Positive thinking goes nowhere unless it is followed by action. That’s precisely why we say the road to hell is paved by good intentions. Meaning to do something and actually doing it are two very different things. Most of us are procrastinators, one of those character flaws many of us humbly ask God to remove when we work on Steps 6 and 7. Most of us mean to do well but somehow never get around to it. Other things just seem to soak up our time. That’s why it’s our self-talk that empowers change in us. The words we speak to ourselves shapes our perception and actions. If I tell myself that I am worthless and a failure, I will unconsciously ensure that I fail. If I tell myself I am a victim, I will unconsciously place myself in situations that confirm that self-image. On the other hand, if I tell myself, “I can do this,” chances are I will succeed. Since self-talk is such an important aspect of being healthy or unhealthy, it helps to adopt several affirmations to help change our self-talk. It is amazing what positive self-talk can do.
My friend Sister Tammy is a wise woman. She has encountered many challenges in her life, including life-threatening illnesses, personal losses, and work challenges, yet she just keeps on keeping on. Even being wheelchair-bound doesn’t slow her down. Along with her strong faith, she draws on her sense of humor. Her approach to aging is, “Do something you never did before. Change means growth. To grow, you need to evolve instead of revolve or devolve! I began painting on canvas when I was 85. Some guy asked me to be a stand-up comic. I’d consider it, except I can’t stand up.” When someone asked her what she did, she said, “ I am both a psychologist and a spiritual director, but I am offended when someone calls me a ‘shrink.” I prefer to think of myself as a ‘stretch.’”
Sister Tammy insists it’s the language, self-talk, we choose that empowers our responses and reactions to life and faith, including phrases such as “I am…..I want to…..I am willing….I choose to…..I’m grateful for….Thank you for….Could you help me, please….” She is quick to remind us messages such as “I can’t….I should….I have to….I’ll try…”I always fail, so…” are self-limiting and feed into a sense of victimhood. “Be positive,” she says. “Have faith. We are here now, so be grateful. It’s up to us to decide what we hold on to, what we let go of, and what we reach for. Be daring. Get a kick out of life. Be happy.”