May 21, 2024

Opinion: Your words matter

By Bryan Golden

You are usually conscious of what you say to others. The things you say are based on what you want to achieve. You know from experience that the words you chose have a big impact. When you use the wrong words, the reaction of others is not what you intended.

What you say to yourself is just as important as what you say to others. Yet, too many people are not fully aware of the impact their self-talk has on their own wellbeing. Your words to yourself program your mind.

Your mind follows whatever commands you provide. It doesn’t question the directives it receives. It dutifully obeys whatever it is told to do. Your attitude, your actions, the way you feel, your perception, and your outlook, are all impacted by your words.

You talk to yourself constantly. Too often you say negative things. You find fault with yourself. You put yourself down. You diminish your accomplishments. You focus on what you feel you can’t do. You tell yourself how many things are impossible. You justify failures with a never-ending string of excuses.

If there are areas of your life you want to improve, you must begin by changing what you tell yourself. Your self-talk changes your thoughts. Nothing in your life changes until your thoughts change.

There are various flawed strategies which people employ instead of striving to say the right words to themselves. For example, waiting for conditions to improve leaves you waiting a long time. Rather than passively waiting for things to change, you have to make things change.

Hoping for circumstances to change is also ineffective. Although there is nothing wrong with hope, it must be combined with action in order to have a positive impact.

Blaming others for your situation puts your fate in someone else’s hands. You are responsible for your life. Although you can’t control the actions of others, you do control your thoughts, emotions, and responses.

Doing the same things over and over, while expecting a different result, is one definition of insanity. In order to alter your results, you must change what you are doing. Remember, there is always a cause-and-effect relationship between what you do, and the results you obtain.

Don’t justify negative self-talk as being realistic. This is another excuse. While you are figuring out reasons for not succeeding, others are doing exactly what you claim is unrealistic.

You can make self-talk a powerful, positive tool which propels you towards your goals. Here are some steps to guide you through this process. Begin with a constant awareness of the words you use when speaking to yourself. Each negative word must be replaced with a positive one.

You want a zero-tolerance policy for negative self-talk. There is no room for any discouraging words. Each negative word, or phrase, has a corresponding positive one. You must fill your mind with positive instructions.

Use the same approach which works when taking a vacation. Start by selecting a destination. Next, figure out how to get there. The way you accomplish any goal is to start with positive self-talk. You tell yourself all of the reasons you can, should, and will succeed. You tell yourself all of the benefits of reaching your goal. You tell yourself how you will feel once you have arrived at your destination.

Clearly, the words used when speaking to yourself matter. They are the difference between success and failure. They lead to happiness or produce frustration. Since you have total control over which words you use, choose only words which lead to positive outcomes.

Contact Bryan Golden at Bryan@columnist.com