Monday, July 16, 2007

Reprogramming Our Emotional Software

I was at a writer’s conference this past week and gave some workshops. I also did some impromptu coaching and talked with several people about my philosophy of life. I found myself using the following analogy about the power of changing just a few of our assumptions:

When we work on the computer, we can only do what the software is programmed to do. If we want to be able to do something else, we need to reprogram the software or get new software. Well, I like to think of what I talk about in my blog as ways to reprogram our emotional software. If we (for example) change one of our fundamental beliefs from: “I am a timid, incompetent, damaged soul” TO “I am brave, resourceful, and I can do lots of things well” then odds are we will find that our behavior automatically changes as well. We will begin to do things we haven’t done before.

It begins with realizing how we want to be and then looking for evidence that we already are. Example: For a long time, my default was to start by thinking: “I’m scared.” Followed by: “I’m always scared.” Followed by: "Obviously I'm a coward."

Now, if I catch myself thinking that way I remind myself: “Hey, I drove across country on my own and decided where I wanted to live!” “Hey, I had the guts to go after what I wanted and start over at 52!” “Hey, I have the guts to get up and speak in front of large (and small) groups of people all the time!” In other words, I’m not a coward after all.

The key is to change our focus from the negative images we may have had—or been told by other people we ought to have—about ourselves and replace them with reminders of all our strengths and abilities. It’s going from accepting other people’s definition of what’s important and recognizing what truly matters to us instead.

I had a great time at my conference and the satisfaction of having people tell me that what I said made a difference. All those things that went well will go into my own personal file of reasons to believe in myself. I hope that you have or are creating such a file—even if it’s only in your head!

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs)))))))),
April_optimist

3 comments:

keepers said...

really good words here, words we all need to really hear. reprogramming our own mindsets can help each of us so much. thank you for a very useful blog, it really does help to hear it from another person.

peace and blessings

keepers

Marj aka Thriver said...

Great, helpful post. I'm glad the conference went well.

April_optimist said...

Thanks Keepers and Marj.