We all know that words matter. We all know that the rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”…. is rubbish.
There have been many times in my life that if had a time machine and I could have chosen for a broken bone over hurtful words that were spoken over me… I would do it!
My worst enemy.
Some of those words I wish that I could un-hear… I said to myself.
Negative self-talk is a big burden I am working on unloading. I still am working to overcome repeating in my head things that were said to me or that I said to myself over and over when I am tired or stressed. Some of those things were said 20 or more years ago!
And mentally I know those words don’t matter anymore. Because they never did. But when those intrusive thoughts come into my mind I feel my heart trip over itself, I get a queasy feeling in my stomach. And I lose my spark a little bit. Not every time, but too many times.
Add more good.
One thing that I have been a champion of lately is replacing bad with good. it’s not enough to weed out the unhealthy habits without replacing them with good ones. After all if you are obsessed with fatty foods and just cut them but don’t add anything to replace them you might starve!
In my last blog about Breathing I talked about replacing your stress with steps to manage that stress.
So today I am talking about cutting those bad words and replacing them with good words.
Now there may be some lingering doubt in your mind and I want to eliminate that! I learned about a study where students were given written instructions to relay messages to a person in another room. When they arrived to the person they were to relay the message to that person was engaged in conversation with someone else.
In the first group of students the instructions were written in a polite manner. And most of those students waited 10 minutes or more before interrupting the person they were supposed to relay the message to.
The second group was given the same instructions but the instructions were written in rude and curt manner. Most of the students in that group interrupted the person they were supposed to relay the message to in 5 minutes or less.
When I read that study I thought, “how much easier would a cashier’s day be if everyone was polite to him/her?” but even on a smaller scale than that, how much easier would it be for that cashier if every other person was polite to them? What if I am in line right in front of a person who is going to be rude? If I am polite how much easier will it be for that cashier to make it through that difficult interaction?
A friend paid me a sweet compliment recently and I felt so good soaking in her words. I joked with her that I wished she could follow me around all day and shower me with affirmations. Doesn’t that sound so amazing!? A little angel on your shoulder telling you you are killing it! Encouraging you when you mess up, “it’s ok! you can do better with the next item on the list!”
And as amazing as that would be… imagine if those thoughts were inside your head all day every day. Imagine if you didn’t have to live with that negative voice.
How much easier would it be to manage my toddler’s tantrums if I have been building myself up in the time leading up to the tantrum.
“You are a good mom!”
“Breastfeeding is hard sometimes but you are working through!”
“You made an informed decision!”
“You are accomplishing so much today!”
“You were so patient through helping your child with their homework!”
“You remembered to pray today!”
“You handled that contraction amazingly, you can handle the next one too!”
I know, easier said than done! And if you’re like me you may be doubting that there is enough positive things to say about yourself to drown out the ocean of self-doubt.
With anything I always suggest starting small. I promise that if you sit down you will find at least one thing positive about yourself. And if you can’t find someone in your life who will give you some!
But now what!?
Changing your self talk can be done! I am still a working progress but proof that it can be done!
- Reminders: Write as many positive things as you can about yourself on sticky notes and scatter them around your house!
- Reach out: Be honest with the people in your life when you are feeling down and need encouragement. It takes a village!
- Pay it forward: Compliment other people often! Speaking positively towards others is beneficial for them but also for yourself. It will help it become a habit. And might even encourage them to do the same for you and others!
- Lean into the truth: When you do think negative thoughts counter them with the truth. “Yes I messed up but I am going to make it right,” “No, I don’t ‘always’ do that, I sometimes do that and it will happen less and less.” be honest but also positive!
- Limit the negative influences in your life: If you have friends or family that are very negative consider giving yourself some space while you overcome (this doesn’t mean you have to cut them out entirely).
- Mindful media: Filter the media in your life to be as positive as you can. Follow encouraging social media pages, watch uplifting movies and tv shows, listen to positive music!
Remember if your cup is full of positivity, positivity will pour out! If your cup is filled with negativity, negativity will pour out.
What will you fill your cup with?