Have you ever had negative beliefs about yourself? Since we’re all human, it’s a certainty that this has happened at some point. When you’ve experienced those times of negativity, did you ever spend time in self-reflection to discover how they got there in the first place?
We all have beliefs about who we are and what we are like. However, we were not born with these beliefs, so how did we get them? Well, one of the most common ways is by what we are told about ourselves. This has been ongoing since we were children.
Primarily influential adults such as parents and teachers have been giving advice and counsel to us for years. In time, similar messages are received from friends, colleagues and acquaintances. These messages can be verbal or nonverbal, and for our own sanity, it is important that they match.
In other words, if our parents or other influential people tell us, we are smart and funny, but they seldom laugh at our jokes or really listen to us, and they don't pay much positive attention to our accomplishments, we tend to give their actions more weight than their words.
It turns out, that weight, or sanction, is more important than spoken words. Why is that? It is not until we give sanction to someone else's message that we really take it in and make it a part of our self. This is not just a theory – numerous studies have proven this to be so.
If children are told they are “not very bright” and “won’t amount to anything” enough times, and are treated the same way, they will absorb those messages and give them sanction. They will come to believe themselves to be not very bright and, no matter what happens, won’t be successful. They will make this part of their self-image, and sure enough, they will come to believe what others have helped ‘plant’ in their heads.
Fortunately, once we are grown there are things we can do to deliberately change those parts of our self-image that are negative. There are many real-life examples of people successfully reversing the influence of negativity that has had on their lives, and, you can do it too!
Did you know that March is National Optimism Month in the U.S.? No time like the present to make a conscious effort to notice the negative - comments, thoughts, situations – then make a conscious effort to make a 180-degree turn to the positive, and not just in the U.S.
A noble goal for anytime, don't you think? Don’t you think it is time to start the reversal process? Let’s begin today and not wait for tomorrow.
Think about it…