Master the Art of Conversation.


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

Ali x








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16 thoughts on “Master the Art of Conversation.

  1. Dave says:

    Such a great article! As a parent, we often (if not always) put our children first and forget about ourselves. I’ve seen this firsthand with my wife and how she spiraled like yourself. It’s taken nearly 10 years for her to get back to a point where she think she can go back to university to focus on “her” and “not the kids”.

    Also, when you mention “is it selfish?” you’re completely bang-on! I had a close friend point out to me the importance of working on “OUR” relationship before the “kids”. If we don’t work on the “us”, there will be no “them” later on…

    Such a good post and thanks for sharing…

    • Ali says:

      Hi Dave, so glad it resonated with you and thank you for your kind comments. I am really glad things are now on track for your wife and you are lucky to have such a good friend looking out for you both. It is amazing how at times the things we do are so for the right reasons can catch us out, it takes another observer to see and relay it back. So if we learn to become our own observer, like in this post, it can be very powerful and help rekindle who we really are.

  2. vivek says:

    I think in addition to monitoring our own self talk, some form of mindfulness or meditation helps immensely. I noticed it with myself when I meditated, I was far more aware of what was going on in my head and was able to detach myself from my thoughts..basically not identify with it.

    This was a great post and a very nice reminder of the need to be more aware and be kinder to ourselves.

    • Ali says:

      Hi Vivek,you are so right, its about allowing yourself that time to slow down. In my article ‘little things make me happy’ it refers to being mindful of our surroundings, again detracting from our thoughts and certainly meditation is a great way of supporting that. Thanks for your input.

  3. Taianne Newkirk says:

    A great article. I am such a “negative Nellie” and this is something I need to work on personally. Thanks for the great tips!

    • Ali says:

      Thanks Taianne for dropping by, I’m glad the tips were useful to you. Let me know if there is anything in particular you would like further tips on.

  4. Bao Vang says:

    This hit home. I once randomly said to my son “What is wrong with you?” in a joking tone but he repeated to me and I realize how wrong that was. I’ve said it to myself before but never heard anyone say it to me. That’s when I started watching what I say to myself. I thought that was weird but now I see that it’s not weird at all. This is a really good article. Keep at it!

    • Ali says:

      Hi Bao, thank you for your comment, it is so true, there are times we underestimate the impact of the things we say. What a great lesson you learnt from your son. Fantastic!! Thank you for the kind feedback, I will most certainly, keep it up.

  5. Heather says:

    What a fantastic post – and I am glad you started working on you. Our kids are so important and we need to be there for them in the best way possible. Moms don’t take enough time for themselves. I have affirmation cards and I don’t say them often enough. They are sitting in an index card holder – not doing much good there! I am going to start flipping through them again and updating them. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Ali says:

      Hi Heather, thanks for your contribution. Yes I have recognised I was always a giver and sometimes it is easy to fall into that trap of finding it difficult to receive, or give to ourselves. Having been in the profession of helping others too, I have noticed this to be quite a trend in this field too, so its a very important learning. It makes such a difference in all aspects of your life. Glad it has helped to remind you to bring out your affirmation cards once again. Have you any favourite affirmations that you like to use?

  6. Jo says:

    A lovely article. As a parent of two young children I do completely relate! I became aware that I did nothing for myself, but struggled to find the time to actually give myself back any time, until they started to spend time at school.
    I also liked to try the positive parenting approach, but I must say that it has been so much easier to carry out since I have a few hours to myself every morning. Exercise is another good way people get some me-time.. alright if someone can look after the children.

    Well done, I’m sure this we resonate with most parents out there 😉

    • Ali says:

      Thank you Jo, I know its difficult when they are young. Mine were 16 months between them. Its a whole new transition in life, but there are some great groups out there, to support one an other. Glad you are settling in now, and allowing yourself that time to exercise. All the best Ali

  7. Mike says:

    Excellent post! I am guilty of having the little voice in me say negative things. I will definitely start being more conscious of what I say and make certain they are positive. I have bookmarked your site, it’s great!

    • Ali says:

      Hi Mike, I’m so glad you enjoyed my post and thank you for bookmarking my site and giving great feedback. I’m glad it has helped raise your awareness. All the best Ali

  8. Courtney says:

    This was so great! I definitely need to work on speaking more positively to myself. I plan on being more aware of this!

    • Ali says:

      Thank you Courtney for your kind words. I’m glad you recognised what you need to do for yourself. You will be surprised the difference it makes. All the best Ali

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