We all speak negatively to ourselves and others from time to time. The problem is that during the process we end up doing a lot of damage that can take a really long time to reverse.
Negative speech can have more of an affect on people than we notice, and negative self-talk can have a big affect on our self perception. There is a saying I heard a few years ago that said for every negative thing we are told about ourselves we need fifteen positive ones to reverse the damage.
A few years ago when I was facing depression I remembering saying things to myself such as ‘What’s the point? You’ll never get there’ and ‘I’m depressed’ which made me feel worse. The more I repeated these statements, the worse I felt and the unhealthier I became. It took a long time to curb this habit and to restore my self-esteem… but it has been worthwhile changing the behaviour.
Words are truly powerful things. By beginning to focus on changing our speech we can begin to change our results in life.
Today we are going to try a simple exercise that is a modification of something Tim Ferriss suggested on his blog as part of a 30 day no-complaint experiment. Find a rubber band, bracelet or something else to put around one of your wrists. Every time you find yourself swearing, gossiping about someone, telling yourself you are unworthy or thinking something can’t be done, swap the bracelet from one side to the other.
By swapping the rubber band, bracelet, etc. from one hand to the other you are making yourself aware of what you are saying. From there, you can begin to take action and begin to replace negative talk with positive speech. for today however, the main thing is to begin to develop an awareness of any negative talk you use. Chances are (if you are like me) you will use more than you initially expected.
- Acknowledge that words are powerful things.
- Realise the effect your words can have on yourself or others.
- Use a bracelet, rubber band, etc. as mentioned above to become aware of your negative speech.
- Begin to replace negative speech with positive speech over time.
- Alternatively, make a commitment to improve one area of speech. Give up swearing, gossiping, etc.
- Tell a friend about your commitment and get them to keep you accountable.