Notice your Negative Self-Hypnosis
(From The Pegasus NLP Newsletter – 4 April 2000)
I don’t know what he did wrong but he’d certainly annoyed his mother. ‘Don’t you ever, ever, do that again. You stupid, stupid little boy. Do you hear me? I won’t stand for it. Never, ever again!’ Each phrase was emphasised with a smack on the bottom. The three year old was in tears. The woman was beside herself with anger.
No doubt she was well-intentioned and wanted to teach him an important life-lesson. I am sure that her intention wasn’t to set him up for a life-time of low self confidence and self esteem.
The constantly repeated messages we receive as children help form our self esteem and self confidence. These messages have added power if received when we are in a highly emotional state. So the little boy’s scared and tearful state made him very susceptible to the repetition of ‘stupid, stupid’ message. Such messages have all the impact of powerful hypnosis.
Happily most of our un-useful childhood impressions or beliefs are weakened by later experiences and by the passing of time – unless we unwittingly continue the process of negatively hypnotising ourselves…
Listen to your self-talk – the on-going silent chatter in your head. Is this building you up or undermining you?
Whenever you make a mistake do you say ‘you stupid, stupid boy/girl’. When someone criticises you do you silently agree with them as if it’s yet more proof of your low self worth? Are you carrying on the negative hypnosis of overworked and impatient teachers or loving but scared and incompetent parents?
Our self talk messages have a very powerful hypnotising affect on us. Just like hypnosis they are so repetitious that we rarely challenge them.
They are relentless – so we stop consciously ‘hearing’ them. And they are either so monotonous that we are lulled into a passively accepting them or are very emotionally charged and impactful.
Many people recognise this and try to stop this negative self-hypnosis. But most of them go about it the wrong way – by trying to not talk to themselves.
So let’s get one thing clear – you will never stop your self talk. Accept that and you are half-way to ending the self-undermining. What’s more your self talk is a valuable part of your thinking. It is what you say to yourself that needs attention.
The solution is powerful but is deceptively simple. Spend a few minutes every day noticing the undermining messages you give yourself. Just pay attention to this negative self hypnosis and think to yourself ‘There I go – repeating the old, redundant stuff again.’
That’s all. Keep it simple and you’re more likely to do it. Incidentally, this is a lot more effective than trying to stop the negative self talk because the more you try to NOT think of something the more fixated on it you become.
Do it for a few minutes every day and start benefiting from positive self observation. And, each time you notice that you are undermining your self esteem and self confidence, remind yourself of how you are a different person now than you were way back then.