Be Your Own Cheerleader!
By Marian Meade, RN, BScN, Registered Psychotherapist, Serenity Renewal for Families
Have you ever wanted to try something new but just couldn’t go through with it? Or perhaps you did, but you white knuckled it the entire way?
Well, it turns out that all humans resist change. Mark Twain said that the only people who like change are people with wet pants! It feels much safer to stay in your comfort zone, rather than face new challenges. The problem with that, as Philosopher Khalil Gibran pointed out, is that “the lust for comfort kills the passions of the soul.” In other words, life becomes predictable, boring and unsatisfying.
The good news is that we can train ourselves to feel more comfortable before taking action. The resistance we feel comes from the negative conversations we have with ourselves – more commonly known as negative self-talk. As humans, we are biologically wired to focus on the negative. Thoughts come in completely uncensored and are mostly negative, untrue and inherited. Some examples you may recognize include: I’m too old, I always fail, I’m not good enough, I’m unmotivated and I’m undeserving.
Our thoughts are so powerful that when repeated enough, they become beliefs and control us – whether we are aware of them or not. Our beliefs determine how we feel and what we think of ourselves. If I believe I am undeserving, I’m going to feel unworthy and I won’t ask for what I want.
What is the solution? Become really choosy about the thoughts you allow in. Remove your attention from thoughts that are unhelpful. Imagine them floating away like leaves down a stream and replace them with ones that support your goals. Helpful thoughts that you deliberately choose are also known as positive affirmations. Here are a few examples of self-talk that have been revised to work to your advantage: I’m smart enough rather than I always fail, I’m friendly rather than I’m shy and I’m good at following through on things rather than I always give up.
Practice saying a few positive affirmations several times per day. Commit to it, and you will begin to absorb your new belief and also recognize all the baseless, negative thoughts that try to creep into your head. You’ll know your new belief is beginning to stick when you automatically start doing the thing you wanted to do, without much effort and with limited discomfort.
Affirmations need to be positive, about you and said in the present tense as if they are already occurring. It’s important to remember that change won’t happen overnight. It takes deliberate, conscious effort to embrace new beliefs, but the rewards are worth it!
Marian Meade is a relationship and emotional fitness specialist for Serenity Renewal for Families, an Alta Vista Charity that assists individuals, couples and families affected by addiction and other impactful issues. To donate to families needing assistance, call 613-523-5143 or visit serenityrenewal.ca.