Becoming What We Say

From the moment we open our mouths, we begin to create a certain perception of ourselves...and as we all know, perception can quickly become reality. I have become increasingly aware of this since I started incorporating hypnosis into my practice. And now, I do my part to prevent these negative perceptions from becoming truths by forcing my patients to curb their habit of verbal self-abuse, at least when they are in my presence. I don't allow patients to speak about themselves disparagingly, or to engage in self-defeating statements. This is what I tell clients, all the time: look into a mirror and say, "I'm fat" often enough, and this will quickly become your reality. When you make this sort of statement, you are forming a negative visualization. Visualization is a powerful tool, and it needs to be used wisely. If you see yourself as fat, you will be fat. See yourself as a sick person, and you will feel sick. The way you define yourself will quickly become who you are.

Here is a good example: a few weeks ago, I signed up for some TRX and weight-training classes. I haven't lifted anything heavier than a needle in a long, long time. As a result, I was feeling kind of nervous about taking these classes. I didn't want to be the one who had to use the baby weights, and I also didn't want to tear anything due to my lack of muscular strength. As I lifted each weight and did each exercise, I could feel my muscles shaking due to their jello-like consistency. I kept explaining to my trainer that my muscles were sadly out of shape, and that I have the upper-body strength of a 90-year-old. As I forced myself through the workout, I wondered if I would make it to the finish line.

Halfway through, the trainer gave me a break and began to converse with me. "You know," she said, "You keep talking about how weak and out of shape you are, but you're actually in pretty good shape. You're definitely not at a beginner level when it comes to this-more like intermediate to advanced."

The first thought in my mind was a doubtful, "really?" But then I started working out again, and miraculously, the weights all seemed a lot lighter. As I pushed through, I even felt motivated to increase my reps and weight, although ten minutes before I was convinced that I would be dead by the end of the workout. It was amazing how differently I felt when I was given a new truth. I had limited myself with a particular label, and once that label was replaced by a more positive one, I began to accomplish far more than I had hoped for.