A few years ago I wrote about how many messages we get everyday not-so-subtly telling us that there is some pill, some diet, some program, some magical thingy, that will allow us to lose weight, find love, de-clutter and save money. The sassy essay was so popular it became the title of my book.
But as I said then and I’ll say now, the key to making changes in your life is not in some external thingy — it’s a totally internal thingy. It’s you. When you like yourself and support yourself and do good things for yourself, you will be at the right weight, you will be in love, your clutter will be what you want it to be, and you will be financially healthy.
Easier said than done?
The key to liking yourself is in the words you use. Use the right words the right way and the world becomes your oyster. Unless you don’t like oysters, in which case, the world becomes your… playground. And if you don’t like playgrounds… well, what do you like?
And that’s precisely it. If you can be conscious of every time you say negative words, like “don’t”, “no”, “can’t”, “won’t”, and “shouldn’t”, you’ll see just how negative your self-talk is. Which may be just the thingy that’s holding you back.
To move forward, teach yourself — every single time you say a negative word — to immediately turn it around to something positive. So, “I don’t want to work for an ego-centric jerk” leads right into “but I do want to work for someone smart with a good sense of humor.”
Instead of focusing your energy on what you won’t do (negative), you are shifting to what you will do (positive). Which allows you to see possibilities rather than limits. Which makes happy instead of stuck. Which means that when we’re not blinded by negativity, we can open our eyes and see good things happen.
There’s another language tic that deserves shifting. It’s when we disassociate from ourselves by using the word “you”. As in when someone’s explaining their job and they say, “You want to do a good job and everything, but you’re concerned that you’ll get taken advantage of because the boss is a bully.”
You’ve heard this before. You’ve probably even said it yourself. More than once.
And maybe we human beings talk this way because what we’re saying is so close to our hearts. Or feels really emotional. So we get a little separation by using “you” rather than “I”. Or maybe we are trying to make some connection with the person we’re talking with, as in “Please tell me you’ve had this experience, too.” Or maybe we’re just so distant from our real selves that we can’t claim our individuality by using a singular pronoun.
Which is kind of sad.
But think about the power if you were to say, “I want to do a good job and everything, but I’m concerned that I’ll get taken advantage of because the boss is a bully.” Wow. Now you’re talking. Now you’re claiming. Now, rather than some vague “you”, it’s a specific “I”. It’s “me”.
And I count. And I matter. And I am claiming how I feel and what I know. And what I’m going to do now.
I know for a fact that when I took these two steps — stating positively what I will do, and using “I” rather than “you” to refer to myself — my life began to be my own. Things got easier. Life got better. On the Happiness Meter, I was often at 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. [OK, what’s a blog post without a Spinal Tap reference, I ask you?]
And the promise is there for you, too. Be conscious of where your language is negative and disassociated from the “I”, and shift it. I know you can do it. The world will be your oyster. Or your playground. It’s your choice.