Sometimes I go to my bookcase and discover an old treasure that has been nestled on the shelf for many years. Such was when I found this book ,Don’t Let Your Mind Stunt Your Growth written by Bryan E. Robinson, Ph.D. and published in 2000 by New Harbinger Press. ( a terrific resource). It has been a source of good quotes, pertinent ideas and continues to be relevant today.
The book is a collection of 64 stories that ask you to examine how your mind creates your experiences which then affect your feelings and behavior. This is the concept of “reframing” in therapy as well as the basic tenet of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. The mind and body are a two way street. Recognizing the power of your thoughts can help you begin to harness your ability to change your thinking and your choices. A few of my favorite “self talk” ideas that limit our well-being are:
“Keep an Unmade Mind Instead of a Mind Made Up”
Think about a situation in your life that you feel stuck. Can you open your mind to another explanation, an alternative idea, a different perspective? You can never know what may result from finding another path. Consider a fresh approach.
“Write Criticism a Letter and Tell Him to Let You Alone”.
We get stuck in judgment- either of ourselves or others. Try coming up with words that describe how others would see you when you are in a critical mood and how you react to others criticism. What a great way to be isolated or be rejected by others. Try stating your criticisms as desires. Instead of telling someone what they have done wrong, start with a positive and then state what you want. He calls this the PNP technique- positive- negative-positive feedback tool. Try finding something right or endearing about someone who bugs you. Not always easy, but a great way to possibly affect change.
“Stick Your Neck Out”
This quote, “Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall” by Oliver Goldsmith expresses that we must all try and take a risk and not fear failure. We all have areas of life where we feel challenged and want to run away from the possibility of being hurt, wrong or making a “fool” out of ourselves. Often it involves being worried about how others will think of us or judging ourselves with harshness. Can you find just one place in your life where you can stick your neck out? The results may not be perfect, but you win by just trying! Failure isn’t falling down, it’s not getting up.
“Don’t Let Anyone Rent Space in Your Head”
We learn as children how to gain approval from our parents and society. As important as it is to do the “right” thing and be accepted by others, we can also sell ourselves short to do so. There are all kinds of “should, oughts , and musts” that occupy our thoughts and impact our behavior. Take some time to try and figure out which of these are right for you. What are you doing that others want, but no longer is a fit for you? Do you put others ideas ahead of your own thereby giving them a lot of “rent free space”? Are you blaming yourself for the behavior of others that you have no control? Take up full residence in your life and carve out your ideas, your dreams, and your passions.
Remember – you are more than your thoughts. You may not have complete control over what life brings, but you can control the way you think about what is happening to you.