Negative self-talk erupted out of a co-worker’s mouth, causing me to cringe. “You shouldn’t talk that way about yourself,” I said.
A former co-worker lives by the mantra, “What you tell yourself really matters.” And she’s right. Our thoughts and words are powerful.
We can be our harshest critics, but at the end of the day, we still have to live with ourselves. So maybe it’s time we stop beating ourselves up and replace negative self-talk with pep talks.
The pep talk Evan Baxter gave himself in the movie “Evan Almighty” comes to mind: “I am successful, I am powerful, I am handsome, I am happy.” Saying those words to himself in the mirror was part of his daily morning routine, a reminder of his job status, his influence, his looks, and his feelings or state of being. He knew that even if he didn’t feel those things at the time he said them, saying them aloud would reiterate their truth and importance.
I also think of the movie “The Help,” in which housemaid Aibileen Clark encouraged the little girl in her care daily with, “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.” Aibileen would look the girl in the eyes and say those words and then have the girl repeat them back. The woman knew the significance of feeding that growing little mind with words that would translate into positive self-talk.
What about you? What do you tell yourself?
Hearing others say positive things about us can be good, but if we don’t internalize and believe those things personally, they carry little weight. We have to believe those characteristics others see in us have merit in order to take them to heart and live them as truth.
I think you are kind, smart, and important. It’s time you started telling yourself the same things.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"