Usually I focus on positive self talk. Every once in a while it’s helpful to bring to conscious awareness the negative talk that might be sabotaging you.
What do you say to yourself that is negative that keeps you from manifesting what you want in your life? Do you know the words? Do you know how often you say the words to yourself? Do you say them out loud to others?
One of the things I love to do is to help people to transform their language from negative to positive. Of course, the thoughts behind the words need to be changed, as well, but sometimes the language itself is like a key to unlock those negative unconscious thoughts and bring them into conscious awareness. And, once unlocked, the thoughts can more easily be transformed.
To identify your statements of negative self talk, focus in on any subject, but here are a few suggestions to prime the pump.
Health: Do you talk to yourself or others about an illness or affliction you have? For example, "I’m tired of being sick." Or, "My knee is still hurting me."
Money: Do you have disempowering thoughts and chatter about money? For example, "We can’t afford that." Or, "I don’t have enough money." Or, "This economy is really getting me down."
Career: Do you get into conversations with yourself or others about your job or career? For example, "I don’t feel confident in my job." Or, "I don’t seem to be getting anywhere in my career."
And, on and on. You know what a negative statement is, especially when you hear others say one. When you’re paying attention, you hear it in yourself, also. However, sometimes when the statement is yours, you may find that it has become so familiar that you believe the words are the truth. You may even be able to "prove" they are true.
Those negative statements can be an avenue to making a simple change that set you on the path to creating what you want in your life.
I invite you to read and follow the process in a Self Development Technique called Self Empowerment by Transforming a Phrase.
Years ago when I trained managers and trainers, I liked to be playful with each group. The company I was working with one day had a culture that was closest to Acronym Heaven than I had ever before or since experienced. So, I wrote on the flip chart in large letters: B O Q.
“Today we’re going to learn about the BOQ,” I said, pronouncing it Bock. My demeanor suggested they already knew — or should know — what the letters stood for, just the way that most acronyms are stated. Came a flurry of activity as they wrote the letters, trying to jog their collective memories of the words that B, O, and Q might possibly represent.
I did not leave them long in this state of mild confusion. They knew me well enough to know that I liked to play. They rose to the occasion and expressed their relief in laughter as I said, pointing letter by letter: Basic Operating Question.
One way of thinking of the Basic Operating Question is to consider it your “default” question. It is the question you think of first when you are facing a certain type of situation. In some situations, you might be well aware of your BOQ, but in others you may not. Questions guide you all day long, and some are more empowering than others.
For example, when the phone rings, you are likely to wonder who is calling and may formulate the question “Who’s that?” or just think, "I wonder who that is." While it’s customary to answer out loud with your name or with "hello," still you will be silently questioning who it is until you know.
If you have a tense relationship with your boss who motions you to his or her office, your BOQ might be “What have I done wrong now?” If your relationship is cordial, perhaps your question is "What can I do for you?"
You walk into a room with others present and your BOQ in your thoughts might be “What’s going on here?” If you have arrived late to a meeting, your default question might be "What have I missed?" Often, others will answer your questions even if you have not verbalized them because they are predominant in your thoughts, and so you are projecting them.
A BOQ can be positive, negative, or neutral. It can be empowering or disempowering. It can be easy to answer or not. It can be verbalized out loud or only thought about. It can be a neat sentence or a disjointed thought or a crisp, clear question. The Basic Operating Question itself, as well as its quality and resonance, guide the quality and resonance of the answer.
The purpose of identifying your Basic Operating Questions is to discover if they are helpful and empowering. And, if not, to craft more helpful and empowering ones. A long-time habit of asking a particular Basic Operating Question will not necessarily be instantly changed just because of discovering one that you consider better, but that is a good starting place. After identifying one or more of these, it is important to practice your new, empowering Basic Operating Questions as often as possible.
I invite you to read Ask Questions that are Empowering, an article that gives you additional information on empowering questions.
What’s your BOQ in each of the common situations you regularly face in your life? For example, when you get up in the morning, when you get to your place of work, when the phone rings, when you see coworkers, when you go to a meeting, when you get into your car, when you go to sleep at night?
Once you have identified the situations that are most important to you, note the default question, and adjust it if it needs to be more empowering. Now, practice, practice, practice.
Many people have the belief that they are supposed to say "yes" to everything that comes their way. I personally think that can be very disempowering, as I’m a great believer in making choices consciously. By making up rules in advance, we are diminish our ability to discern.
To make a choice without knowing what you are choosing is not a wise approach. You cannot know everything. And you can make another choice later, so you are constantly making choices and changing directions.
How are questions asked?
Questions are being asked all the time, and in all different ways. Here’s an example … When an unpleasant image comes across a movie or television screen, do you say "yes" to it?
