Right now, you are talking to yourself. All day, every day, you talk to yourself about the world around you––narrating, interpreting, judging. More importantly, you talk to yourself about you.
Depending upon your beliefs about yourself and your environment, your self-talk can help you achieve emotional well-being and personal and professional successes, or it can make you miserable and seriously limit your potential to form healthy relationships and find satisfaction in your life.
As a kid, you soaked up your environment and made meaning out the things you saw, heard, and were told. If every time you got angry your mother sent you to your room without dinner, you learned over time to bury your anger. If your father only paid attention to you when you brought home trophies, winning became the only thing that mattered to you.
At one time, your beliefs protected you and helped you navigate your life. But as an adult, believing you can’t express your anger or that winning is all that matters – doesn’t help you anymore. It limits you.
To understand how your unconscious beliefs impact your life, think of them like they’re part of a mathematical equation.
The American psychologist Albert Ellis (1913-2007) proposed a very simple formula to explain the very complicated ways in which we react to our environments: A + B = C.
A stands for “Activating Event”: You have a group project due in two days and all of your team members have gone home early. Your wonderful first date never called you for a second one.