Tanya Younce, M.Ed., LPCC


You ARE What You Tell Yourself

If I was to have you stand up and put one arm out to the side and have you repeat “I’m weak, I’m weak, I’m weak,” I could easily push that arm down.  But if I had you put it back out and say “I’m strong, I’m strong, I’m strong,” your arm would naturally give more resistance when I tried to push it down.

This is an old therapeutic example of Cognitive Therapy, which supports the theory that our thoughts govern what we believe about ourselves and therefore, how we behave.  

It sounds weird, but your brain doesn’t really know the difference between what’s “real” and what’s not, when it comes to self talk.  It responds to whatever it’s being told.  As another example, if I had you close your eyes and imagine that I’ve just handed you half of a lemon, had you smell it and then put it to your mouth and take a bite out of it, your salivary glands would activate immediately (is your mouth watering now?).  Are you really biting a lemon?  No!!  But your brain was told “I’m biting into a lemon” and it responded by saying “OK, salivary glands….ACTIVATE!”

So what do you tell yourself throughout the day.  What have you believed for years and years that your brain has responded to over and over again, proving that belief “right?”

“I’m terrible at making decisions.”

“I’ll never be able to lose weight.”

“I can’t afford anything nice.”

“I swear, people are out to get me!”


“I’m so excited about this!”

“He totally likes me.”

“I’ve always been good at math.”

“My body looks pretty damn good for my age!”

Any of these messages, if said with enough conviction, will prove to be true, one way or another.  So what DO you tell yourself?  How would you LIKE to talk to yourself and what do you want your mind and body to fully believe and respond to?

People will tell me “But I don’t believe what I’m saying — I’m basically lying to myself.”  

Yeah….kinda.  For now.

But just as if you tried to part your hair on the other side (and it immediately wants to flip back), or if you’re in another country and have to drive on the left side of the road….IT’S NOT GOING TO FEEL NATURAL AT FIRST!

You’ve developed negative ways of thinking of either your self, your partner, your job, your lifestyle…whatever….for many years!!  It’s going to take a while to learn to think differently.  But the difference is that you’re paying more attention to your thoughts, taking time to change them, rather than just going with your knee-jerk reaction.

Believe me….your brain and your body will THANK YOU for feeding it more positive thoughts.  Negative thinking takes a huge toll on you mentally, emotionally, and physically.  

Affirmative beliefs and attitudes, on the other hand, release all kinds of endorphins and keep serotonin levels higher, making you look and feel happier, calm, and actually more attractive!

Change starts with what you tell yourself about the change:  

“It’s going to improve my life.”  

“It’s worth the effort.”

“I can do this.”

“I want this!”

Your brain kicks in and says “YESSSS!!!” and responds by helping you see your potential and your life through a much clearer lens, then lighting the path toward change as you move forward.

 Go for it!  I believe in you. 🙂

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