Self-Realization Fellowship Blog

“See Yourself as Having Made the Change You Are Seeking!” by Lawrence Martin

May 31, 2023


The following is an excerpt from the article “Reinventing Your Life: Eight Self-Change Strategies That Work,” which appeared in an issue of Self-Realization magazine in the spring of 2004. Lawrence Martin, a longtime Kriyaban devotee of SRF, lives in Southern California.

It’s time to pause and notice the inner conversation you are having within yourself. What do you say when you talk to yourself? Are you complimentary? Are you encouraging?

Negative self-talk causes us to doubt, be unsure, worry, and lack confidence. Positive self-talk provides strong new messages to help us overcome longtime fears and obstacles, become more confident, as well as look, act, and feel more in control.

Paying Attention to the Types of Self-Talk

Psychologist Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D., in What to Say When You Talk to Your Self, describes various levels of self-talk with which we program our subconscious mind. Pay attention, he suggests, to the kind of “I” statements you feed your mind, such as:

— “I can’t.” Helmstetter calls this the worst type and, unfortunately, one of the most common “programs” we feed the mind. Attentiveness to your use of this phrase will help you to root out negative, self-limiting beliefs and replace them with positive goals for improvement.

— “I should.” This is better, but still basically negative, Helmstetter says, because you have recognized a problem but are not focusing on a solution.

— “I never.” or “I no longer.” At this level, self-talk starts working for you instead of against you, says Helmstetter. You have recognized the need to change and made the decision to do something about it. Most important, you are expressing it to yourself as though the change has already taken place, which helps to reprogram the subconscious mind.

— “I am.” Here you are affirming to the subconscious a new image of yourself, the fruition of your ideals and goals for self-change. This kind of self-talk is the opposite of “I can’t”; it mobilizes the power of your subconscious mind to help you rather than to keep you stuck in negative psychological ruts.

Start Now, Try Now — and Change Your Life

Start working on your self-talk immediately. Notice the next negative comment you give yourself; try to rephrase the statement into something positive. And practice visualization and affirmation during your leisure time — see and describe yourself as having made the change you are seeking. Eventually you will be able to stop negative self-talk in mid sentence.

Self-Realization magazine was created in 1925 by Paramahansa Yogananda and since its first issue has been dedicated to the healing of the body, mind, and soul. Self-Realization is currently an annual print issue with a subscription option providing an extensive online library of past articles from Paramahansaji, past and current SRF/YSS presidents, and other favorite SRF authors, as well as an audio library of talks published with the magazine.

Leave a comment

This is very helpful. Thank you for this reminder. I’m going to practice this.

Lee Nourse

This is such a valuable piece of guidance. I’m grateful for the reminder. Insofar as our thoughts create our reality, how we talk to ourselves is something to never stop monitoring. Thank you for posting these wise words on this platform. Jai Guru.


Just yesterday I wrote an affirmation in my journal that started with I want. Then I looked at it and wrote I Will !

Urvashi Sibal

I landed on this blog while scrolling through the SRF website today morning, and found my inspiration from Guruji through this writer:
"What do you say when you talk to yourself? Are you complimentary? Are you encouraging?"
Thank you! Sharing it further. ❤️🕉️

Anita Neilson

Lots of practical suggestions on changing our focus from negative to positive. That's what I love about Guru's teachings. They are so practical, helping us to thrive in this world of maya. Thank you. Jai Guru.


Thank you. I come from India and in India we are not allowed to make mistakes. Sometimes, this is very hard and has resulted in poor self confidence in my case. My self talk is always blaming myself and off late, I have started to change this. Thank you, for these tips. I will be using them. Jai Guru.

Alejandra Peterson

I am currently studying the SRF lessons. I feel a very strong belonging in my heart and I am so thankful for all I have learned.
Thank you so much for all you have done for me and others.
Alejandra Peterson

Timmaris McDowell

Thank you for these wonderful articles and current talk by Mukti Mata. So many devotees ( me included)
Need encouragement in this area.
I recently bought the new book by David Burns ( Feeling Great) Mukti Mata referenced his work in her talk on Self Esteem.
I remember when his first book “Feeling Good” was reviewed in the SRF magazine back in the 80’s. I am hoping that SRF will mention his new and updated book, “ Feeling Great” to help devotees to think positively about them selves and others!! He offers definite methods on how to achieve this.

In Divine Friendship, TM

Olivia Pellegrini

I find all these articles so incredibly helpful. Everything that is said resonates with me. I am so Grateful.

Lou Dubnow

What an excellent article! Our minds are so powerful! We can talk ourselves into or out of anything, if left rudderless our minds can be like a 3 year old with a bazooka! It is so important to take control of how we think and therefore speak about ourselves. Thank you for reposting this!

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