There is a strong correlation between ones tendency to be negative or positive and their self-esteem. This is because the way you think about things, including yourself, has an incredible influence on how you see yourself. If you tend to be negativistic, and criticize yourself, look down on yourself, struggle with giving yourself credit, you may notice that your self-esteem reflects this type of thinking.
THE POWER OF YOUR PROGRAMMING
When you catch yourself repeating certain phrases or messages, especially over the years, this is your programming. Maybe it was what you used to tell yourself as a child, or in the past during a particularly difficult time. Maybe it’s a message your parents or other adults used to tell you during your formative years when your programming was likely to become more ingrained. Whatever the cause, programming is simply messages that you are used to telling yourself or hearing over time, and therefore thoughts or ideas that cross your mind (and your mouth) more often.
The problem with programming that is negative in nature is that often it is untrue, yet it can have an enormous impact on how you feel.
You may habitually tell yourself things such as “I am stupid,” “I’m a failure,” “I am ugly,” but simply because you tell yourself these things does not make them true. Instead, they feel true because these are the messages you are used to repeating.
And by no means are we suggesting you take a pollyanna approach and simply putt on your rose-colored glasses; such a strategy is not an effective way of dealing with reality (so we would never suggest that as being an ideal approach to take). Rather, we are suggesting you open your eyes to who you really are and strip away the judgment and criticism.
When you are overly critical of yourself, such as by being self-deprecating or describing yourself in ways that are not true, you are introducing unnecessary and unhelpful negativity in your life, and this matters because these thoughts have such a substantial influence on how you feel.
Just like last week we wrote about the power of words, the power of your thoughts (which can become your words), has an incredibly strong impact on how you feel, and behaviorally, what you do. It’s so important to limit negative self talk as when you don’t, you are essentially limiting yourself in much greater ways.
THE ANTIDOTE: OPEN-MINDEDNESS
If you are open minded, you are more likely to see things from a different perspective or different angle. The importance of this cannot be understated when it comes to thinking differently. Clients who experience the most difficulty in therapy, and the smallest amount of change, often are limited in how open-minded they are.
Open-mindedness is about being willing to see, think about, and view things differently.
Life is not as simple as looking at things from one perspective. Even in the worst of situations, there is something positive to be found and that can be focused on. It takes open-mindedness to take note of that positive aspect, and it takes willingness to focus on it. If you want to be less negative, you have to be more open-minded. You have to be open-minded to hearing and considering different perspectives, and open-minded to making the intentional choice where you focus your attention and thoughts.
WE CAN HELP
At Tampa Therapy, we are trained to identify and help you learn how to recognize negative thinking and negative self-talk that is more destructive than helpful. Most of the time, the negative thinking and negative self-talk that we as humans engage in is purposeless! However, it is easy to get in the habit of negativity and not even realize you are sending negative messages to yourself, and thinking about things in overly negative terms.
The team at Tampa Therapy is here to help you make self-improvements, such as learning about and changing negative thinking and negative self-talk. We would love to assist you on your journey to growth and healing. We are committed to providing a relaxing, healing, and non-judgmental environment to support you on your journey. If you want things to be different, you have to change them. Give us a call or email us today to start the process of making important changes in your life.