June 1, 2010
Expand Your PST
Your Positive Self-Talk
The more skilled you become at saying positive things to yourself, the more quickly you will join the ranks of those special individuals who are quite successful and feel good about life.
We Are Prone to Negative Self-talk
Humans tend to think more negatively than positively. Some of the reasons include how we were raised, our environment, our peer group. However, there is likely a biological basis for negative thinking, which is probably based on survival or self-preservation. It’s a good idea to think, “I probably am not able to outrun that bear, so I will stay a safe distance” or “I could get hurt or killed if I don’t wear my seatbelt….” We might also tend to have negative thoughts to avoid emotional pain such as shame and anxiety. Unfortunately this tendency can get out of hand when we get angry (“That person is a rotten S.O.B.”) or depressed (“This will never work….I’ll never amount to anything.”)
So we need to train ourselves to manage this mechanism of survival. Yet it is important to maintain realistic caution to some extent, so that we don’t do something foolishly dangerous or unnecessarily endanger our social status or job position by saying or doing something unacceptable, illegal, with careless attention to the social environment in which we move.
Your Best Coach
A great majority of us have not been trained or coached to have a positive attitude, say positive things to ourselves, and generally maintain a bright outlook on ourselves, others, and the world. On the contrary, most of us have learned, at least some of the time, to get discouraged, feel helpless, get nervous and worried, and become frustrated and angry, This is mostly fueled by negative self-talk. When you learn to think and talk more positively to yourself—as well to other people—you become your “own best coach,” the person who roots for you without condition and at all times.
Ways to Expand Your PST
We are using “self” as the object of this PST, but you can certainly use them with other people. Adding to some of the methods previously discussed, and just looking at it from another angle, we can include some of the following:
- Cheers (to self). “Nice going Dave! Great job!” And, “Ok, good start. That’s the way! Keep it up!”
- Correction. You positively say, “Alright. You messed that up, but let’s see what you can do…Alright, not so good, so let’s get back on track.”
- Compliments. “You know Bern, you did some really good work with Janet” (your client)…You prepared well and gave her some great ideas.”
- Commendations. This is a compliment with a reward attached, which could range from a cup of your favorite coffee to a dinner or vacation.
- Smiles. You smile, thinking “That’s pretty good; nice work.” Or, “Boy, not exactly what you were aiming for! Try again, dude.”
- Approval. “You’re on the right track. Keep it up and don’t give up. You are a pretty smart lady.” (PST without conceit or arrogance)
- Acceptance. “That’s ok. Don’t worry about it. You made a mistake and you need to make up for it. You’re still ok, OK? Move on and deal with it.”
- Love (to self). “I treasure myself….You’re a good guy. I love you.” (This may sound a bit strange, but self-love without superiority is great mental health.)
- Loyalty (to self). “I will never give up on you. I’ll always be there for you.”
- Higher Power (whether religious, spiritual, or philosophical). “I know You love me and will always be by my side….The Universe is there to support me no matter what, even when I have my doubts
- Giving. “The more I give, the more I get. However, I give to others just to give. I don’t just give in order to get something in return. I am generous.”
Attitude Is Everything
The greatest truths are usually quite simple, and this is one of them. Your attitude—how you look at people and things—is what either gives you energy and well-being, or fatigue and misery. Expanding your positive self-talk every day is one of the most powerful keys to feeling good and achieving the success you would like.
Here are a few things to do right away to expand you PST, and therefore your life satisfaction:
1st Don’t underestimate the power of your mind. Generate some positive thoughts every day. Find some favorites and write them down, and then carry them around with you. You can use an index card or laminate your PST.
2nd Become more aware and capture you NST (negative self-talk), no matter how small, and write a positive response to each one that regularly emerges.
3rd See to support others, especially those close to you, with PST. Avoid preaching or advising without permission. Try complimenting and commending.