May 18, 2011
What's That You Say!?
Recently, I wrote about the importance of focusing on what you’d like to “add in” or “get back” that was lost as a result of trauma/abuse. Today, I want to hone in on one very particular thing that I work with all of my clients to add in – right speech.
This concept as conceived in Buddhism (excerpt below from The Religions of Man), can also be found in cognitive behavioral theory and rational emotive theory. I just like the way it’s conveyed in the Buddhist text:
“Right speech. We begin now to reach down and take hold of the switches that control our lives. Language is the first. Language does two things: it furnishes both an indication of our character and a lever for shifting it.”
This is an amazingly powerful statement and foreshadows the current trend of “positive affirmations.” However, beyond the importance of just hearing and saying good things to ourselves, language has the ability to actually shift our character and experiences.
When we think about transforming an aspect of our lives, we often focus on what we are doing and want to stop. Now remember from the last post, it’s important to turn your attention away from “stop behaviors” and towards those you want to “start.” This week, we go a bit deeper and consider that the true place to begin transformation is by noticing what we say and shifting our language. We need to start new habits around what we say – as opposed to focusing on what we do.
It doesn’t take long for us to identify the negative words we are saying about ourselves or others. Just record yourself talking for 10 minutes and you’ll have plenty of content to work with! Once you identify these patterns of negative speech – how do you then challenge and transform these patterns?
By practicing right speech!
So now, it’s time to check in on what you’ve been declaring about who you are! Take some time to answer this question:
What have I been saying about myself? What negative statements do I make about myself or others? For example, “I am worthless. I am incompetent. I am never going to succeed. I can’t trust anyone.”
Now, on a notecard, write down what it is you’d like to know and believe about others or who you are. Read this card out loud to yourself every day (carry it with you, glance at it often). For example, “I am valuable. I am capable. I am enjoying life. There are people who can be trusted.”
Just a reminder here: I’m not interested in you just feeling good about yourself or having warm, fuzzy feelings. I’m interested in you wielding the power of language to actually shift your character and beliefs about who you are, so that you can live a powerful life free from the negative statements that hold you back.
Oh, and just in case you don’t believe me, check out this video and take a few notes from this little girl – she’s in the know!
…and check back next week – I’ll be talking about the next step in transforming your experience – right mindfulness!
If you’d like some support in identifying your negative statements and creating a plan to challenge them, I encourage you to schedule a free 30 minute Discovery Session so you can learn more about how coaching can support you.
P.S. I'm still running my "4 Free Sessions" deal for all new clients. If we decide to work together, your first four sessions are free - no strings attached!
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