What are you talking about?
I remember years ago being in my doctors surgery with my firstborn, who was a toddler at the time and as we were chatting to my G. P as my little one was creating all kinds of mischief. I was big into ‘positive parenting’ and my husband was doing his best to keep my daughter amused and he jokingly said in his soft Irish accent to her ‘ You’re a little thug, what are you?’ Knowing my husband’s humour and kind nature I thought nothing of it but our family G. P was quick to intervene and said ‘be careful of the words you use with your children, as their minds are like sponges, and they might just believe it’. You can imagine the debacle on leaving the surgery, me, with positive parenting head on and my husband baffled by what he had just done to master the art of that conversation.
Over the continued years I battled with my depression and started on the journey to explore and become aware of how to help and empower myself. It was hugely important for me to find the answers, as I had witnessed so much as a child, seeing my Mother struggle with bi-polar and I needed to break the cycle so that it ended with me. So what became apparent when I started on my path of discovery was how the conversation that day in the G.Ps had made an imprint on me.
Can you hear yourself?
It wasn’t like we went home that day after seeing the G.P and became perfect parents but it did add to my awareness of how we can be influenced by our surroundings and in turn start believing unconsciously so much stuff that is said from people all around us.
You may know what I mean; if you think about the conversations you have with yourself. I’m talking about the little voice that’s inside you, dictating whether you are good or bad, can or can’t do something; telling you what you’re afraid of and how dreadful it is when you’ve made a mistake, or how brilliant you are for getting so much done. There can be a lot of chatter and sometimes we are not even aware we are doing it. For some, like myself, it can call for mastering the art of the conversations that you have with yourself.
I hadn’t realised that with all my positive parenting, I was being so focused on my child that I had not looked at how I was talking to myself. It was not surprising that I was having a hard time, because a lot of those conversations were not good. What a revelation it was when I became aware of this self talk and worked on being more kind to myself. I would never have dreamed of talking to anyone like that, so why was I doing it to myself? Can you hear yourself? What are you saying?
Is being selfish really a bad thing?
It is quite surprising when you give yourself time to observe the things you do, but for many of us, we cannot find the time because we are too busy on other things or looking out for others. We even believe if we give time to ourselves it can be seen as selfish, when in reality we need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others.
Melissa Deuter, who is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center says that “Selfish is an ugly word but it can mean two different things,” she says. “One connotation is that you’re unkind and inconsiderate of others. The other is that you take responsibility for getting your personal, emotional and physical needs met, and that’s an important part of becoming an adult.”
It is like being on a plane and the safety talk begins and we are told to put on our own oxygen mask before our children’s, it appears horrid to put our needs first in this way, but if we didn’t, how would we help our children and be there for them.
So give yourself time to observe the conversations you have with yourself and if you begin to change them, it will make a massive difference to your own happiness and it will then ripple out and impact the people you care about.
What are you affirming today?
So did you listen to your own self talk? Were you surprised by what you heard? Either you were delighted with what you heard, really surprised that at times you were so critical, or gave yourself an even harder time for your own self talk. All of that is OK, the main thing is that you are becoming aware of what you are affirming. When I became aware of how I talked to myself, then I could make a choice to do it differently. Don’t get me wrong, I still have days when I have to work harder on it, as I am only human after all. The main thing is that when you start affirming positive things every day, you start believing and becoming what you affirm.
Positive affirmation cards are a great way to get you started if you are not comfortable or don’t know how to begin this process.
So if you choose to use them, it would be useful to get into the practice of reading three affirmations before you go to bed and three when you wake, and then say them with meaning as if you already believe them. Make sure you repeat each affirmation at least 5 or 6 times, this is critical, because you are beginning to start overriding beliefs that have been embedded for maybe a long time. It’s a bit like learning your times table, the more you repeated them over and over again, the easier they began to roll off your tongue. Positive affirmation cards may also be useful to use during the day, if you notice your self talk is not being that helpful just pick out a few that help reframe it, just remember to use the same process as above.
Once you are beginning to create this new habit, it will help you to notice the things you say to yourself more easily and you can then continue on with mastering the art of your conversations. If you notice yourself saying ‘I can’t’ then reframe it to ‘I can’. If you hear yourself saying ‘I am’, make sure the sentence ends with a positive. Such as ‘ I am capable’. At any given time you can start incorporating this into your day, make it fun, go on challenge yourself!! The more you work on what you say, the brighter and happier your day will be, so be patient, be kind, be mindful and be consistent.
I will leave you with a quote from the belated American philosopher Dr Wayne Dyer:
” I AM, two of the most powerful words; for what you put after them shapes your reality”.
I hope this post has been useful, I would love to hear how your conversations are going, so please leave me a comment below or if you have any questions please let me know.
Remember happiness starts with you.
All the best