HINT: you are saying "yes (I want to see this image)" if you keep watching; you are saying "yes (I prefer to give my attention elsewhere)" if you change the channel or walk out of the theater.
Recently I began to watch a movie with a favorite actor which I had recorded. It seemed to be going down a path that would not be to my liking. After about two minutes, a gun came out and shot someone with effects in color. I deleted the movie. I said "yes" to taking other images and stories into my consciousness.
What is the question?
For the images that pass through the airwaves (radio, television, movies, Internet), the question to ask yourself is something like this, "Do I want this?" Or, "Do I want to watch this?" Or perhaps, "Is this pleasing to me?" The exact words don’t really matter, but these questions suggest the essence of what the particular media method is asking you, and you need to answer the question for yourself.
I like to say "A question well asked is half answered." So often when you take care with your language to ask a really good question, you get a more meaningful answer. Most well-formulated questions have more than a one-word answer.
However, in most of our comings and goings in life we are not faced with well-constructed questions that end with a question mark or an intonation that signals a question. Questions take all different forms.
When you give your attention to something, you ARE answering "yes." That is precisely what your attention means. Further subtext could be "More." Or "I’m interested." Or, "I’m listening/watching." Or, "I’m giving the gift of my energy."
When you give your attention to something, you say "yes" to it, welcoming the subject/object/thought into your energy field.
My encouragement is that you often ask yourself this very empowering question: What is the question?
Life is like a buffet — it is filled with much more than you can consume. That’s the magnificence of the power of choice. Life has many delicious things to choose from.
Do you ever find that you make a decision or a choice and then end up either criticizing the other options or trying to prove that those other options were the wrong choices for you? Maybe that’s never happened to you.
Perhaps you can identify with this scenario: you made a choice at an earlier time in your life and now you are making a new choice. Perhaps this new choice is even the exact opposite of the previous choice. With the new choice comes judgment or criticism about the earlier choice. This is a very common pattern when partnerships break up, and end up with expressions of criticism, judgment, and bitterness.
Or here is another possible scenario. You look at what you have created in your life and then you compare your creations with what others have created. And you try to explain the difference by finding fault with the others who appear to have received more goodies or better experiences.
Certainly at any time in your life, you might have had an isolated experience such as some of these scenarios I have suggested. But if you live regularly in such attitudes, you are in a very unhappy life.
My suggestion is simply that you look at the variety in your life as food on a buffet table. Choose what you want to eat and leave the rest for others.
Life is filled with variety.
The key is to choose what you like and not criticize the rest.
Time and Perception of Time. I became intrigued with the concept of time as a child. At a young age, the intrigue was more precisely with the "perception of time." That is, my view of history class was that it lasted much longer than my arithmetic class, even though both classes were allotted the same amount of time by the clock. (You guessed it, I was bored with history and loved math.)
Observing Myself in Time. I didn’t know how or who to ask for information about what I was perceiving, so I observed quietly. I found that in my "bored" moments, I made very good use of my time. I let ideas flow, solved problems in math, created plots for short stories, and entertained myself with my imagination.
Time and Not Enough Time. Over the last few years the concept of "not enough time" has intensified for most active people. The old "time management" response to complaints of not having enough time was "you have all the time there is." Now I’ve come to realize this is more than a cute reminder to be responsible for effective use of time. It now means to me that we have ALL the time there is RIGHT NOW, a constant now. Now is the only time.
Now is the Only Time we Experience. Only right now can we feel feelings or have experiences of any sort. We can remember the past (that is, in the present, we can remember the past ) and we can imagine the future (that is, in the present, we can imagine the future). The past was once the present; the future will some day be the present. For now, there is only the present.
Time and Timelessness. When I became a regular meditator more than thirty years ago, I was intrigued with time or the perception of time from another facet. My meditation sensitized me still further to awareness of time by the clock while paradoxically tapping me into the consciousness of timelessness. I experience this time/timelessness phenomenon in a powerful way when facilitating guided visualizations and energy work with clients or groups. In timelessness consciousness, healing happens. It is deeply transformative because the beliefs about the limitations of clock-time are not operating.
Being Present in Time. My life style these days is filled with a wide variety of demands on my time. I thrive on the variety. Often, I work for several hours at a stretch with a client, rarely losing the awareness of clock-time while also being aware of stopping or expanding time to serve the client’s needs. I work for long periods of time at my computer, also rarely losing awareness of clock time, while dipping into creativity that is unlimited by time.
I welcome your thoughts on time, perception of time, timelessness, not enough time, being present in time, and anything else this stimulates for you. Time is a fascinating topic. Today — in the only time that is — I have only touched the surface on several facets of time that interest me.
Jeanie Marshall is a Personal Development Consultant and Coach
and a QEC Level 1: Certified Practitioner
Call her at 310-392-1987 for an Private Consultation
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