There is an interesting Cherokee Story that has been passed down through the Native American tribes for generations. The story goes, a Grandfather was teaching his grandson about making choices. He explains that within every person there are two wolves in a constant battle.
The grey Wolf is full of jealousy, anger, regret, arrogance, courage, pride and fear, while the White Wolf is full of hope, peace, happiness, love, truth and faith. The young boy thinks for a minute or two and then asks, “But grandpa, who wins?” To which the wise grandfather replies, “The one you feed.”
We all have a choice, we all determine our future. Our destiny is in our control. It’s up to each one of us to feed our courage and commitment, our hope and happiness. It is up to us to feed our minds everything it needs to achieve success and contentment in life.
In a sense, each one of us is essentially self-made. The person you are may have been determined originally by your family and childhood experiences, but the person you could be is completely under your control. A famous motivational speaker, Earl Nightingale says this, “You become what you think about most of the time,”
All that you are and everything you will be is determined by what you think. And you can take complete control of those thoughts at any time you decide to. As psychologist, Dr Magdalena Battles says, “You live the words you tell yourself in your mind.”
Self-talk is the act of talking to yourself either aloud or mentally. These are the messages that you are telling yourself all day long about yourself. The messages will either be positive and will encourage and motivate you, or they will be negative and discourage and limit you.
These self-talk messages determine whether you should keep trying or not. The messages that you send yourself can either help you succeed, or they can hold you back and keep you paralyzed in fear.
You become an optimist by taking control of your inner self-talk. By developing the habit of talking to yourself in a positive way. By saying to yourself, “I like myself!” or “I can do it!” If someone asks you how you’re feeling today, always reply “I feel terrific!” When you think about your job, say to yourself “I love my work!”
Most psychologists agree that 95% of your emotions are determined by your thoughts, mental images and the words you say to yourself as you go through your day. You can use your self-discipline and self-control to think and talk about the positive things and goals you want, rather than allowing your thoughts to be overcome by doubt and fear.
If you combine positive self-talk with positive images, you will create clear mental pictures of your goals and desires as if they already existed. This will shape your self-image, your thoughts and words, make you more optimistic, give you more energy, enable you to bounce back faster from disappointment and keep you moving forward throughout the day.
Here are a few tips to guide us all to have positive self-talk:
1. Have a Faith in God who created you
2. Try to Surround yourself with positive people
3. Be Grateful, it will change your attitude
4. Live your life and don’t compare yourself to others
5. Use Positive Words of affirmation
6. Believe in your own abilities and skills to succeed
7. Don’t let Fear of Failure hold you back
8. Replace Negative Thoughts with Positive Ones
9. Visualize Your Success, Set goals
10. Listen to Media that is positive and uplifting
11. Smile and Help Others
12. Be Physically Active
So, you see, if we just followed these few suggestions it may just change our lives. Self-talk is a huge part of our self-esteem, confidence and success. Now, let’s also have a practical look at how we can replace some common negative self-talk with more positive self-talk. You might be used to saying.
I’ve never done this before. INSTEAD say, It’s an opportunity to learn something new.
It’s too hard and complicated. INSTEAD say, I’ll tackle it from a different angle.
I don’t have the resources. INSTEAD say, Necessity is the mother of invention.
I don’t have the time. INSTEAD say, I could change my schedule to fit it in.
There’s no way that will work. INSTEAD say, I can try to make it work.
No one calls me. INSTEAD say, I’ll see if I can contact them.
I’m not going to be any good at this. INSTEAD say, I’ll give it another try.
The Bible also gives some guidelines on self-talk and how powerful our thoughts can be. You will find it in Proverbs 23:7.
‘As someone thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7
Our mind is our most important and precious asset. Not only do you become what you think about, but you also become what you feed into your mind on a regular basis. If you want to be positive, optimistic and happy, then we need to feed our minds with positive books, articles and podcasts, positive discussions and conversations with other optimistic, goal-oriented people who are going somewhere with their lives.
You can find more suggestions on what to allow into your mind in the Bible in Philippians 4:8. It says,
Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
These words were written over 2000 years ago, and it’s still relevant today. If we follow this advice on what to allow into our minds, we will see the world differently. It will determine our thoughts, our focus and our goals. Positive self-talk can determine your success.