Theories are general ideas about how the world works. The theories we have about ourselves of why and how things happen shape our interaction with the world. However, theories are not absolute truths.For example :
‘if I am nice to people, they will be nice to me’
‘I suck at dancing’
‘I am really good at maths’
These are all theories you have built over time based on evidence over the years. Even when there are occurrences that challenge your theory, you tend to dismiss them because you know they don’t fit in your theory.(Nobody really likes cognitive dissonance).
Let’s say you tried to dance and someone says you are really terrible at it, you may or may not accept this as a fact.If it happens repeatedly, and you get the same comments, you automatically start accepting this. This becomes your theory, ‘I really suck at dancing because of ………’ , you say to yourself. If the comment was different and the person said you’re really good at dancing, you also believe this.
Now, this is not just about negative or positive affirmations, it’s about how we construct our reality based on events and their occurrences. This can be likened to what psychologists refer to as ‘Operant Conditioning’. Your ability to dance or lack thereof might be based on certain environmental factors such as ambience, type of music, stakes – will people make fun of you or not if you mess up , or in some case for some people, the level of alcohol in your system. Some people who think they suck at dancing have been known to be very good dancers under the influence of alcohol.
This becomes dangerous when you create theories that are detrimental to your dreams. When you consistently affirm such theories like ‘ I am don’t know what I want with my life’ or ‘I am not sure I have what it takes because…..’, you begin to sabotage yourself and you create a reality that does not help you create the type of life you want.
So how do you form or break positive or negative theories you have about yourself?
1.Find the negative theories. It helps to be true to yourself. Next time you catch yourself thinking, ‘I suck at dancing’ take note of it and challenge it.
2.Create a new theory: What if you replaced the theory, ‘I Suck at dancing’ with ‘I can be an excellent dancer’. It doesn’t hurt anyone. What you need to do is to look for evidence to support this claim.
3.Prove new theory by collecting fresh evidence: Yes put yourself in situations where you gather fresh data about your new theory.
4.Practise everyday and enjoy the life of creating the theories that support the type of person you want to become.