A teenager in my life had a tendency to tear people down after a conflict with them. Their words hurt, so this teenager would respond in kind, and criticize and/or belittle these people in an effort to make them appear less and him more. In an effort to discourage his behavior, I inquired, “Wouldn’t it be better to rise above than tear down?” I believed rising above would help his self-image and self-talk (thinking) so much more.
Let me explain. If the teenager and the other person were both on a scale of 1-10 and the other person was above the teenager, pulling the other person down only changed the other person’s location on the scale. It did not change the teenager’s. He was still in the same place. In other words, instead of trying to change the other person (which you don’t really have the power to do), why not focus on the one person you can change—yourself? And not just with words, change yourself by changing your thinking.
Many people, myself included, fall prey to talking rather than doing because talking is easier. Like water, we follow the path of least resistance. Unfortunately, the path of least resistance rarely creates a life we love. To do that, we are going to have to work beginning with working on ourselves.
That’s right! Many of us don’t have the lives we want not because we won’t work in general, but because we don’t want to work on ourselves. For instance, we will work long hours. However, if our dream life includes owning our own business, we won’t step out on faith and work long hours for ourselves. Taking that step requires we grow—in our faith, our view of God, and our view of ourselves. In other words, we have to change our self-talk (Romans 12:2).
We will never have what we want until we become the kind of people who have the things we want. This is not just limited to having your own business. Whatever it is that we want, we have to become the kind of people who have that to get it. If you are a young woman hoping to become a wife, then you have to be wife material. Our thinking has to line up with our dream for it to become a reality.
Three Tools for Changing Our Thinking
- Affirmations – Affirmations are statements about your life or how you would like your life to be. By repeating these statements aloud regularly, affirmations become convictions that change what we believe about ourselves, and impacts who we become and what we can acquire.
My personal vision statement is comprised of several affirmations that I state regularly about myself. By the way, a personal vision statement is another helpful tool in creating a life you love by helping you envision your destination. You need to know where you want to go to chart a map.
Having a picture of my final destination has allowed me to see where my current thinking does not line up with my destination. Paying attention to my thoughts allows me to evaluate them and create affirmations to counteract any I don’t want to have.
So, if your desire is to lose weight, but your self-talk is telling you it is okay to eat dessert every night, an affirmation that might work for you could be “I do not overeat, nor do I overindulge on desserts. Instead, I eat a balanced diet full of nutrition-rich foods.” Such an affirmation would facilitate you reaching your final destination of weighing less.
- Meditation – Meditation is focused thinking. With an affirmation, you make a statement. Think about it at that time, then move on. However, meditation requires you to park on that thought for a period of time. While parked, you mull the thought over in your mind.
Though I meditate on more than affirmations including Scripture and motivational quotes, I often use affirmations and meditation in tandem. I will read through all of my affirmations, and then mull them over more slowly one at a time. My meditations are more a conversation in my mind about the thought or thoughts. As such, I allow myself more freedom when meditating than when reciting affirmations. Consequently, I don’t know where my meditations will lead. Also, when I am short on time, I will focus on just one thought.
For me, meditating is invaluable. During meditation is when I learn about myself and how I relate to certain thoughts. Focusing on the affirmations solidifies them in my mind and incorporates them into my overall self-talk. Furthermore, it is while meditating that I devise new affirmations and ways of thinking.
- Visualization – Visualization is a powerful tool, almost as powerful as doing it. Studies have shown that imagining something activates the same parts of the brain as those activated when actually performing the task. It is as if your brain is preparing itself to succeed.
So, if your thinking has you struggling with realizing a goal, imagine yourself doing it. It is another step in believing you can. Because it activates the same parts of the brain, seeing yourself performing the task reinforces in your mind that you can actually do it.
Many people daydream as a form of mental escape. I don’t discourage that. I just want you to know that the same visualization you are using to escape is also a technique to create a life you love. The more positive you create; the less negative you have to escape.
These techniques are tools I am using to change how I think, so you can become who I need to be to have the life I want to live.
Until next time,
Questions: Have you been tearing down or rising above? What thoughts do you need to change to begin rising above? How will you use affirmations, meditations, and visualization to realize your dream? Please respond by clicking on the Comment, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and/or Pinterest buttons below.