Just as your environment has helped to create your Self-Concept, so has the pattern and quality of your thinking. Of course, there are times when we make an effort to think positively, regardless of conditions in our environment. But a lot of negative thinking slips by us sometimes “silently” in the way we “talk” to ourselves. “I can’t do this,” we think to ourselves. “I’ll never be able to do that, I’ll always be fat, I’m too shy to speak up, I can’t sing…” Strongly believing these things, we never give ourselves the opportunity to discover who we really are. We rarely stop and question our assumptions. Are we really this way? Where did those thoughts come from? When did we start believing these things, and why?
When I tell the person who is too shy to speak in front of people that he may be mistaken about his lack of ability, he might say, “You’re wrong. The proof that I’m too shy is that I can’t do it!” Or I might hear from another, “the proof that I can’t sing is that I can’t sing!” Or, “the proof that I’m poor in school is that I get poor grades!”
But that isn’t proof at all. Here’s what it really is. Somewhere, sometime, these people starting believing these assumptions. There could be lots of reasons why. Usually the reasons go back to some person, some group, or some authority figure from their main environment, like a parent or teacher or relative. When you’re young and dependent, you pretty much have to accept what these authority figures tell you, and you create your personality and expectations for yourself based on these outside opinions.
When you’re young, you don’t have the freedom to simply leave your environment, and you probably don’t have the power to change it even if you want to. When you become an independent adult, however, you can exercise the power of choice to make changes. In the Jung SuWon training that I teach, we never regard an unfortunate past as an excuse to continue negative thinking in the present. The power to produce change depends on making choices right now in spite of the past that lead to achieving your goals.