by Joel J

It seems only fitting that my maiden blog post should be about the first self-talk book I read—actually I “heard” it before I read it when my mother read it to me at about four years of age. Now before you start thinking my mother strange for reading a self help book to me before I was old enough to read I should mention that the book was “The Little Engine That Could”. I really believe I can still hear my mother reading the words, “I Think I Can, I Think I Can”. What a great message for kids to hear and just as relevant now as it was when “The Little Engine That Could” book was first published in 1954.

We started hearing about so many of the things we couldn’t do before we could even understand the words spoken—sometimes we just understood the “hand language”….the hand on the butt. I’ve read about some research which shows the average person hears “no” or “you can’t do that” 148,000 times by the age of 18. Now, personally I’m glad I heard “no” and “no, you can’t do that”—things like “no, you can’t play in the middle of the street”, “no, you can’t stay up until midnight—you’re only 5 years old :) , or any other “no, you can’t” that protected me in some way. I’m equally grateful for the times I heard Positive Affirmations, like, “yes you can do it” or “you can do anything you put your mind to”. One reason we’re told “no” so much when we’re young is because we haven’t developed good judgment of our own yet but after we’re more matured we need to re-evaluate our old programming to see if it’s still relevant.

Some of the negative things we heard as children came from other children, things like “hey fatty”, “you’re just about as stupid as you look” or (fill in your own favorite childhood insult)—there were many to choose from—unless you grew up on some other planet than I did.  Now I contend that whoever came up with “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” was deaf, and could not read lips either :) .  But, the past is the past—it’s time to let those old insults, that may have turned into negative self-talk, go.

Some of the negative things we heard as children, and still do, were not intended to hurt us but may still be affecting us today—I can still remember being in choir class some 30+ years ago and having the teacher ask me to stop singing—actually she didn’t voice the request she just tapped me on the shoulder, but it was understood that if you got tapped it meant you should stop singing. Now if I can still vividly remember that episode today you can imagine that I didn’t choose singing as a career. Maybe the talent wasn’t there but just maybe if I had been given a positive affirmation, like, “I know you can sing in key—just keep trying” I might have developed in to a talented singer like Elvis—okay that’s pushing the point but you get what I mean. How about you—can you remember something you heard as a child that might have stopped you from doing something you might have really been good at or at least enjoyed doing? Just imagine if you had grown up using the positive affirmation “I think I can, I think I can”—don’t you think you would have achieved a lot more of the things you wanted to achieve? Well, it’s never to late to change—start listening to your self-talk, especially when you’re under stress, and see what you’re telling yourself now—for many people it’s pretty negative talk. In future post we’ll talk about ways to change the negative self-talk and replace it by using Positive Affirmations—which will turn into positive self-talk—but for now remember the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson—“A man is what he thinks about all day long”.

P.S. If you want a copy of “The Little Engine That Could” book for your children you can find it at Amazon

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Milliann July 17, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Yes I remember the book and the story and have thought of it often in my life and have quoted it to the girls many times!! And just a note with the constant increase in cig prices aside from health issues I really need to stop, so If you come across a self talk stop smoking program please let me know. Good luck and I will be reading…………………

Joel J July 19, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Thanks for the comment–in the coming weeks/months I will be adding content to help change a variety of habits as well as; positive affirmation scripts, methods to help create scripts, some free mp3 audio positive affirmations and possibly some software to help personalize positive affirmations. Thanks for being my first official commenter!!!

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