DID YOU REALLY MEAN TO SAY THAT?
As I was doing a bit of research and reading, I came across something interesting. It reminded me of a workshop that I attended years ago that was to help us phrase things that we say to others in a more positive way. Not only does it help others, but more importantly, it helps us to be more positive in our thinking. It helps us feel more confident.
The article that caught my attention was by a brother and sister team of authors who wrote, You're Saying It Wrong." They have other books from the Best Seller Lists but this one put all of the phrases together and stated depending on how we phrase words will depend on what it is we want to accomplish. Reframing our thoughts will help to change our attitudes. Other behavioral scientists, researchers and psychologists agree. I know that in the past I have been guilty of saying each one of these statements and try to be more aware of how I phrase what I mean to say to others. Examples:
1. "I have to do that." Try changing one little word will turn what sounds like an obligation into an opportunity. Even if the task is unpleasant, it can teach new lessons and open doors. The word is changing have to, "I get to do that."
Thinking of how I sounded when I said that I HAVE to go to work today. By gosh, I should be thankful that I have work to go to so turning it around and saying that I get to go to work today helps me in my mind begin to see what I might be able to accomplish at my job for myself, as well as for others. In doing so, I was able to be able to turn a negative into a positive.
2. "I can't do that." That truly is admitting defeat before I even start. By turning it around and saying that I can try to do that sets the whole scenario into a chance to succeed at something that I did not think that I could do. Yet it does not set excessively high expectations. Trying to do something and failing the first time is not the end of the world. Try and try again. I always told my own children, as well as the children that I taught that I would not accept the words I CAN'T before you even try.
3. "SHOULD" is most definitely a controlling word. Pressure is there. Getting myself back in control by stating, "I will do that," instead of I should do that" makes me the decision-maker by choosing whether or not to do something on my own terms.
4. How many times have I asked myself, "Why is this happening to me?" That is a complainer's way of talking. Instead, find the good in what is a difficult situation by asking myself, "What am I learning from this?" It can help lead me to better things and I don't sound like a whiner.
5. "I never should have," can be easily be changed to, "Because I did that, I now know (xyz)." Simply rephrasing this thought can help make me see and think about the good things that happened because I did something that I thought perhaps I shouldn't have. Possibly, it helped me discover something wonderful or someone wonderful?
6. "This attempt did not work," sounds much more positive than, "I failed!" Maybe something I tried did not work the way I thought it would but if I phrase it as, I failed then that is the end of my story. I am being unfair to myself and forgetting that there will be other opportunities.
7. "If only I had done x,y,z." Instead simply say nothing at all. There will always be our if only moments in life. It is truly a dead-end way of thinking and no one learns from the past if you dwell on if onlys.
8. Students, as well as adults in their jobs will say, "This is too complicated." Doesn't it sound more positive to say that I don't understand this right now. If I am facing a new challenge and start off by stating that it is too complicated then I will never get my mind around the new way of thinking. We all are works in progress. By stating it is too complicated I am making it sound like there is no way I can win.
9. How many times have we heard ourselves, as well as others say, "It is not fair." My mother and many teachers would say, "Life is not fair!" So my take on this is I can deal with it anyway. Life is unfair at times but it does not mean that I need to keep repeating this negative mantra to myself and feel beaten down. Instead, find solutions and answers to what will get me where I want to be.
10. "It's never going to change or I can change the way I approach this." Which sounds more active rather than passive. It puts me in charge.
11. "Never or Always!" It is best, in my opinion, to avoid absolutes altogether. I'll never do such and such. You probably are right. Not with that attitude. Or I always get overlooked. Hmmm, wonder why? Life is not always black and white. Be objective!
It is those little voices in our heads that weigh in on everything we say and do. It can make us feel less capable and we will not accomplish what we want.
As Kathy and Ross Petras wrote:
"It helps to reframe our thoughts and change our attitudes by thinking and speaking more positively."
My perspective is to change my latitude of my mood elevator by changing my attitude toward my thinking. Jimmy Buffett had it right all along!