You Are What You Say—Self Talk Self Help
Guest Author Paula Renaye
Whether we realize it or not, our automatic-never-think-about-it everyday language reveals a lot about us. The words and phrases we use routinely—and don’t even conscious realize we’re using—have a great impact on our lives. They create what is true for us.
I’m a fan of Mike Dooley’s TUT Universe and love his catchphrase: Thoughts become things. It is so true!
For example, you probably know people who plan to be sick. They’ll tell you with absolute conviction that they always catch a certain number of colds each year, or they always get sick during pollen season, get the sniffles when the weather changes, catch everything that’s going around or something similar.
I even knew a man once who projected back surgeries on himself! He said he needed to have another back surgery so he could have time to write his book. He wanted—and was asking for—his back to hurt. And it did. He was in pain most of the time I knew him. And he didn’t wish for surgery because he really because he wanted to write a book—that was just an idea he liked to talk about. What he really wanted was to be free of the stress he’d created in his struggling company, but couldn’t admit it. He felt trapped and the only “legitimate” way out was a health issue.
We set ourselves up and don’t even realize it. And we can do it in a variety of ways. Many people are attached to their physical ailments. For some, their problems are part of their personal identities and their whole vocabularies revolve around them.
Here is a story from The Hardline Self Help Handbook that illustrates how our expectations create illness in ourselves—as well as others.
I was at a school function once and a woman asked me which child was mine. I answered and pointed. She pointed out her daughter as well and noted that she had to keep a close eye on her because she had asthma. Without any response from me, she launched into a complete disclosure on the situation, and within seconds, I had been given the child’s complete medical history and associated pharmaceuticals list, along with her activities restrictions. She also informed me that everyone in her family had it, even the youngest child, who actually didn’t have it yet, but would because everyone in her family got it. I was truly stunned. I think all I said the whole time was, “Wow.”
Now, I am not in any way minimizing or trivializing health issues. I am simply pointing out that we can have significant attachments to them and probably don’t even realize it. Asthma was very important to this woman and she expected all her children to have it. I don’t know her story or why she needed it, but she did.
When you hear someone—or catch yourself—regaling a perfect stranger with your story, be aware that there are some unresolved issues there that need to be dealt with—now.
In my own life, my everyday language reflected my reality long before I could acknowledge it. During the dark times leading up to my divorce, I often said that I was a “nervous wreck,” that I was “sick of it” and that it “made me want to vomit.” And so it was. I took St. John’s wort and sam-E for my “moods,” antihistamines to sleep and acid reflux pills to keep myself from choking to death in my semi-comatose state when the bile came lurching up.
When we separated—he left the country and the kids and I moved to another state—my health issues pretty much vanished overnight. I started feeling good and didn’t need to take anything for any reason. I slept great and my stomach wasn’t spewing acid into my throat. It was a miracle! No, it was a textbook case of the mind-body connection. My body had been giving me signal after signal that things were wrong—I used words that accurately described how wrong things were. And when the situation no longer made me sick, I wasn’t.
We’ve all seen this happen, of course. Even our everyday language tells us that emotional distress creates physical distress. How often do we hear people say things like this?
- That makes my blood boil.
- That turns my stomach.
- I’m a nervous wreck.
- He’s just eaten up over it.
- I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut.
- He’s such a pain in the neck.
- This is killing me.
- She died of a broken heart.
Now that you have some examples of how our bodies talk to us—and how we talk to our bodies—can you see some mind-body connections in your own life?
Your stresses and worries will show up in your physical body in one way or another. So start listening to your own language for clues to what’s really bothering you. If you hear yourself saying “that makes me sick” then stop and notice what you were talking about. It might not be as obvious as you think. Get specific and listen to the words that come automatically—hear what you’re really saying—hear what your body is hearing.
Health conditions that require medical attention really do require medical attention. If you need to see a doctor, see one. Just remember that there isn’t any physical condition that can’t be helped by inward reflection and a positive mental shift. If a situation is making you sick, don’t rush to the doctor for a pill—fix the real issue first.
The words you say matter. So do your thoughts. Deal with the real issues now so your body doesn’t have to.
About the Author:
Paula Renaye is a certified professional life coach, motivational speaker and trainer, regression hypnosis practitioner, award-winning author and consultant. Her latest book, The Hardline Self Help Handbook, has been called “a tough-love Chicken Soup for the Soul with a do-it-yourself roadmap for getting unstuck.” Visit www.hardlineselfhelp.com for more practical tips on living healthy and happy in all areas of life.