I have a challenge for you. Read the following phrases out loud, one at a time. Sit with them for a moment.
- “I’m old.”
- “I don’t feel very good.”
- “I haven’t been my best in years.”
- “I know I only have a few good years left.”
- “I’ve accepted my fate.”
How does each of these phrases make you feel?
Do you believe them?
More importantly, do you say these phrases to yourself as you go about your daily tasks?
Whether this was an a-ha for you or not, I challenge you to look closely at your daily actions. Sometimes we don’t think we use words to self-sabotage, yet upon closer look, we see that it is indeed a part of our daily lives.
Ever looked in the mirror and thought: “When did I start looking so old?”
The words we use
On average, we use about 200-300 words on a daily basis. We fall into patterns depending on our jobs, our friends, and the activities we carry out each day.
The English language has around 3,000 words to convey emotions. Nearly two-thirds of them are based on negative emotions.
Think of the words you use as you go about your days:
I know these top the lists based on a little research. Take a look at the list. Only one – happy – is positive. Surprised can go either way, depending on what it means to you. The rest all have a negative connotation.
When you arise in the morning, you can approach your day in one of two ways:
I’m tired. If I could only have more sleep.
I’m elated! I can’t wait to see what today brings!
Which will produce better results?
Self-talk – we’re harder on ourselves than our friends
I want you to visit your best friend and tell her the following:
- “I hate you.”
- “Why are you so stupid?”
- “You’re fat and ugly.”
- “It’s no wonder nobody will love you.”
We find it appalling to even think of saying these words to our friends. Yet we say it to ourselves all the time.
Negative talk hurts.
It might even hurt a lot more than you know.
When you focus on the negative, your words impact what’s happening inside as much as it does on the outside. Additional cortisol is released when you focus on the negative, which can lead to things like immune problems, or even obesity.
How many times have you eaten another cookie while thinking, “You’re too fat.” It’s pain upon misery.
Negative self-talk sets the stage for poor health. As Tony Robbins says, “where your attention goes, energy flows.”
If you think you’re fat while you eat, you’re putting focus and energy on the two things you don’t want: your weight and what you’re eating.
What if changing your life around started with changing your words?
Self-talk takes self-work
Humans love misery. We thrive on fear. We enjoy watching someone who has it worse than us.
Ever slowed down by a major accident, craning your neck to see what happened?
Of course. We all do it. And then we say things like: “At least I don’t have it that bad.”
Here’s what I believe. I believe that people are, by default, negative, afraid, and unhappy.
If you no longer want to be negative, afraid, and unhappy, you have to consciously choose to be the opposite. You have to choose happiness, choose to love your place in this world, and choose to have a positive outlook on life.
If you want to deep-dive into human emotions, I highly recommend Brene Brown’s latest book, Atlas of the Heart. She covers 87 emotions and teaches what it really means to be human.
I made her book a part of my morning ritual for several months. Each morning I would meditate, journal, stretch, and read one emotion from her book. It took me several months to get through the book, but I found myself looking forward to it for all the self-knowledge I picked up.
I could open up her book randomonly to any page and use that as an example here. I thought I would give you a taste by giving you a peek into how she describes places we go when life is good:
When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding. No emotion is more frightening than joy, because we believe if we allow ourselves to feel joy, we are inviting disaster. We start dress-rehearsing tragedy in the best moments of our lives in order to stop vulnerability from beating us to the punch. We are terrified of being blindsided by pain, so we practice tragedy and trauma. But there’s a huge cost. When we push away joy, we squander the goodness that we need to build resilience, strength, and courage.
Ever do that yourself?
Ever found yourself thinking that life has been good for a few weeks/months, and you’re almost afraid to think it because it might set you up for something terrible?
I now think of my life as a roller coaster, with ups and downs as I travel along life’s path. I wouldn’t appreciate the good without the bad to put things in perspective. Without the bad, the good wouldn’t seem quite as grand.
I’m not saying I can’t wait for the bad to happen to put the good in a better light. But when I realize I face life’s challenges because that’s what makes me human, it puts things in a different perspective.
It reduces stress.
It makes me appreciate more.
It makes me strive for better.
It starts by saying: I’m going to live to 100
I started this post with one thought: I’m going to live to 100.
It changes everything.
When I say that, it changes my approach to life. From what I eat, to how often I exercise, to what I choose to do each day.
I’m going to live to 100.
Suddenly, retirement at fifty-something doesn’t seem so viable. I may choose to leave one revenue stream, but it opens me up to what I want to do next.
Instead of accepting a diagnosis, I ask better questions: What can I do to overcome this? What will it take to move past this once and for all?
That’s where this started for me almost thirty years ago.
When my dad died at fifty-four from a major heart attack, I asked why. What could I do differently? What would make a difference?
And it changed everything.
I eat like I’m going to live to be a 100 year old.
I exercise like I’m going to live to be a 100 year old.
I manage my life like I’m going to live to be a 100 year old.
And it makes all the difference.
Are you going to live to be 100 too?
PS – if you haven’t signed up for my Foundational Wellness email course yet, you can do so here. I’ve set this up to help you create your own foundational wellness plan, and start asking better questions about wellness and your approach to health. Best of all … it’s free!