“Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true.” ~ Brian Tracy
One of the themes, if you want to call it a theme, that seems to be reoccurring as I’ve been searching for ways to improve my life over the past few years has been the importance of the things that we say to ourselves. In particular, the things that we say after the words “I am” stick to us like glue. It doesn’t take long until we believe them.
A few years back I went to a holistic health conference. One of the sessions I went to was called “I am” and was taught by the fabulous Kristen Bowen of Living the Good Life Naturally. In the session we talked about personal declarations and we practiced being able to say things out loud that were positive affirmations of who we are and what we want for our lives. I remember going through that exercise and following Kristen’s instructions to think back to the person we wanted to be when we were children and to write those characteristics on a piece of paper. Imagining myself at 8 or 10 years of age and writing my desired traits down from that perspective was easy.
The next thing we were asked to do was hard. Our next challenge was to convert those characteristics into statements that started with the phrase, “I am.” So, if as a child you wanted to be brave and conquer the world, your statement might read, “I am brave!” or “I am courageous!”
We were then asked to put our right hand over our heart to help us anchor those statements as we said them out loud. That was difficult. It wasn’t easy to put my hand over my heart and speak words that I didn’t necessarily believe to be true about current-day me. Especially because I wanted to believe them so much. It was clear that I wasn’t the only one in the room with that reaction. One of the gals got up in front of the group to demonstrate how it was to be done. She was struggling in much the same way. Kristen then said that if she couldn’t authentically connect with the statement to include the word “capable”. I am “capable” of being fearless.” I am “capable” of having great courage.
Wow! It was so moving to me that adding that one modifier could make a statement that seemed like such a bald faced lie believable. That one additional word allowed me to access belief in myself and tie those desired characteristics to the statements I wanted to believe about myself. It was a small miracle.
I was at a personal development seminar recently. One of the keynote speakers was Sagi Kalev of Body Beast and Hammer & Chisel fame. He said something that stood out to me. He said, “Whatever you say after the words, ‘I am’ will find you.” And I was instantly reminded of the lesson I described above that I initially learned from my friend Kristen.
It has taken me many years to really believe that what I say to myself and about myself has a real and lasting impact on who I become. To recognize that saying, “I suck!” probably isn’t the best way to be all that I can be. It seems silly to think I need to remind myself daily of my good qualities but after a lot of years of stating all of my faults and less attractive qualities out loud to myself as though they are the absolute truth, I need a frequent and consistent reminder of the important truths and the things I desire for my life.
Back in November I went to a workshop put on by 3 Key Elements called Master Your Influence. This very theme was reinforced at that seminar. There we learned the importance of having good, positive body language to back up what you say and we got direction on how to build our own affirmations and how to make them meaningful. I’ve been working on getting meaningful affirmations in place and practicing the appropriate body language to back it up.
Even though it has taken quite a while and is definitely still a work in progress, I am happy to report that they are right. What we say about ourselves, and especially what we say after the words “I am.” Whether we want to admit it or not, we believe what we say, especially when we say it about ourselves.
I challenge each of you to watch your language for just one day and catch any times that you find yourself saying something negative about yourself. Then, formulate a strategy for replacing those negative pieces of self-talk with positive and purposeful affirmations (and let me know how you progress). You are awesome and you are worthy of living the life you dream.