There are three questions you can ask yourself when you speak about other people and most importantly when you speak about yourself.
The words you use about yourself are like written affirmations – they confirm what you believe about yourself – and give permission to other people to treat you in the way you describe.
So, if you say “don’t listen to me I don’t know what I am talking about. I’m not very clever” to someone not only have you confirmed in your own mind what you think about yourself but you have given them very clear instructions about how they should think/feel about you.
These three short but very powerful questions have been attributed to Socrates, Sufi, Buddha and different people who all believe in enlightenment.
I don’t concern myself too much with who said it I just understand it to be a great way for you to begin affirming something different about yourself.
“Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?”
Next time you become conscious of the fact that you have said something negative or dis-empowering about yourself (or other people) run it by these three filters. Write the answers down in your journal.
The more you do this the quicker you will find that you are able to ask these questions in the moment before you speak so you stop your negative words coming out of your mouth.
Is it true?
Is it true you don’t know what you are talking about? (using the above example) Is it possible you could actually know a little?
Is it true you are not very clever? Who said so? How did you come to that assumption? Are the words “I am not very clever” something you say because you hope to get the response “Don’t say that of course you are” – is it validation you are after? Or is it just a phrase you say without thinking?
Is it kind?
Does it empower you? Does it make you feel good? The words you have spoken or are thinking about speaking is it kind?
Is it necessary?
Will saying what you are about to say make a difference to the conversation? Will it make a real and lasting difference? Will it help someone or will it hinder? Do you really need to say it?
So much pain and hurt could be avoided if you were to run whatever you are about to say through this filter. This is true of what you are about to say about another person and if you have a tendency to gossip may help you work towards overcoming it.
It is also true of the words you use about yourself and this is where my main concern lies.
As you work towards overcoming low self-confidence ask yourself how true the negative words you use about yourself really are and you will find you gain a whole new perspective.
If you have any questions, insights or comments please leave them below. I do reply to comments left.