Self-talk is by far the topic that is most often discussed in my treatment room. And typically, when the subject comes up, it’s about the things we say to ourselves, about ourselves. However, self-talk is actually a bit bigger than that. Here’s what I mean…
Let’s say that it’s Sunday night and you are getting ready for bed. You’re thinking about how your weekend was, what fun (or not so fun) things you got to do, and how tomorrow is Monday. And Monday means…work. And you say to yourself, “Ugh…I HAVE to go to work tomorrow.”
Well, that certainly doesn’t sound fun. I mean would you ever say, “I HAVE to go out with my friends to my favorite restaurant” or “I HAVE to go get the puppy (or kitty) that I’ve been waiting for”. My guess is probably not. Because using the phrase “have to” implies that you have no choice. It means that you feel as though you are being ordered to do something. Or maybe that you agreed to do something, even though you don’t really want to, and now you’re on the hook. It means that the thing is out of your control. And that feels yucky.
So what happens if instead of lying there in bed on Sunday night, thinking about how you HAVE to go to work, you reframe it into how you GET to go to work. That sounds way better, doesn’t it? The reason is because “getting” to do something implies that you have a choice. It means that you feel as though you are deciding to do something. Or maybe that you agreed to do something, even though you wanted to do it anyway, and now you’re on the hook and you are stoked. It means that the thing is totally in your control. And that feels empowering.
Language matters. Words matter. They matter to us. And they matter to those around us, be it in person, on a Zoom, or even playing a video game while on a headset. Although words may not always be the most effective way to communicate and truly are only a portion of how we communicate (body language, tone, etc. are super important), they are very meaningful and have numerous implications. And one change of a word, such as “have to” versus “get to”, or “my children” instead of “our children”, or maybe even adding or taking away a word, like saying “you’re a jerk” versus “you’re acting like a jerk” all have very different meanings.
So give it a try and see what happens. My guess is that as you work on reframing things into positives, it will be easier to see more positives and maybe even practice a bit more gratitude.
Because you, yes YOU deserve to see your life in a positive way. You, yes YOU deserve to mine your light.