Don’t swear. Don’t be mean. Don’t get angry. Respect your elders.
When I was a little girl growing up on a (very!) Wisconsin dairy farm and in a (very!) Catholic family, we were reminded to “Watch your language.” In addition to those reminders from my parents, the message was passed from sibling to sibling starting with the firstborn, then the second, then the third… By the time it got to me, as lucky number seven, I heard:
“You are too little to swear, (but we are allowed).”
“No swearing (in front of Mom & Dad).”
And, of course:
“Respect your elders!” Which, of course, meant respect my siblings!
Good news! My mouth was never washed out with soap.
Years later, I have learned that “watching your language” means more than avoiding naughty words and what you say to others. It includes not only what you say to yourself, but it also it includes what you THINK to yourself, about yourself and others. In fact, what you think is likely to impact your future even more than what you say. Why? Because what we think cycles continuously through our minds.
THOUGHTS are THINGS!
Did you know that each and every day, we repeat 60-90% of the same thoughts we had yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that, and the … Well, you get it.
Our human brain has a special place to hold these thoughts: the subconscious. And our subconscious likes to remind us of what we already know to be true – whether IS OR IS NOT TRUE. You see, our truth is based on the experiences of our past, and every experience harnesses what we tell ourselves about that experience. We store both the facts and fiction.
Here’s an example: When I was little, I loved to sing. While riding in the car, seated between my mother and aunt on the front bench seat at age 6, I was singing to my heart’s content. I’m sure I was making up words and stringing them together, as I often did. Singing made me happy! Suddenly, my aunt said to my mother, “Does SHE ever stop singing?” You can imagine my heartbreak! I loved to sing, yet I stopped in that very moment and started to build my belief based on my feelings around that experience.
I was riding in a car I didn’t belong
With my mom and aunt Singing is bothersome
Singing makes me happy My singing is not happy
I love to sing I should not sing in the car or in front of others
My aunt asked a question (that triggered my unworthiness) I cannot sing
Wow, one simple comment had reared those nasty saboteurs. Situation after situation and experience after experience, these type of thoughts (that I, and you make up!) stockpile into beliefs. Our feelings create our thoughts. Our thoughts create our actions. Our actions create our results.
Feelings >>> Thoughts >>> Actions >>> Results
When our subconscious repeatedly reminds us of the thoughts we’ve made up, we continue to act from those thoughts. Those thoughts, whether constructive or destructive, REMIND us repeatedly of what becomes our truth.
Soon, we find ourselves thinking things like:
I’m not as good as (that other person).
I wish I was better at (fill in the blank).
No matter what I do, it’s never good enough.
Why can’t I get my act together?
I’m so lazy.
I’ll never get that promotion. (Why would anybody hire me?)
I call thoughts like these our Nagging Negative Notions. We all have them. It’s human nature. The good news is that today, we understand more about why we foster negative emotions (Fight or Flight - click to learn more), and we know that we can shift our thoughts and language to shift our mindset (neuroscience and Positive Psychology). We can choose our actions and our thoughts (Positive Intelligence - PQ).
What are your dominating thoughts? You know, the ones you repeat over and over again? The ones you tell yourself without even knowing you are telling yourself? Are they constructive or destructive?
When you are ready to learn more and PRACTICE strengthening your mental fitness, contact me to learn more about Be Positively YOU and the seven-week Positive Intelligence study that explains how our brains work and what we can do to reduce our nagging negative notions and live a happier and more fulfilling life.