Join Chris Croft for an in-depth discussion in this video Changing your inner dialogue, part of Learning to Be Assertive.
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- So can you change yourself? Undoubtedly there's a small amount of you that's inherited, but I think you'll agree that things like a short temper or shyness are learned behaviors rather than inherited, unchangeable traits. Most of your personality consists of learned habits that you've built up during your life so far. And these are known as life scripts. Examples of life scripts could be: I'm impatient. I'm shy. I hate giving talks. I always think of the best thing to say afterwards when it's too late.
Those are typical life scripts. You can have good scripts too. Like I'm good under pressure. I love giving talks. I like meeting new people. Any statement that starts with, "I can't help," or "I always seem to," or "I'm hopeless at," or "I'm great at," these are all scripts. And they can be changed. Scripts get stronger with time, because beliefs lead to thoughts and behaviors, which then lead to events happening. And these strengthen your beliefs.
I know I'm impatient. I've got 50 years of evidence of myself stamping my feet in cues. And my belief about myself leads to my behavior, which gives me more and more evidence that that's how I am. So to change yourself means changing at the very least your behaviors, but ideally your underlying thoughts and beliefs about yourself too. But can this be done? And the answer is yes. And you can do it by changing your self talk. The words that you say in your head. Your subconscious is listening to everything that you say to yourself.
By the way, do you have a voice in your head? One voice in your head is good. Hopefully you haven't got two voices that are arguing with each other. So most people have one talking voice, and this talking voice is your conscious mind. And the silent listener that's also in your head is your subconscious, which then acts on whatever you tell it. It's quite a scary thought. So if you say, "When I give this presentation "it's going to go horribly wrong," your subconscious listens to that, it acts on that, and it then makes the talk go horribly wrong.
So if you can change your self talk to only positive statements, your subconscious will hear these, and gradually it will come to believe you, until the new state has become true. So if you say, "I love giving talks. "I'm looking forward to the big "conference that's coming up," at first it will feel very weird. You'll feel something called cognitive dissonance, which is where you consciously say, "I'm looking forward to the talk," and your subconscious says, "What? "He's never said this before. "This can't be true." But after awhile, you start to accept it.
Your subconscious starts to think that... That something's changed somewhere, and maybe you are actually looking forward to giving the talk. And the battleship of 50 years of experience and evidence is starting to be slowly turned. And you just keep pushing and pushing a little bit every day. Positive statements every day. And you can change anything you want to change about yourself. And it only takes about a month. Which is amazing, isn't it? So, what's your pet negative script that you'd like to change? What aspect of your personality and behavior would you like to change? Design a new script today and start repeating it every day until it becomes the new you.
- Identifying your current mindset
- Avoiding the passive-aggressive trap
- Reducing negative emotions
- Handling everyday putdowns
- Learning to disagree by questioning
- Knowing the most effective words to use