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Staying on Top When Your World's Upside Down


Transform negative self-talk into positive affirmation

Tác giả: Joe Tye

“Speaking wisely is essential when you speak to yourself. . . Words matter. We cannot risk speaking untruths to ourselves because of the strong likelihood that we will believe them”
Jennifer Rothschild: Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to say When You Talk to Yourself

Some 2,500 years ago, Confucius was asked what would be the first thing he would do if he ruled China. He answered that he would fix the language. Your choice of words – both in speaking with others and in speaking with yourself – has a powerful impact on your self-identity and self-esteem. Despite what the children’s song says, the words you use to describe yourself and your circumstances can be more harmful than any sticks and stones. In his book Awaken the Giant Within, Anthony Robbins describes how to use Transformational Vocabulary to create a self-empowering mindset, to modulate negative emotions and intensify positive ones, to enrich the range of your experiences, and to break old self-defeating behavior patterns. In one exercise, he recommends making a list of words with which you disempower yourself and converting them into more empowering words. (Shortly after my own job loss experience, I transformed the words “scared” into “exhilarated,” “intimidated” into “challenged,” and “cocooned” into “recharging.”)

Try the exercise yourself. Divide a piece of paper in half. Down one side make a list of disempowering adjectives that you apply to yourself. Down the other make a list of empowering language that could be applied to the same adjectives. Every day, select one old adjective that you are going to consciously transform into one of the new ones. Make a list of all the negative labels you pin on yourself, and then each day convert one from a label to a description. For example, “I’m lazy” may become “I don’t like to waste my time doing things for which there doesn’t seem to be much benefit.”

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