Three Things NOT to Say To Yourself Unless They Are True

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Mike Bundrant is a retired mental health counselor, practicing personal coach, co-founder of the iNLP Center, co-author of the AHA Solution  and author of Your Achilles Eel.

virtualquestionNegative self-talk is one of the most popular forms of self-torture. To one degree or another, we all have to deal with it.

Some ways of dealing with negative self-statements are better than others. In this post, I’d like to show you how to deal with inner negativity by discovering if what you say to yourself is actually true.

And it may be. That’s not a problem at all. The point is to think one level deeper and stop reacting spontaneously to whatever thoughts go off in your mind.

Here are three examples of things you may say to yourself that you can question and begin to weed out the truth.

1. I can’t do it.

There are things you can do and things you cannot do. When you tell yourself that you can’t, you should question whether or not it is true. And if you aren’t sure, then you should definitely find out.

For example, I cannot do calculus. I can’t beat Roger Federer in tennis. Nor can I carry a tune very well. These things lie beyond my current scope of ability. It’s true.

I didn’t say I cannot learn calculus if I were really interested. I might even learn to carry a tune somehow. But right now I definitely cannot.

Forget beating Federer.

Of course, sometimes you tell yourself that you can’t do things that you really can do. Like eating right, exercising, controlling your temper, working hard, putting forth your best effort and so on.

Don’t tell yourself you can’t do things that you can do! Of course, the buck stops with you. Be your own honest judge. And question yourself whenever you say that you “can’t.”

By the way, if you are NLP trained, you’ll know to follow up “I can’t” with a  Meta Model question. I can’t do what, specifically?

If you suspect you may be making an excuse, then you could try being honest. For example: I could exercise more, but I really don’t want to badly enough.

2. So-and-so doesn’t like me.

Often we tell ourselves that people don’t like us as part of a strange attachment to rejection. It’s as if we’re looking for rejection where it doesn’t really exist because that’s what we’re used to doing. And we may even get a strange pleasure out of it – even if it’s the pleasure of familiarity.

How do you know they don't like you?

How do you know they don’t like you?

Here’s the truth. Some people really don’t like you. And some people do. Others aren’t thinking about you enough to like or dislike you.

You could divide people roughly into thirds:

1. People who like you.
2. People who don’t like you.
3. People who aren’t thinking about you enough to know.

Then, focus on the people who like you. BUT….don’t assume that everybody falls into category number two. And when you tell yourself that someone doesn’t like you, think it through.

Again, this is where NLP comes in handy. We learn in NLP that statements such as “He doesn’t like me” are examples of mind reading. This is when assume we know what is going on in the mind of another person. Using NLP we can train mind reading tendencies out of ourselves. It’s very freeing!

should3. I should….

Don’t should on yourself.

That’s the conventional wisdom of people who aren’t into conventional wisdom. I disagree.

There ARE things you definitely should do. You should take care of yourself. You should attend to the needs of others to whom you have made commitments. You should do your best.

You know this. I know this. The problem with should is when it gets so out of control that we feel we must do the impossible.

For example:

You make a gigantic, impossible to-do list and plague yourself with shoulds all day long to get more done. At the end of the day, you’ve never gotten enough done, right? The list was not doable in the first place, but that didn’t stop you from expecting it.


• You should be more like (someone else).
• You should accept people (that you don’t accept).
• You should become (something you don’t want to become).
• You should believe (something you don’t believe).
• In short, you should be PERFECT IN EVERY WAY.

Not gonna happen. These are the shoulds that you should let go (gotcha).

The point is to understand the difference (in all of the above categories of self-talk). Just getting off autopilot will help.

In NLP we learn to treat words like should, must, have to and so on with curiosity. We often ask: What would happen if you didn’t? This reveals the consequences of doing or not doing something you think you should do. It’s a great way to get at the evidence that backs your expectations.

So, when you hear yourself grinding away in your mind, slow down and think a level deeper. Ask yourself good questions and ponder what is really true for you.

I’ll be doing the same.

And, if you really want to gain command over the language that determines your success, consider doing an NLP training. There’s no other tool that compares. And there is no better time in history to learn NLP!

Oh – and if for some reason you find yourself clinging to negative self-talk regardless of your efforts to get at the truth of what you are saying, then consider that you are in a habit of self-sabotage. Self-sabotage is the tendency to do the opposite of what makes you happy – because unhappiness of some sort is more familiar to you than happiness.

Self-sabotage is caused by deeper psychological attachments that steer you in the wrong direction because that is the direction you grew up with.

To learn to redirect yourself, watch this enlightening free video.

Three Things NOT to Say To Yourself Unless They Are True

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