When you’re a child, you think everyone around you has your best interest at heart. It’s that simple naïveté that is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing if, in fact, everyone around you does have your best interest at heart. It allows others to pour affirmations and kind words into your soul. And it’s a curse when they don’t speak kindly to you, because children being naïve, believe what those around them say. Oftentimes, we carry this naïveté through our whole lives.
If you think back to the time when you were a child or young teen, I hope you were fed truths about yourself, like “You are smart,” “You are loved,” or “You’re going to do great things when you grow up,” because it is the truth.
We are what we are fed and, as a result, what we believe. If you weren’t fed very nice, affirming words, I truly am sorry.
I would argue that many of the ideas we hold as truth about ourselves come from someone else’s flawed opinion of us. This stems back to our childhood and also what we hear as adults. For example, when I was young, someone told me “You can’t sing. Why even try?” after I sang in front of them.
I held this as true for a long time, even though I was only around eight at the time. I refused to sing, even if others were singing along with me. A little while ago, I realized that I wasn’t completely tone deaf . I had held onto that person’s words so tightly for years. Now, I may not be a great singer, but because I internalized those words and took them as truth, I didn’t even try.
When I was a teenager, someone close to me told me I would become overweight soon if I kept eating the way I did, even though I was dancing for 12 hours a week and burning a lot of calories. My body needed the food but I believed them and ventured into borderline disordered eating.
What others tell us about ourselves either causes us to quit trying, like the singing thing or spiral down an unhealthy path, like the eating habits I established. We think “If they said this about me, it must be true.”
Believing what others tell us goes as far as us even believing what someone we aren’t close with said about us, whether to our face or behind our back. One time, someone I barely knew told me I had ugly veins and I looked like an alien. I was ashamed of my veins for years until I took a hold of this lie and told myself the truth. My veins aren’t ugly. They carry blood through my body and they’re honestly kind of cool.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the study where scientists bought two of the same plant and over a period of time, they spoke affirming statements to one, like “You’re a beautiful plant. Your leaves are so green” and to the other they said things like “You are stupid” and “You’ll never grow.”
Each plant received the same amount of water, nutrition, and sunlight, and at the end of the study, the plant that had been spoken to negatively had withered away, while the plant that had been spoken to with nurturing words was alive and well.
Well, did you know the same study was done with water? Yes, you heard that right — water. A Japanese doctor of alternative medicine named Masaru Emoto completed the study by taking two glasses of water, identical in every way. To one he spoke negatively and played “crude” music and to the other, he spoke positively, played classical music, and repeated positive prayers.
Emoto froze the glasses of water and looked at them under a microscope. He reported that the water he had spoken negatively to had produced ugly, uneven crystals and the one he had spoken positively had produced beautiful, perfect crystals.
Now think about this. How much water is in the human body? According to scientists, we are 45-70% water. So, what do negative words do to us?
So, if you’ve ever been spoken negatively to, which I’m sure you have, I just want you to know that you aren’t dumb, you aren’t a failure, and you aren’t ugly. You are smart. You are successful. You are beautiful. It is our responsibility to tell ourselves these things and believe them about ourselves. We must believe our truth.
Maybe, if they would have spoken positively to the plant that was originally put down in the study when it was withering away, it would have regrown and survived.
I really like this quote I read the other day, “I stopped caring what other people thought of me when I realized most people don’t even know what to think about themselves.”