There is an old Samurai proverb that says “Do not speak poorly about yourself. For the warrior within hears your words and is lessened by them.”

Humans have understood for as long as we have documented, through every culture for which we have history, that the words we say carry with them heavy impact in and on our lives. Even the magic word, ABRACADABRA, has ties to ancient Aramic and roughly translates “I create as I speak”.

Additionally, study after study has shown us that the words we speak matter. And the words we speak to ourselves seem to have special relevance…especially when connected to our name.

As a coach, trainer, youth pastor, and father, I tend to notice the words people speak more than most.  I hear phrases like “I’m such a screw-up/failure/looser”, “(Insert issue) is so unfair”, “I can’t/could never/would never do that”. The list of negative statements and negative self talk I hear come out of people is so long and so discouraging. But as the years pass and I become more aware of my own language, I am encouraged by my ability to recognize and help people re-talk to themselves.

I point this all out to call you to awareness.  One of the most powerful changes I have seen people make in their lives is changing the way they speak to and about themselves. In order to do that, you must first become aware of the way you speak to and about yourself now.

Consider the negative or just non-positive things you say to/about yourself. If someone spoke about your spouse, child, parent, or best friend like that, would you allow it? Or would you stand up for your loved one?  It’s time to take that stance with yourself.

There is so much here to talk about, it would be nearly impossible to cover every case. So the advice I tend to give is, what is the positive opposite of those negative words?

For example, turn “I always screw things up” into “I missed this time, but I’ve learned this lesson and next time I will be able to do better.” Things like “(Insert issue) is so unfair” becomes “(This issue) is hard, but I’m strong enough and capable enough to figure it out and succeed.”  Or even as simple as “I can’t do this” to “I CAN do this”.

Now, add your name to it. We know that psychologically the sweetest word in our language is our own name. Especially our named tied to something good or positive. Turn “ I CAN do this” to “Let’s Go (name), you can do this”.

The saying “you can do anything you put your mind to” is more true than we actually realize. But anything we attempt is going to be fraught with difficulty, road blocks, unfairness, and failure. The key to succeeding in spite of all of that is to stop listening to the mental voices that spin so many things in a negative direction and start talking to ourselves in the positive opposite.

The human mind is more powerful than we understand as of yet. Make sure you’re doing all you can to wield that power in your favor.