be difficult and this is why few people make the time for self-enquiry to journal their thoughts on paper. This can be an important step because it gives us a portrait into what is brewing beneath the surface of our minds. This simple practice, whether performed in the morning or evening, can help us to understand ourselves better. As a result, we are able to weed out thoughts not conducive to our general wellbeing. Can you relate to this? Is this something you’re willing to devote time and energy towards? I can assure you the time you invest in yourself will come back to you tenfold. I enjoy the message by author and motivational psychologist Dr. Shad Helmstetter who explains in What To Say When You Talk To Your Self how our self-talk can help us prevail over negative programming by replacing it with self-empowering thoughts: “Self-Talk is a way to override our past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with conscious, positive new directions. Self-Talk is a practical way to live our lives by active intent rather than by passive acceptance.”
There is nothing more important than nurturing the relationship we have with ourselves. Even though you may have experienced a difficult past, does it make sense how the way you speak to yourself dictates whether you remain a victim to your troubles or better understand yourself? Many people say they had a difficult childhood, bombarded with emotional and physical abuse. Whilst this can be a difficult period, what was missing from our lives during our formative years should be given our attention as adults. If love, appreciation, kindness and compassion was missing when we were young, it is more important we cultivate these qualities as adults. We must become our own therapist and counsellor and plant the seeds of compassion, forgiveness and equanimity, for the love of oneself is the soil that never runs dry.
The dialogue we have with ourselves can be rewritten if we are willing to weed out destructive thoughts. It requires commitment because caring for our inner landscape is an act of self-love. Attending to our thoughts is like pulling out weeds from a garden so it can flourish. If the weeds are left to grow they will overtake the luscious greenery. The key message here is: Be mindful! Watch your thoughts by being attentive to them more often. Let go of thoughts not conducive to the person you wish to be and harvest those indicative of the person you intend to be and plant some new thought seeds. At the end of the day, the way you speak to yourself not only echoes through your relationship with yourself but the relationship you have with others. “As within, so without” is more than a pithy saying — it is sage wisdom, yes? Now THAT is worth talking about!
Originally published at medium.com