I want to share with you how important it is what we say to ourselves. This can relate to two things. a) How we are potentially sabotaging ourselves b) What the underlying subconscious programmes are that we learnt a long time ago that are running the show.
A few years back I was in a completely different place to where I am now. I was in an abusive marriage and I was also stressed to the hilt in a job I didn’t enjoy. So I went to see a therapist. I was looking for direction and didn’t know which way to turn. At these times we can look everywhere outside of ourselves and I was hoping to get the answers elsewhere.
I had a big decision to make in terms of which way my life was going. I needed to take that first big leap into making changes. In the first session, I must have sat there for around two hours. I was in complete emotional turmoil. I felt as if I was at an all time low.
Towards the end of the session I was beginning to feel brighter and could see some potential light at the end of the what appeared to be long and dark tunnel.
I had however just walked out of a job I couldn’t handle any more due to the stresses and demands in addition to an awful marriage. It was 6pm on a Friday night and I had a decision to make. A big one that was to change the direction of my life forever.
As I was about to leave the session the therapist turned and said to me “There is one word you’ve said today about 20 times today Janine”. I couldn’t think for the life of my what it was, an unsavoury word to describe my husband perhaps?? I was racking my brains. He then continued “you keep saying the word ‘try’.” I couldn’t understand what he was getting at. He elaborated further.
He said, “if you keep saying the word try to yourself what does it mean?”. I stared at him blankly, still puzzled. He went on to explain. “If we decided to meet for a coffee tomorrow night at 6pm, something which you were keen to arrange…then if I said to you, oh i will try and get there if I can, then what does that say to you? …as opposed to, I will be there for 6pm tomorrow night, I’ll look forward to seeing you then”
It began to resonant with me what point this wonderful man was attempted to explain. “If we say we are going to try and do something, what does it really mean? It really means we are going to be late at best, or something else more important might come up. Whereas if we say we are going to do something, without the word ‘try’ in there, it is most likely we will follow through with this decision”.
It was as if a lightbulb had gone off in my head.
The point the therapist was making was that this is two fold. If we are telling ourselves something such as I will ‘try’, then this potentially gives ourselves an excuse to get out of whatever we need to (essentially to keep ourselves safe and to not push us out of our comfort zones). What it also does is allows us to recognise what underlying subconscious patterns are running below the surface that perhaps aren’t serving us any more.
So the session was drawing to a close and I was about to leave. “So what are your plans now?” the therapist enquired. At this point it was 6pm on a Friday night. I had just walked out of a stressful job I no longer wanted to be in, and I had big decisions to make about this awful marriage I was still stuck in. On the Monday morning I could do what was required of me in order to put in motion what I needed to. So I replied “well I’m going to relax over the weekend and not do too much (I was physically, psychologically and emotionally exhausted) and then on Monday i’m going to tr……” as the word try automatically nearly fell out of my mouth! The therapist looked at me with an almighty, knowing and friendly stare. As he did I quickly corrected myself. I then said “On Monday I’m going to….” And that was it there and then. I had agreed to make this decision both to myself and what I felt was with my therapists approval.
I firmly believe if I had not been pulled up on that word that day, if I had not had this awareness raised on what I was constantly telling myself, I wouldn’t have carried through with the life changing decision I would have made on the Monday morning. Instead, it would have been highly likely that I would have returned back to my old life and old ways. One which wasn’t getting me anywhere. It also made me realise what I had been telling myself for many years, I will try and do this and try and do that, thus giving myself a cop out or an excuse to not do something.
So notice what you say to yourself. Are there words you use that allow you to get out of making decisions? Are there words or language you will use that relates to underlying subconscious patterns or beliefs that keep you stuck or that sabotage you in some way? Can this potentially stop you from allowing you to achieve the full success and potential you deserve?
Just spend some time noticing what you say to yourself, and bring this up to conscious awareness. If you are hiding behind certain words, then do something today to push yourself out of your comfort zone, you’d be surprised how easy it actually is to achieve once you’ve faced what you need to, done it and felt amazing as a result!
I will go more into my life changing decisions in another blog. But I will say this, back then I ended up creating the opportunity for myself whereby I travelled around Vietnam for 3 weeks as a solo traveller. This was the very following week. It was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. I walked back into my life and didn’t look back from then onwards. I continued to see my therapist and began to learn some life changing tools. Tools and techniques that would shape and change my life in amazing ways. More to follow in future blogs!
Until then, see you next time.
Janine Mitchell is the founder of Change for Success. Please contact her for below for any further details about how you can work with her either as a private client or at a corporate event.