We suffer from a serious malady in society today.
The plague of our own thoughts and belief systems, of our own self-disempowerment.
When I finally got tired of the suffering, and I opened up my mind to living my life a new way, I found a whole new world which had been there all along, just on the other side of my dark walls of disbelief.
It’s a long story how I got there, which I will save for another time, but I write this to share one of the most important and powerful tools I use in creating my own current reality of success and happiness. The tool of cognitive dissonance, which rewired my belief system.
All you need to start is a bit of determination, discipline and some mindfulness. Start paying attention to your inner dialogue, and make these crucial shifts in your choice of words:
Probably the single most powerful statement that I ditched in my life. When I became aware of how often I said “I can’t” to things I was perfectly capable of doing, I realized just how much I was disempowering myself.
As I started shifting from “I can’t” to “I won’t” or “I don’t want to” I realized that I was using “I can’t” as an easy way out when things were challenging. Or, anytime I was in fear, out would come “I can’t do this!” when the reality was that I didn’t want to do it because I was scared and I didn’t know how to do it. How empowering it is to see and admit this! I then shifted again to “I can and I will.” Even when I didn’t feel like I could, saying this created cognitive dissonance, and I eventually started believing it.
If we continue feeding the belief that we can’t, then we never will.
As a society, we are truly confused about our wants and needs, and I was a prime example of this muddied belief. It’s so dramatic to say “I need this or that,” when in reality all we truly need is food, water, shelter, and clothing. Yet I did it for a long time. You know…..I need a new phone? No. I would like one. I need a car? No, it would make life easier, and I would like one, but can I survive without one? Absolutely. I need to travel? Well, okay, that one I feel as though I might need—to me travel is life.
I found that changing all of my dramatic needs to wants in my vocabulary made for a much more minimalistic lifestyle. We will continue to be dramatic and excessive as long as we perpetuate the belief that we “need” everything that in actuality we only want.
I can’t afford.
Okay, this little phrase was probably one of my most challenging dialogues to change. I have done serious work to rewire my beliefs where money is concerned, finally coming to an understanding that even in that area, I create my own reality. Thus, “I can’t afford this” had to go, because it just perpetuates the cycle and the belief of not having enough, when in fact there is always enough.
I replaced it with “I choose to wait until a more opportune time to do this or buy this, because I am choosing to be mindful where I spend my energy.” Sometimes I laugh when I say it, because this belief was deep-seated and is taking time to really ground in the new beliefs, but the cognitive dissonance is working, and the new neuro-pathways are indeed being wired. As long as we keep telling ourselves we can’t afford something, we never will.
I have come to believe that this is just a straight up cop out. Anytime in my life that I have wanted something badly enough, there was no “try.” I went after it and I did it. If I am hungry, I am not going to “try” to eat, I am going to feed myself. I didn’t “try” to get off drugs so that I didn’t die, I did it. I sobered up. Like Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.“
By shifting my dialogue to, “I am or I’m doing,” cognitive dissonance allows me to take ownership in the now, the present. If my brain starts believing that I already am happy, wealthy, serene, content, sober, generous, loving, kind, or whatever I may aspire to be, then it opens up that path in reality for me to actually be those things.
When we go around saying, “I’m trying to be nice, loving, or generous,” this means we still believe in our subconscious mind that we are not those things, and this keeps the door open for us to fall back on those negative behaviors, which again perpetuates the belief that we can’t change, which in turn, continues to disempower us. I mean, come one, we don’t “try” to breathe right? See my point?
I want to.
I realized that “I want to,” was actually a really passive tone of dialogue. It implied that I would like to do this, so can someone or something make this happen for me. That is not the dialogue of a successful go-getter! It is passive and it gives all of my power to extenuating circumstance.
I instead shifted this to “I will,” and, “I am going to,” hammering home the belief that I was going to do this or that. See, to me, these words take ownership, and when I take ownership of my life, things start to happen.
When I stopped waiting for others and the world around me to deliver everything I wanted, and started going after it and taking charge of my life, the pathways started opening up in front of me. We do not realize how disempowering and passive the words, “I want to do…” actually are. They imply that we don’t really think it’s possible, but if it were possible we would love to do it. That is not the belief of success!
I am living proof that shifting inner dialogue and belief systems will create huge shifts in life. A few years ago, if someone told me that we create our own realities, I would have snorted and said something rude, jaded, and sarcastic, because I didn’t believe in anything but my own tired, worn out, and useless belief systems.
And you know what? I got exactly what I believed in—darkness, anger, bitterness, and disappointment. This is not my reality any longer—now I believe in infinite possibilities, and I take charge of my life. I am responsible for my own happiness.
Change these words, change your life. It really is this simple, we just want to complicate everything. That’s the plague in our society. Let’s take our power back!
Blessings everyone! I would love to hear from you in the comments, about your experiences with inner dialogue.
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Jon Fife/Flickr