I’m sure you have a memory similar to this one of mine…our little toddler, excited by his newfound independence has a glass of milk in his hand (and not in a sippy cup, oh no, that’s for babies!) and lifts it to his mouth for a big drink. Keep the milk in the cup we say to him, and carefully he does just that. Success!
Try this. Say a word out loud and then stop and observe how your mind responds. Boat. Cup. House.
What comes onto the screen of your mind? A picture. We THINK in pictures.
From the moment our children start to move around, we spend a lot of energy keeping them away from things that could hurt them, keeping them safe, making sure they DON’T do a lot of things. We’ve all either said these things or heard other parents say them: “Don’t touch the plug…! Don’t fall off your bike…! Don’t spill your milk…” A lot of “Don’ts” reach those little ears…and it’s incredible how many times what the adult says NOT to do, DOES happen. And then we say – “Didn’t I tell you not to touch that! See, I told you you were going to fall down! I told you not to spill your milk!”
When we understand how the mind works, and the role that words and picture play in our physical experience it’s actually quite predictable that these things we, as parents, want to prevent, DO happen – because of the words we use. Our mind is so powerful that what we see on the screen of our mind can, and often does, come to pass. You see, your young child’s subconscious mind is completely open – everything you say goes straight in. The subconscious mind is our emotional mind – while our conscious mind is our intellectual or thinking mind – and doesn’t distinguish between a Don’t or a Do. Our subconscious mind can only accepts ideas, these words and images.
So, when you say “Don’t touch that plug” – the picture in the mind is ‘touch that plug’. Can you even think of what a picture of ‘don’t touch that plug’ looks like??
“Don’t fall off your bike” becomes ‘fall of your bike’ and “Don’t spill the milk” becomes ‘spill the milk’. Get it? If we want our children to stay safe, keep the floor clean, we have to say what we DO want them to do. Try these out loud and observe the picture that comes onto the screen of your mind. It’s a much better picture, isn’t it!
Keep your hand away from the plug. Stay steady on your bike. Keep the milk in the cup.
My husband and I worked very hard to retrain ourselves to say things in the positive. It wasn’t easy at first and in anxious moments – our son is about to fall off the monkey bars – it’s the DON’T that comes out in fear. But the retaining is worth it! You will see the results right away. And over time you will find yourself yelling out “Hang on tight” when you see them falter – and watch them hang on!
As our sons are growing up, we are teaching them to do this too. Don’t tell me what you don’t want, tell me what you do want! As we head toward the teen years with our eldest this focus on communicating what we and he WANTS has been an excellent foundation, and continues to create empowering mindset shifts.
Of course, this works for us as adults too. Don’t say to yourself “I don’t want to be sick anymore” which create a picture in your mind of being sick…say “I want to be healthy and strong”. Don’t say “I want to get out of debt” which only brings in pictures of being in debt…say “I want to live a prosperous live”.
Learning how to use your mind, language and visualizing is key to changing behaviours and improving results. Sound fun? You bet, and SO worth the time and effort! If you are ready to change YOUR life for better results, get in touch! I’d love to see how I could help you.