So many of us have a real downer on ourselves. Our friends and family may see us clearly as the wonderful people we are, but we are self-critical in the extreme.
Why is this? Well certainly in British culture we are taught as children that to boast is wrong & being modest is smiled upon. However feeling good about ourselves & having strong self esteem isn’t boastful, it’s healthy. Positive thoughts boost our physical health and vitality and they are essential to our mental and emotional well being. Life is much sweeter when we love and accept ourselves.
Louise Hay, author of the best-selling ‘How to Heal your Life’ has identified thought patterns that create illness and disease. Whilst you may not agree with her theory that all illness originates in this way it is certainly true that a positive mindset strengthens the immune system and increases your chances of recovery from serious illness.
Your subconscious mind agrees with everything that you tell it. It doesn’t have reasoning powers of its own. So if you feed it negative comments about yourself it cannot disagree. Instead it simply soaks it all up & then feeds it back to you at the times it thinks you must want to hear it. Its purpose is to protect you, but if it has been stuffed full of negativity it will undermine you instead.
Imagine you are getting ready for a fun night out. As you look in the mirror do you tell yourself you look great? Or do you think, “I look fat in this dress. I hate the way my stomach bulges. My nose is way too big.” Once you get out how’s your confidence? If you’ve told yourself “I look great!” it is probably pretty high, you feel ready to go and enjoy yourself. People will be drawn towards you because you radiate happy, confident vibes. If you criticised yourself positive people will probably steer clear without realising why.
So how can you ‘root out’ negative thought patterns?
The first step is to become aware of them. So much of our mind chatter is habitual that we can be unaware of the true nature of our thoughts. Buy a little notebook & write down any negative and critical thoughts you find yourself thinking. Do this over the space of a week.
The second step is to look for the most repeated or the most hurtful piece of self-criticism and to think of a positive sentence, or affirmation, that counters it. So for example if you find that you often think, "How could anyone love me when I’m so fat?" Then you need a sentence like, “I love and accept myself just as I am.” You can extend this if you like by adding something like, “Loving people are drawn to me.” If you have a thought pattern of, “I never have enough money for what I need,” write something like, “I have plenty for my needs. My life is abundant.”
The best affirmations contain no negatives at all and are written in present tense. Your subconscious doesn’t cope well with deciphering your meaning when you add negatives. So for example saying, “I’m not fat,” isn’t helpful- the subconscious fixes on the word ‘fat’! Equally, “I’m going to have enough money,” is less useful than, “I have enough money,” because the former places 'having enough' into sometime in the future.
Step three is to use the affirmations. Remember how many times negative thoughts have run in circles around your mind? To reprogramme your thought patterns the positive affirmations will need to be repeated, and often. I suggest writing them out on a card and taking time to decorate it- this tells your subconscious that the exercise is important to you- and then putting the card somewhere you will see it often. Good places include by the kettle, on the main mirror you use, by the toothbrush, or on the dashboard of your car. If someone in your household will poke fun at you put it somewhere more private, like your underwear drawer.
Seeing the card isn’t enough! Every time you see it read it, preferably out loud. If you do this several times a day over a couple of weeks you will realise that the statement has become your reality.
I’ve worked personally with affirmations for years now & have found they are life changing. My clients have had real successes too. Give them a go & join me in the forum to discuss them & to let me know what you are working on.