Andy Murray competing in the 2016 French Open tennis quarter finals was heard to shout “Absolute Turnip” to himself as he fought to break the serve of big hitter John Isner. Apparently this is a phrase he has been using for a few years now, presumably for shots that were not his best and it certainly worked on this occasion.
However, how often during the day do we talk to ourselves and are we really listening to what we say to ourselves carefully? Pretty much everything we say to ourselves will have some unconscious effect on our perception of ourselves and our skills. It may not be enough for us to notice any immediate difference but the “drip, drip” effect of this self talk can easily make a big difference to our confidence and self esteem over time.
Now we may find it amusing to call ourselves or our tennis game “absolute turnip” but remember that your unconscious mind is listening to everything you say and may not be translating it the way you expect.
Have you ever told a child “now don’t drop those plates”? Seems to be very good advice and a very good suggestion. But what message does the unsuspecting youngster hear first? Drop the plates!! Why, because the brain will first do a quick rehearsal of “drop the plates” before adding in “don’t”. Too late! The plates are on the floor and broken before the conscious mind has a chance to save the situation.
There is a very good book “Your body believes every word you say” and if we think about it for a moment we cannot have an emotional feeling without a physical reaction any more than we can experience something physical without some sort sort of emotional experience. Plus, our mind is constantly making decisions for us before we know we have even thought of them. This is a very useful thing since this leaves the prefrontal cortex free to make our executive decisions and operate hopefully with our best interests in mind, while we carry on doing our everyday tasks like walking downstairs or washing up.
So it’s well worth paying a little more attention to your “self talk” bearing in mind that there are lots of different parts of you listening to what you say and interpreting that information perhaps not in the way you expect. Maybe saying our tennis is “absolute turnip” is no big deal but saying derogatory statements about ourselves and our skills certainly is. We all deserve better so make sure you do a bit of weeding around that unconscious vegetable patch and grow some more positive thoughts. It really will make a difference.
How easy do you find it to forgive? I think for most of us it is a very hard thing to do and seems to go against every primal instinct in our body and mind. We may spend weeks, months, years or even a lifetime, harbouring thoughts of retribution and revenge but where does that get us?
The interesting thing is that if for a moment we can bring our thoughts out of our primal (or reptilian) brain (yes we all have one of those!) and into our frontal cortex (put your palm above your eyebrows and over your forehead.. yes, you’ve got it) the thinking part of our brain knows that we are the only one hurting ourselves whilst the perpetrator is most likely away enjoying their life free of any of the malignant feelings that are keeping us stuck in a very painful place.
OK, we may be right and they may be wrong. We can all do righteousness can’t we? But the truth is it is only ourselves who are hurting, and tainting our lives and future with poisonous thinking.
Now I am not saying that this is easy but it is worth thinking about isn’t it? I say to my clients that we can “do” forgiving as a purely selfish act and that is OK. Why do I think it is OK? Simply because it is better than ruining the rest of your life in a state of hatred and turmoil while the other party gets on with their life, most likely without a second thought!
Another valuable part of forgiveness is to forgive oneself. Yes this is important but something we don’t always think of. Forgive yourself for getting into that mess, for being taken in, for not seeing it coming. Whatever it is forgive and allow yourself to move on. If forgiveness is just a step too far at the moment then use the word accept. Acceptance also helps us move forward with our own lives without bringing past issues and personalities along with us on our journey.
The quality of your journey is more important than anything else and the less baggage you carry around the better your life experiences will be, now and in the future. And also this is very important for everyone around you . It can be a tough, tough call but just start breaking the resistance down bit by bit and you will find the changes will free you to live and enjoy the life you deserve.
If you need help with forgiveness, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is one of the most rapid and powerful ways to release yourself from past history and rebuild your life. Youtube EFT or click this link to give it a go on your own, EFT tapping forgiveness or just get in touch with me and I will be happy to help with any support, questions or advice.