How To Be Kinder To Yourself
One of the very first lessons we learn as children is that “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” And we get this. We take this with us into adulthood as we consciously try to treat others kindly, respectfully, and empathetically. Everyone except for ourselves, that is. When it comes to the way we speak to ourselves, we often fall far short of kindness. In fact, most of us are pretty darn mean to ourselves. Negative self-talk is a true barrier to happiness, and happiness is a cornerstone of our emotional health. It is built on a foundation of self-love, and self-love requires us to develop healthy, positive, and productive communication–not only with others but with ourselves. Basically, words matter.
The Effects of Negative Self-talk
Let’s start by identifying and understanding our negative self-talk. It is simply this: that nagging little voice in your head that tells you “you’re so dumb,” when you make a mistake, or “this is too hard, I can’t do it,” or “ugh, you look so fat today.” For some reason, adults seem to be hard-wired to talk to themselves this way. We strive to be our best, and when we inevitably fall short sometimes we rarely do so with grace. We beat ourselves up over mistakes when we should be learning from them. We blame our perceived inadequacies when we should be relying on our strengths. So we must understand that negative self-talk not only hinders happiness but emotional growth as well.
So how do we fix it?
The simple answer is, practice. We have to make it a daily practice to reframe our negative thoughts. We can start by creating awareness. We need to be aware of our toxic self-talk before we can begin to replace it with positive self-talk; journaling is a great way to help identify and understand patterns of negative self-talk. Next, we can work on reframing our thoughts. We need to substitute the negative messages and words for positive and empowering affirmations. Here are a few examples:
- Negative: I’m terrible at this / Positive: I’ve never done this before, and challenges help me grow
- Negative: this is too hard / Positive: I am still learning how to do this and I believe in my capabilities
- Negative: I’m a failure / Positive: this didn’t work so I’ll have to try another way
- Negative: I’m a mess / Positive: I showed up today
We can’t stop at just reframing our negative thoughts, though. We need to consistently practice positive self-talk, too. In other words, make it a daily habit to compliment yourself–you deserve it, by the way. Here are few examples:
- I get better every single day
- There is no one better to be than myself
- I have people who love and respect me
- I am capable of so much
- I believe in myself
- I deserve love and happiness
- I can accomplish hard things
Creating your Reality with Words
Consider this – the way you talk to yourself creates your reality. Self-talk can completely shape your life. So yeah, words really matter. Here’s your challenge: the next time you speak to yourself, if you don’t have something nice to say… Think harder until you do!
About the Author
Facebook: Chelsea Hoopaugh
About: Chelsea Hoopaugh is a mother, wife, copywriter, FITNESS PROJECT GROUP exercise instructor, and lover of all things health and fitness.