Anyone can change how they think.
It only requires two words. That’s right, only two words applied to every thought and anyone can change how they think.
Those two words are — repetition and reinforcement.
Every single thing we learn as humans is done through repetition and reinforcement. When we learn that crying out brings someone to our crib, we repeat and reinforce this behavior to get our needs met.
When we learn to crawl, we repeat the necessary movements and reinforce in our brains that this is how we move. The same is done when we walk, talk, learn to feed or dress ourselves. Learn to read or write. It is all repetition and reinforcement.
Everything we think about ourselves is given to us by others. We are not born thinking anything particularly about ourselves outside of we need to eat, be cleaned, and have interaction with others. Everything else someone else teaches us.
If we have positive teachers, they teach us that we are beautiful, valued, strong, kind, loving, etc. If we have negative teachers, they teach us that we are ugly, not worthy, weak, mean, unloving, etc. These teachers start with our first caregivers, parents or whomever assumes our initial care and move on to extended family/caregivers, school teachers, friends, romantic relationships, and on it goes.
Each of these interactions teaches us what to think about ourselves and the world around us. From birth to age 7 we form the beliefs about ourselves that will rule the rest of our lives and our thoughts.
The things they teach us are through repetition and reinforcement. We hear them, see them, feel them over and over. We take them personally knowing no better at the time, and then we tell ourselves we are these things.
Repeatedly and reinforced.
The brain will only believe what you tell it to believe. It is not an artificial intelligence thinking things up on its own. It believes what you tell it is true and only that. If we tell it these negative things are true, it will make them true and we will live them as true.
These reinforced and repeated thoughts can go on for years and years of our lives without challenge or questions. It can then take a very long time to rid ourselves of these thoughts, but it can be done.
One thought at a time.
To change anything you think, you must replace it. Repeatedly and reinforced. Every single time. Each time you think it, it must be replaced with a positive thought or affirmation — repetition and reinforcement.
By doing this, the brain then builds a new neural pathway that will eventually replace the negative one. It is how the brain builds every single neural pathway that lets us function in our lives. Repeat and reinforce and it will believe whatever you tell it.
We must be relentless in this. Just as relentless as we were to learn to walk or write. If we had given up on those things because a thought we believed told us we could not do it, what would have happened? We would not be walking or writing.
Many of us have a very large catalog of negative thoughts that others have taught us to believe about ourselves. It can be overwhelming to think of replacing all of them at once. That is why we use the one step at a time method.
One thought at a time.
I am a worst first kind of person. Tackle the worst thing and everything else seems smaller. What is the worst negative thought you have been trained to think about yourself? Start there. Find a positive replacement immediately.
Then reinforce and repeat, reinforce and repeat, again and again and again every time the negative thought presents itself. Build your new neural pathway of what you believe, what you think, what you feel.
Anyone can change how they think with just these two words — repetition and reinforcement.
Change your mind, change your life — starting right now.
Until next time be well,