Listen to your words Conscious Listening

Hello everyone, thank you for stopping by. As ever, hoping to raise a smile, make you think or prompt you into making that change that up until now has only been in your dreams.

In all my years of working with people as a helping professional, I have found that there is one thing that they are all really good at and that is beating themselves up. I’ve seen the single mom doing the very best she can but beating herself up because, at times with the pressures of 3 kids and a full-time job, she just feels overwhelmed. I’ve seen children beating themselves up because, in some way, they feel they are not living up to the expectations of their parents. I’ve also seen a widow who has been doing a sterling job going forward with her life but regularly beating herself up for showing her true feelings and feeling guilty that she is the one still here. I could name a host of others. From time to time we are all at it in some form, this business of putting ourselves down. Just listen to the words you’re using in yourself -talk and the words you are using to describe your situation to others. There is much written about the power of positive thinking and I understand it’s not always easy to remain upbeat. Many people don’t even realize, however, that their everyday words are pretty negative. Starting to really listen to the words that you are using is a huge positive step forward and can make an amazing difference to your life.

Someone once said you should never say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to another person. That is really good advice I think. You see what you say to yourself and the words you use to describe yourself to others really does matter. These words have far more power than we can ever imagine. We throw them around often, with little thought as to their effects on ourselves and others. We need to be especially careful of our words around children. It can be difficult to assess how much they understand and internalize what is said. We then wonder why they appear withdrawn or lacking in confidence. A number of years ago I met a 13-year-old boy who was still finding reading a challenge. All he wanted to know was if he had ‘that disease’ he’d been hearing about. Thankfully I was able to explain that dyslexia was not a disease and he was not in fact dyslexic. I will never forget the relief on that boy’s face. His whole demeanor changed and I swear he looked two inches taller leaving the room. I suspect a combination of some good old fashioned structured teaching and his renewed confidence would have propelled his reading skills forward.

Conscious Listening

When I begin working with a new client, I am always interested to hear the words they use to describe themselves and their particular situation. So often, we can have a negative record track spinning away over and over in our heads. On and on it goes, grating and scratching relentlessly, like an old gramophone record with the needle stuck in a groove. Your own personal turntable, continuously going round and round feeding you that same negative message day after day. Some of these negative tracks have been spinning so long we’ve actually internalized them, believed them and they have become part of who we are. Think about it. What’s your inner dialogue saying? Are you being worn down by the negative track or are you driving along in the positive lane?

We have many teachers in our lives. Each one appearing just at the right time when we are at a stage in our development when we are ready to learn and understand. A few years ago I was blessed to see the highly inspirational Wayne Dyer live on stage in Austin Texas. He delivered a powerful keynote speech that I don’t think I will ever forget. The subject of his lecture was the power of ‘I am’. Those two simple words we continually use day after day. I don’t think I have ever had an hour pass so quickly as the hour I sat and listened to that great man. His words struck a chord within me. You know that point where you start making connections and something that has eluded you, just suddenly makes sense. I got to thinking of all the times we use those two little words, ‘I am’. We use them continually for the different roles we have in our lives, I am a life coach, I am a wife, I am a mother, I am a dog owner. The words ‘I am’ in these scenarios, categorize and label us. These labels can put us in identifiable little pigeon holes that often then determine how people will treat us and relate to us.

We have to be mindful that a whole host of words can get tagged on to the, ‘I am’ and some of them may not be particularly beneficial for us. We’ve probably all met the lady who in her late 60s started to regularly trot out the phrase I am old so what can you expect? She seems to have looked old and been frail forever and now in her late 80s is still reinforcing her frailty message. Contrast this with others who have been through some serious health issues, but refuse to give into dark thoughts and you’ll regularly hear them saying, I am getting a little stronger every day. I am grateful I’m being well looked after. Others too have overcome serious issues and are living their lives to the full, making every minute matter and joyfully embracing new experiences. What you say with those two little words becomes almost like a self -fulfilling prophecy as you create your own world. I am too old to travel. Who says? Who has the final word? You. Those two little words ‘I am’, have the power to uplift us or condemn us. Words are powerful. They can turn a difficult day into a great day. Say you’re sick and tired often enough and what happens? You’re likely to start feeling it.

I appreciate that at times there are things going on in our lives that would be overwhelming for the best of us. I guess we all have our different ways of coping. Some people, become consumed by negative thoughts and are overcome with feelings of hopelessness, just as if they’re being sucked down into a big black negative hole, from which they feel there’s no escape. For others there’s strong faith and hope, acting like a cushion raising them up. Their own attitude supporting them and helping them on dark days. Their sheer determination to find a glimmer of something positive, that’s just enough to keep their heads above water. When faced with challenging situations, our own imagination of what is or might be is often at the root of our problems, continually being reinforced by the stories we have told ourselves. These self-made stories are often much worse than the situations we are actually trying to resolve.

I have long thought when the negative senseless chatter intervenes, it is imperative we find a way to at least stem the flow, if not stop it completely in its tracks. I’m sure we could all find a phrase or words that would be meaningful for us in this situation. The challenge I guess is to recognize the negative chatter in the first place. My personal favorite phrase for zapping the negativity is Control -Alt Delete. Just as keying this sequence makes things disappear on the computer screen, it can also be a wonderful strategy for interrupting and erasing the negative self -talk. If you can’t replace the negative thought with something positive, replace it at least with something encouraging. ‘I am doing the best that I can’ is a good one. ‘Every day I am getting a little bit stronger’ is another. It’s amazing how freeing your mind of the negative chatter and feeding it more encouraging words can literally change your attitude, your demeanor and ultimately your whole world. I leave you with this thought: Listen to your own words. Refuse to be a prisoner of your own negative thoughts. Power up, change the script and change your world.

Peace and Prosperity to you all.

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