November 14, 2012

Turning the negative into positive



I recently caught an episode of Oprah's Lifeclass, not something I would typically watch, but I know a lot of people who are fans, so I recorded it. The guest on her show was Pastor Joel Osteen, and I particularly enjoyed this exchange between them about changing negative thoughts into positive thoughts.

Osteen: "We all have that recording playing in our minds. Simple things, 'I am confident.' 'I am secure.' 'I am talented.' 'I am creative.' 'I am disciplined.' 'I am focused.' Simple things.

Oprah, I really believe some women have never said once, 'I am beautiful.' Because they're looking at all their flaws. They're looking at... 'Hey, I don't look like her, I don't look like them...' but listen ladies. When you say 'I am beautiful,' you know what you're doing? You're inviting beauty to come in. You're inviting coolness and freshness, vitality."

Oprah: "You know what? As you're saying that, I'm thinking, 'I've never said I'm beautiful. I say, I'm okay.' Let's all say that, ladies. 'I am beautiful.' Invite it in."

Osteen: "It's not magic, but those words go out of our mouth and they come right back into our own ears. They start to change our own self-image. This is not magic, but you go around saying all day, 'I'm blessed, I'm beautiful, I'm talented, I'm valuable, I'm creative, I'm disciplined...' that's doing something on the inside of you. It's affecting your own self-image."

"It may come to your mind, but don't give your words life by speaking them out. Don't ever say anything negative about yourself. You may feel it, but just zip it up and make those positive declarations."

This is something I am constantly working on with my clients. And I would go a step further than just "Don't ever say anything negative about yourself." I would say, "When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, stop it, then reframe it." This is called "thought stopping."

Here are some examples of negative thoughts, and the positive reframe:

Negative: "Who would listen to me?"
Positive: "I have a lot of valuable information to share. The audience is going to love it."

Negative: "I’m going to lose my place, forget my words, etc."
Positive: "I'm well-prepared and I'm not going to mess up. But if I do, so what? I'll make a joke and move on."

Negative: "The audience is going to disagree with/challenge me."
Positive: "I already know the areas where the audience might disagree, I've anticipated their questions and concerns, and I'm prepared to address these issues."

Negative: "I'm boring and can't keep the audience's attention."
Positive: "I've planned plenty of interaction and audience engagement activities to keep their attention. If I lose them briefly, I can get them back."

You have to decide what are the right words for your situation, but I highly recommend taking the time to actively reframe your negative thoughts about yourself, your presentation and your audience.

Break the habit of negative thinking. See yourself as accomplished, confident and ready to perform. When you believe in yourself, the audience will believe in you, too!

2 comments. Please add yours! :

Jen1991 said...

After reading this article, all I can say is I completely 100% agree with this type of "thought stopping". It is a great way to boost one's self-esteem, self-confidence, and even self-value. By telling yourself "I am beautiful", "I am talented", "I am...." etc, really can help an individual grow as a person and become self-satisfied with just being themselves. In society today, many people are unhappy with you they are because of what they see on TV, movies, pictures; basically any type of media. For some people what they see and hear on any type of media can influence them to feel badly about themselves. By "thought stopping" and turning the negative thoughts into positive ones, that person will ultimately because happy with who they are in the long run. When it comes to public speaking, "thought stopping" can help many people become better public speakers. Instead of thinking "Oh no one cares what I have to say" turn it into "I have so much information that the audience will be interested". "Thought stopping" helps a person develop confidence which is much needed in public speaking. From my point of view, "though stopping" and turning all negatives into positives is great and I am going to start trying it!!!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks, Jenn! It's time to stop comparing ourselves to others and embrace who we are. And remind ourselves of the good things!

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