Relationships – all of them – are necessary to our well-being. The more positive they are, the better they are for our mental and emotional states. Those we have with family and friends are generally the ones we value the most. There is one relationship that seems to be even more important. It governs all the others – and that is the relationship we have with ourselves.
Every day of our lives, we send ourselves thousands of mental messages that determine how we evaluate our own worth. The evaluation we make of our worth is what determines our level of self-esteem. Of course, the messages we receive from our family, friends, co-workers and others affect our self-esteem, too. But they send only a tiny fraction of the number of messages that we send ourselves, so they don’t have the same opportunity to affect us. And isn’t it easy to discount those positive messages coming from others?
Besides, if we are continually sending ourselves negative, devaluing appraisals, we will drown out the other messages, no matter how positive they might be. It is particularly important that we, ourselves, become the source of these positive messages, or affirmations as they are sometimes called. When we take control of this process, the leverage we gain from our “inside” position makes tremendous personal growth possible.
Unfortunately, many people spend much more time focusing on their faults and mistakes than they do on their strengths and successes. An interesting fact: Scientists have determined that our negative vocabulary is much larger and more richly descriptive than our positive vocabulary. A quick glance at today’s social media feeds is likely to prove that.
Focusing on the negative is a learned behavior, and learned behaviors can be unlearned. A positive focus can be learned just as easily. If you choose to, you can learn it, as well. So, who are you going to count on, to leverage your inside position on your thoughts?
(P.S. The answer is – you!)