As you know by now the words we use have power (find out more about that power here). The words we use daily have even more power as they can and do lead our days. They influence the way we think act and do. Therefore it is incredibly important to watch what you say. We have to watch what we say about ourselves, about life, basically every word we utter. What is the narrative that is being repeated constantly? Is it helping your life? It is time to dissect this and to make positive changes to eventually change your narrative.
1. Self Fulfilling Prophecy
Over the course of our life we have created certain catchphrases. Now don’t think of Joey on Friends but more along the lines of repeating something so often your closest people know it was you that said it. Catchphrases like ‘’I can never find a parking space’’, ‘’I am not good at math (this is one of mine)’’ or ‘’I always have bad luck’’. In psychology there is a theory that is called Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
‘’Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: when a person unknowingly causes a prediction to come true, due to the simple fact that he or she expects it to come true.’’*
In other words, for example, if you believe in your heart of hearts that you can never find a parking space be sure to know that you won’t. However the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy works in both ways, negative and positive. So instead of making the prophecy work against you how about making it work for you by saying, for example, ‘’I can always find a good parking spot’’? Think about certain catchphrases that you have tattooed on your brain and start making them work for you, don’t let them hold you back even if you have seen tangible proof. Remember words have power, use them to change your narrative for the better.
This is a way that you can make your Self-Fulfilling Prophecy work better and stronger by recognising it every time it becomes true. Thus, for example, when you find that amazing parking spot right in front of the entrance door celebrate in some way or form. I prefer to just tell myself ‘’I told you so!’’. Doing this will make your brain sensitive to the fact that it is true and you will start recalling the positive instances more than the negative. Also repeat your prophecy way more than you think is sane. This will help you to start believing it with every fiber of your body just like you believed the negative.
3. Rephrase your positive
It is perfectly normal to say positive things in a negative way. For example ‘’I will not fail my exam’’, ‘’I will not lose my keys’’ or ‘’I will not be late’’. In a way you are saying something positive, but you are being made aware of the negative which needs to be removed from the situation. There are ways to say the exact same thing without using the word ‘’not’’. Using the above examples; ‘’I will pass my exam’’, ‘’I always remember where I left my keys’’ or ‘’I am on time’’. You are saying the exact same thing the only difference is that you are now solely focussed on the positive, instead of also including the negative. It’s a fine but important line.
4. Never say anything you wish to not hear back
There are certain things we say about ourselves that when we hear them back it hurts, which mostly makes us think that the other person is rude, but stop and think about where they got the information from? We teach people how to treat us. This includes what is okay or not okay to say about you. This teaching starts with us, with what we say about ourselves. It is really simple, never say anything you do not wish for someone to bring back to you. When you do this, the door for others to call you those things remains shut, which is what you want and how you can change your narrative.
Obviously there are people who are just, you know, different and will still call you things you don’t wish to be called, it is then up to you to determine whether you still want this person in your life. That is a separate issue though. The issue at hand here is that you should always speak about yourself in a loving manner even when you have messed up. Never ever say anything that you do not want someone repeating. Lead by example.
I hope this helps to make your story of you filled with powerful positive words that change will eventually change your narrative.
*Definition found in Psychology by Marc Brysbaert.