Often-heard messages ‘sink in’
Reading time 3 mins
I don’t know what he did wrong but he’d certainly annoyed his mother.
‘Don’t you ever, ever, do that again.
You stupid, stupid little boy.
Do you hear me?
I won’t stand for it.
Never, ever again’
Each phrase was emphasised with a smack on the bottom.
The three year old was in tears. The woman was beside herself with anger.
No doubt she was well-intentioned and wanted to teach him an important life-lesson.
I am sure that her intention wasn’t to set him up for a life-time of low self confidence and self esteem.
How hypnosis works
Traditional hypnosis works by ensuring the hypnotist’s messages are accepted unquestioningly by the inner or unconscious part of the mind. To do this the hypnotist needs to bypass the conscious mind – the gatekeeper. And she does this in a number of ways – one of which is repeat the message over and over again.
The constantly repeated messages we receive as children help form our self esteem and self confidence. These messages have added power if received when we are in a highly emotional state. So the little boy’s scared and tearful state made him very susceptible to the repetition of ‘stupid, stupid’ message. Such messages have all the impact of powerful hypnosis.
Maintaining the negative messages
Happily most of our un-useful childhood impressions or beliefs are weakened by later experiences and by the passing of time…
…unless we unwittingly continue the process of negatively hypnotising ourselves…
Listen to your self-talk – the on-going silent chatter in your head. Is this building you up or undermining you?
Whenever you make a mistake do you say ‘you stupid, stupid boy/girl’. When someone criticises you do you silently agree with them as if it’s yet more proof of your low self worth? Are you carrying on the negative hypnosis of overworked and impatient teachers or loving but scared and incompetent parents?
Our self talk messages have a very powerful hypnotising affect on us. Just like hypnosis they are so repetitious that we rarely challenge them.
They are relentless – so we stop consciously ‘hearing’ them. And they are either so monotonous that we are lulled into a passively accepting them or are very emotionally charged and impactful.
Many people recognise this and try to stop this negative self-hypnosis. But most of them go about it the wrong way – by trying to not talk to themselves.
So let’s get one thing clear – you will never stop your self talk. Accept that and you are half-way to ending the self-undermining. What’s more your self talk is a valuable part of your thinking. It is what you say to yourself that needs attention.
Dis-empowering the negative messages
- One effective but deceptively simple is to notice and challenge the old messages. By paying attention to them, dragging them into the light of day, we reduce their power.
- Back this up by questioning their validity: “Is this really true of my life today – all these years later…?”
Keep it simple and you’re more likely to do it – as opposed to think about it!
Incidentally, this is a lot more effective than trying to stop the negative self talk because the more you try to NOT think of something the more fixated on it you become.
Do it whenever you find yourself silently repeating old thread-bare messages from when you were very young – and remind yourself that you are a different person now – and that a lot has changed since way back then.
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