Friday, 23 April 2010

Self Fulfillling Prophesies - Make Yours Good Ones

We hardly ever apply logic or rational thought to the negative words we adopt to describe ourselves, or the negative things we think when we’re faced with particular situations or people, or have to learn something new. I know I never used to. My own particular negative nugget was 'I'm bound to make a mistake'. Guess what happened...

Anyway, I don't want you falling into the same dark hole, so I'm listing a few of things that I often hear people say about themselves. They don't make cheerful reading, but they illustrate the point I'm trying to make - and that is that we often think damaging things about ourselves that are wrong, irrational, illogical or past their sell-by date.

I want you to think when you read the list. I also want you to apply logic and try to refute each statement as you go along, and to try to stand outside yourself and imagine what advice you would give to someone who made any of these statements to you.

OK? Here's the list:

  • I feel inferior to other people who are better off/better educated/better looking than I am.
  • I have negative beliefs about myself and my own abilities.
  • Although I realise that the negative beliefs I hold about myself influence my current conduct, I remind myself of them every day.
  • I make negative statements and self-deprecating remarks about myself in every­day conversation.
  • When I was younger members of my family or peer group made negative remarks to or about me. I remember them and still believe them to be true.
  • When I get negative feedback from people close to me I take it personally and believe it to be true even though I know, logically, that it is not.
  • I have a negative self-image about my body/looks/background/social skills that influences the way I present myself to other people.
  • I always believe negative assessments of my competency, skills, ability, knowledge, intelligence, creativity, or common sense to be true.
  • I feel negative about my future prospects of success and lack the motivation to make the effort to achieve my goals.
  • I feel angry, resentful or hostile toward others for real or imagined mistreatment.
  • I dread the future. I don’t believe that I have what it takes to be successful.
  • I have made mistakes in the past and feel sure that I will make mistakes in the future.

    Do you really believe that’s its logical to feel inferior to another person just because that person is better off, better educated or better looking than you are?

    Do you sincerely think that it's rational for a person to make negative statements about him or herself to other people, or make negative assessments to themselves about their own abilities?

    Do you honestly consider that people always tell the truth about other people, or do you believe that some people sometimes have a personal agenda that makes it politic to denigrate other people?

    Do you think it wise for a person to base his or her view of themselves on what people said to, or about, them years ago?

    Do you really think it’s a good idea for people to keep reminding themselves of their personal negative beliefs about their own background, abilities, etc?

    Do you consider that people who don't believe in themselves and lack motivation to pursue their goals can make a success of their lives?

    No? Me neither. But I do sincerely believe, think, and consider that negative thoughts and beliefs can become self-fulfilling prophesies.

    Many of the things we think or believe about ourselves are wrong, illogical, irrational, or distorted. Most of those thoughts or beliefs are rooted in the past, but things that happened in the past, however painful and damaging to the self-confidence, have little or no relevance to the present.

    I've a great belief that if there's a monster in your closet then the best thing to do is to haul it out, and shine a strong rational, logical, and realistic light on it, because that's the only way to see the monster as it really is - a scrawny little creep that's trying to ruin your life.

    If you make negative statements about yourself that you apply to yourself - write them out on a piece of paper, and treat them exactly as you treated the statements I've written here. Stand outside yourself, apply logic, try to refute the statement, and try to give yourself some good, impersonal advice. You might also ask yourself a couple of questions: like “What does it matter to me now? or "Why does it bother me so much?" and write out the answers to those questions, too.

    All part of making your self-fulfilling prophesies good ones...

    Emily -
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