By Katya Juliet
Did you know?
According to the research cited in the book What To Say When You Talk To Yourself, by Dr. Shad Helmstetter, the average person – living in a reasonably positive home – has been told “no” an average of 148,000 times or more by the time they turn 18 years old.
Dr. Helmstetter refers to this as our initial “negative programming” and it contributes to how we learn to talk to ourselves throughout the course of our lives.
While that number may be higher or lower for some, it is an overwhelming amount to hear. Especially when the number of “yes” or “yes you can’s” that we hear over the same amount of time are only clocking in within the several hundred range.
Clearly, there is a tremendous imbalance at play and one that can only begin to be reconciled with conscious, positive, productive self-talk and affirmations.
Have you ever considered how much more you could have accomplished had you been fueled with extra “yes, you can do it” and “I believe in you” statements from the people you depend on the most?
How much more confident might we be with the opposite ratio of yes’s dominating no’s?
Leading research in behavior and psychology tells us that close to 77% of what we think about is working against us – negative, counterproductive and potentially holding us back from many of the things we wish to accomplish in our daily lives.
On top of self-talk, our relationships can produce similar ratios of negative/positive interaction – thus, continuing this vicious cycle.
Poor communication and negative communication both contribute to the destruction of potentially healthy relationships. According to the text on “Ending Relationships” within the book Close Encounters, relationships can breakdown when they fall victim to the following bad habits: speaking too much, using low-quality communication, negative talk tracks or words and communication that centers around only one of the two individuals involved.
Close Encounters also highlights something in interpersonal communication called The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, which details the methods or patterns within relationships of destruction and conflict. Avoiding these communication pitfalls, as well as simply becoming aware of them in the first place, can significantly help your chances of resolving issues within your relationships. The following lists the four horseman, in order, from initial conflict to most severe.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypses:
- Complaining/Criticizing. Example: “You are so rude! So need to be quiet in the morning so I can sleep!”
- Contempt/Disgust. Example: “Don’t be ridiculous! I was hardly making any noise. You’re just being overly sensitive.”
- Defensiveness. Example: “You don’t care about me at all. I’m not ridiculous, you are. No one should have to put up with this.
- Stonewalling. Example: “I don’t want to talk about this anymore. It’s a no-win situation. Leave me alone.”
As you can see, it starts with complaining and criticizing and can be a very slippery slope from there. The examples above give you a flavor of what they may look like within an interpersonal conflict, however, in many cases, the conversations can be a lot worse that those – people say some pretty mean and hurtful things to one another, without even being aware of it.
Note, that even when there is a struggle with negative communication within a given relationship, the fact that they are still engaging in communication is actually a good sign. When a relationship defaults to stonewalling or avoidance, generally, there is an end in sight.
In one of my classes at UC Davis, I recall discussing that it can take as many as 20 positives or compliments to offset just 1 or 2 negatives or criticisms. In my personal opinion, its probably not worth criticizing someone in the first place if only you knew how much work it would take to make up for it with your partner later -psychologically and emotionally.
Take a moment to reflect on how you interact with others in your close relationships. Are you guilty of using any of these communication conflict patterns? If so, the good news is – you can stop! And, if it is your partner doing most of the criticizing, you can still control your own reactions and responses.
So, how to we reprogram ourselves and invite the power of yes back into our lives?
It starts with attempting to turn the negative “default” programming within our minds to a more positive programming. Positive self-talk, daily affirmations and simply saying and repeating the word YES is a great beginning.
Next, try to find ways to incorporate more positive messages into your personal environment. I absolutely love the artwork and pillows from Kate Daisy’s Etsy Store. Order a few of these and place in conspicuous spots around your home.
If you are on a budget, you could also try to make your own or even save one of these online images as a screen saver on your mobile phone or computer right now. (Free and only takes a few seconds!)
Another idea is to listen to positive music or love songs with the conscious thought that those lyrics are about YOU. Similarly, avoid negative or degrading music and lyrics that may be furthering the negative programming on a subconscious level.
Finally, stick with the basics of using “I statements” in your relationships and with your self-talk. “I feel…” is a better lead than “ You always…” Use more of your Emotional Vocabulary and share how you feel before blaming another person.
Last but not least – treat yourself with kindness, just as you would a dear friend. When you hear yourself use negative and hurtful words about yourself, slow down and make a conscious effort to stop. Seek more constructive ways of coping with the situation or simply default to a big, hearty “YES YOU CAN!”
The power of yes is within each one of us and this new programming is free! We just need to prioritize the process and start the transition…How about right now?
Thank you for following and sharing iflourish.
For additional support or consulting services, feel free to contact Katya Juliet through her business website, Buzzword-Consulting. Buzzword Consulting offers affordable digital marketing services, communication consulting, copywriting, PR & Social Media Management for small businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs & non-profit Organizations.
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