Talking to myself…The conversation needs to be kinder!
Have you ever caught yourself talking to yourself out loud? Or maybe you’re the kind of person who talks to yourself in your own head. The head is thinking, but the lips aren’t moving. Well the other day I was thinking out loud and I was stunned with how I addressed myself. Although I can’t remember the topic of conversation, I remember word for word what I said to myself. It went like this, “Buck up buttercup and quit whining… You need to put your big girl panties on and forge forward; you’re not done mourning yet…really? What are you going do…cry again?
My immediate thought was, “I wouldn’t speak to my enemy like that!” Who knows why, at that moment, that those words hung in the air long enough for me to remember them? I am almost positive that I have spoken to myself in even harsher tones with more colorful language. For whatever reason, this moment stuck in my head. Why was I speaking to myself in that tone, with no mercy, no kindness, no understanding?
In the past 5 years, I have been through the proverbial “ringer”. I had a total of 6 deaths; two of them were my parents. I have every right to mourn, to feel sad, but I was not having it. My conversation with myself was demeaning. It was downright brutal. I would never talk to someone else like that. If I knew someone who had a similar life story, I would sit quietly and listen to their pain. But I found it interesting that I would not give this to myself. From that point on I started paying attention to the way I spoke to myself. Let me say, I was not impressed; in fact it made me downright sad.
I am always saying that you can’t give away anything you won’t give yourself. For example, if you can’t love yourself, you can’t love another. If you won’t give yourself grace for making a mistake, then you won’t give those around you a pardon. I finally came to the conclusion that if I wanted to treat the world better, than I would have to, I mean get to treat myself better. I would need to change my self-talk in ways that gave me more grace, understanding, love, and credit. The way you “give yourself…” anything is to first say it with your mouth. It begins with your self-talk.
After this epiphany, I began to pay attention to my self-talk. I intentionally began changing how I spoke to myself. I would leave myself messages on my phone at work or at home and end my reminder with, “You are a beautiful woman who is changing the world.” When I would start to feel bad about missing my Dad or my Mom or I would start crying because I felt lonely, I would say to myself that I had permission to mourn…permission to be sad.
Maybe it’s the awareness. I am now aware of the conversations I am having with myself. I have begun treating myself with care, honest assessment, understanding and kinder words. It didn’t take long before I noticed that I was, in general, treating people around me better. What I find intriguing is that I always thought of myself as a positive person, and I believe that I still am. But when no one was looking, and I was whispering thoughts in the silence of my own mind, I was sabotaging all that I could be. There is no doubt I have lived a great life…but I have always wanted more than the natural…I want the supernatural. I want a life that changes the world…changes me. I realize now that life begins with the words I tell myself while waiting at the stoplight, getting out of the shower, putting on my makeup, kneeling at church. My life begins and ends with the words that I tell myself…my very own self-talk.
The other day I went to an appointment and a woman forgot about the appointment. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and rescheduled my appointment. In another instance, there was a mistake with my health insurance and the lady said she would look into it and call me back. She didn’t. I called the next day and told her it was O.K. The minute I started treating myself better, I started seeing and experiencing me changing so quickly it made my head spin. I really was treating people better. I was giving myself the benefit of the doubt and now could give it away. I was valuing myself and my contributions and now could value other people’s contributions.
So here is the challenge…Starting now, start listening to how you speak to yourself. PAY ATTENTION. The next time you put yourself down for not being perfect, or call yourself names, I want you to stop, notice and change your tone and conversation with yourself. I want you to make a pledge to talk to yourself like a valued human being, like you are someone important, like you are worthy. I am confidant, that after changing your self-talk, you will begin to notice changes in how you treat the world.
Keep in mind: It all begins with how you talk to yourself when no one is looking.