Have you ever noticed that words can be worse than a wad of gum stuck on the bottom of our shoes? Words can be sticky. And, sticky words linger. They follow us. Much like a wad on the bottom of our shoe, they can impact the very steps we take. Or, they may cause us not to take steps we wish we could. If we’re not careful, they may impact who we become. It happened to me over 20 years ago. Maybe you recognize the scenario:
He said I was beautiful, and I believed him.
He said I had potential and that I was going places. He filled my mind with ambitions, dreams, and promise for the future. And I believed him.
But then he said I was useless, and when things went wrong, it was my fault. He told me I’d be nothing without him, that without him I’d be all alone, and that no one else would ever love me.
And, I believed him.
For years, I believed him.
Eventually I didn’t need him to tell me that I wasn’t good enough because I told myself. And, I believed me.
Has it happened to you too? We push words spoken to us deep into our minds pretending they didn’t sting, or we hope that they’ll fade over time. The problem is, what we bury in our thoughts feeds our hearts. And, we believe it.
What we hold on to, holds on to us.
Words can all too easily become our internal tapes. Perhaps unknowingly we allow them to be seared upon our hearts. The voices who spoke the careless words may have long since been silenced in our lives but their lingering echo continues to wreak havoc in how we see ourselves.
The power of a new tape.
Over the past year I had the power to break some internal tapes that I’ve been holding on to for years. Residual internal dialog, subconscious thoughts beyond what I was aware of, yet they spoke a negative sense of value to my heart. I put myself in a box and put my potential on a shelf. At the same time, I had become stagnant in my life and my faith. What surprised me about my internal aha is that the change I needed was up to me and within my grasp all along. It all came down to a choice, my choice. Do I believe what was spoken to me and what I’ve repeated to myself, or do I believe what God says about me?
It was time for a new tape. Actively I began to change how I spoke to myself and what words I allowed to land in my heart. It’s a change that is powerful. It’s freeing. Maybe you need a new tape too? If you do, it’s time to re-write your ending.
Re-write your ending.
Recently I read the quote “Whatever follows ‘I am’ follows you.”
How we complete the sentence ‘I am’ has immense power. It speaks life or death. How do you finish ‘I am?’ Why not consider replacing some of the way-to-common words with empowering words that remind you of your value.
Examples of new endings:
I am not enough. I am enough. (Psalm 18:35b Your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.)
I am stupid. I am able. (Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.)
I am alone. I am never alone. (Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.)
I am weak. I am strong. (Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.)
I am a failure. I am an overcomer. (John 16:33 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.)
I am unimportant. I matter. (Isaiah 43:4 Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.)
I am unaccepted. I am chosen. (1 Peter 2:9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.)
I’m useless. I am made for a purpose. (Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.)
How have you finished ‘I am’ in the past? Do you need to write a few new endings? Identify the sticky words you’ve held on to, or that you’ve believed. Counter them with new sentences that empower you to be the best you that you were made to be. And, the next time someone speaks a negative word to you, let it fall on the ground instead of letting it land in your heart.
Can you relate to what I’ve been through? Have you repeated words to yourself and believed them long after they were spoken? Why not click and join the conversation? And, if this post encouraged you, why not share it with your friends so that they can be encouraged too?
A few other posts you may enjoy:
- The 3 Powerful Sentences You Need to Break Old Tapes
- How an Awkward Moment Changed My Opinion of Value
- How a Pop Quiz Can Change Your Perspective on Self-Talk