Albus Dumbledore said “Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.” The words we use to describe ourselves, our lives and our actions are really important – they have a huge impact on our self-esteem and our chances of success.
If you’ve read my memoir, The Sober Diaries, you’ll know that I spent many years trying to quit drinking. And that sentence illustrates the problem. I would tell myself I am going to try really hard not to drink. But within that thought there was already a get-out clause. I’m going to really try, but – obviously, I may fail. And so I did.
One of the main reasons my final attempt to quit worked was that I changed the language I used. Instead of telling myself that I was going to try to quit booze, I told myself that I was a non-drinker. The more often I thought this, and the more frequently I spoke those words, the more I started to believe it.
The trick is to picture yourself as you want to be, then start using the language, both to yourself and to others, that that person would use. That sober person, that happy person, that successful person.
We women are particularly bad at doing this. We speak to ourselves in a way we’d never let other people talk to us. We tell ourselves that we are fat, boring, unattractive or old. We constantly belittle ourselves to other people.
It’s really hard to break this habit, but when you do it can change your life. It transforms the way you see yourself, and then the way that other people see you.
So, here’s a really simple, but miraculous, self-esteem hack.
On the day I quit drinking, I changed all the passwords on all my various apps and shopping and banking accounts to iamsober. Every day I typed those words endless times, and the more I typed them, the more I believed them.
(Side note: If you are a cyber criminal, please note that I have now changed all these passwords to something entirely different involving lots of strange characters that even I can’t remember).
This trick can work with any change you want to make, or any self-esteem issue you need to address. Just make sure that you don’t use it on an account where you’ll need to disclose your password. No-one wants to tell their bank manager that their password is iamsosexy.
Try it, and see if you can stop using your words to put yourself down, and instead turn them into a source of magic.
I’m off to change all my passwords to ihatecake.
There’s lots more on the Life in the Hot Lane Facebook page, including Lisa Timoney on the importance of our female friendships, and introducing Throwback Thursday for fabulous memories of the eighties (who else loved their Sony Walkman more than life itself?) If you ‘like’ the page it’ll keep you updated.