I was just thinking about something that my first college psychology professor used to say, and how it changed my life. That lead into thoughts of what other people have said that also influenced me in some way. Often, it’s not even directed toward me–or anyone else in particular. Such realizations reinforce the power of words, and how they can help to shape us.
My college psych professor used to say, “Never say anything about yourself you don’t wish to be true.” For someone with shaky self-esteem, and in the habit of using negative self-talk, this was a real eye opener for me. You may know people who say, “I’m stupid” when they make a mistake or something similar. Negative self talk can be extremely detrimental to our psychological (and even physical) well-being. Professor K.’s mantra got through to me.
Another example is from a conversation I had with a friend in one of my math classes in college. She and I were both older than the average students, we were both very serious about our grades, and we were both Phi Theta Kappa members. We frequently discussed what we were studying in our classes, projects we were working on, etc. One day, she told me that she finally said to herself, “I can’t be good at everything.” She was referring to her grades and how she decided to cut herself some slack, and not expect to get an A every time. It’s common sense really. No one can be good at everything. Yet, there are those of us who try (like me). This turned out to be another philosophy that I adopted. (I still managed to earn mostly A’s, but it took some of the pressure off.)
We never know when something we say, even in passing, might have a real impact on someone else. Just as we never know where or when we may hear those words of wisdom that affect us in a positive way.
I’d really like to hear about similar experiences, so, if you have any to share, please do!
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