Saturday, May 8, 2010

Raise your aspirations and reach for your dreams

We all have our 'internal voice', the self-talk that goes on inside our heads. Given that our brains are quite plastic (see post, below), we're quite susceptible to auto-suggestion and we modify our behaviours accordingly. The potentiality for behavioural modification as a result of suggestion is quite astounding - see, for example, the extreme and negative (destructive!) behaviours that resulted from the 'self-fulfilling prophecy' situation engendered by the Stanford Prison experiment, or the Milgram experiment, which looked at conformism, among other things.

Given that the voice one would probably listen to most frequently and with much attention is our own internal voice, it makes sense then to try and ensure that the way this voice 'speaks' to us is as healthy and constructive as possible. So often, we internally and unconsciously talk ourselves down, disempower our own selves!

But given that we've got quite plastic brains, capable of modification, we can actually tackle this and do something about it.

This simple exercise helps move one from using disempowering speech to more empowered speech.

Instead of saying to yourself:
  • "I'll try to..." (lacks commitment), you can say "I will..." (takes responsibility)
  • "I should ..." (plays the victim), you can say "I'm choosing to..." (takes responsibility)
  • "If only..." (avoids problem solving), you can say "Next time..." (problem solving)
  • "I can't do ..." (blocks growth), you can say "I'm learning to ..." (encourages growth)
The photo above shows Tess reaching for the rising sun at dawn on Bald Rock. As you can see, she can do it. Good on you, Tess my beloved daughter.

Reach for the sun!


Kate said...

Dear Dr Mieke, I really like what you have written about how we can retrain our inner voice to give us positive messages. You describe some very helpful strategies for making our inner voice healthy and constructive. If I can add my two cents worth, the inner voice you refer to is the voice of our ego, our individual, constructed self. It is also just as important to listen to that still, small voice within us, which some call the God within, or our true Self, or our spiritual Self. It doesn't really matter what label we give it, but it is the Self that recognises beauty and truth in all things but which we lose sight of when we don't stop still enough to hear and feel it. So give yourself at least 10 minutes morning and evening to be quiet and reconnect with your inner true voice and enjoy the beauty and truth of all things within and without. If you recognise your inner true voice and allow your ego to give positive messages to your mind, as recommended by Dr Mieke, you can't but live life joyfully and with lightness, nothwithstanding what difficulties come your way.

Dr. Mieke said...

Good and thought-provoking words, Kate. Giving ourselves time to connect with the inner self is certainly better for our physical and mental health. Dr Elisha Goldstein (a clinical psychologist) has some interesting insights into the value of reflection in our lives. See Opening to the Space in Your Life: A Needed Reflection