Aha! Parenting Blog

Practical solutions for real parenting problems

What to say when you talk to yourself

"Your success or failure in anything, large or small, will depend on your programming, what you accept from others and what you say when you talk to yourself...It makes no difference whether you believe it or not.  The brain simply believes what you tell it most." -- Richard Helmstetter, Ph.D.

“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”  -- Tom Robbins

Every day you have thousands of thoughts.  Researchers say that for the average person, 2/3 of those thoughts are negative:
“Not again!....I knew this wouldn’t work... I am so clumsy.... That was a dumb thing to do... Two steps forward, one step back...Can’t you do anything right?...You certainly screwed that up...We’ll never make it in time...I just can’t do this...I should do that...I wish I could do that....I'm such an idiot...”

Self-talk is powerful.   Our subconscious mind believes these comments, and we act accordingly.  Luckily, we can all retrain ourselves. Imagine if you had the perfect parent in your head, nurturing you through your day:

“Good try...Wouldn’t it be nice if this worked out?...It’s ok, don’t worry....You don’t have to be perfect...Nobody bats 1000....I love you just the way you are...Practice makes perfect...Just breathe....Don’t take it personally....You’re a good person and that’s what matters....It’s never too late to make things better....Every journey starts with the first step....You’re a hero for everything you do....Two steps forward, one step back still takes you to where you’re headed... I think I can...Sooner or later this will work out...You are more than enough!”

Each of us deserves a cheerleader to help us over life’s many hurdles. Who says we can’t be our own? In fact, who better? Research shows that happy people give themselves ongoing reassurance, acknowledgment, praise and pep talks. 

The minute you notice yourself saying anything negative, reframe it:

"I blew it!" becomes "Nobody's perfect."
"I'm so stupid."
becomes "Let's pay attention and try that again."
"I can't get through to that child!" becomes "The more I listen to her and connect, the more she listens to me."
"I'm just not good at that" becomes "Practice makes perfect."
"I wish I had more time!" becomes "I make time and I take time for what I need to do."
"This is impossible!" becomes "The impossible just takes a little longer.  What do I need to do to make this happen?"

Just come to your defense as your perfect parent would.  Really soak in that terrific parenting.  You deserve it. And notice how that self-nurturing rubs off on your kids.

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