HOW DO YOU TALK TO YOURSELF: THE STORY WE TELL OURSELVES
The words we use are important. We think carefully about how we speak to our loved ones, but we seldom think about how we talk to ourselves. This post is a reminder that kind words matter, especially the words that we speak over ourselves. How do you talk to yourself and why does it matter for your own self-care and self-love?
SPEAKING KIND WORDS
One of my favourite sayings to quote at my kids when they’re feeling sad, anxious, angry or down is this…
“How you think about things determines how you feel about them.”
When I think about it, it’s not just how you think which changes the meaning, but it’s the words we use when we give voice to those thoughts.
What words do you use to describe those thoughts? Are they positive and empowering or negative and detrimental? Do they encourage, inspire and motivate or hurt, punish and deprecate?
The words we use to describe and put voice to our thoughts and, in turn, our feelings determine our approach, decisions, actions and ultimately the consequence.
Speak kind words to yourself like you would speak kind words to those you love and care about and see what a difference it makes.
HOW DO YOU TALK TO YOURSELF?
This week I shouted at my kids and they shouted back. It’s not a moment I’m proud of and really I should have found a different way to vent my frustrations and get my point across. Yet, I got caught up in my own tired and angry emotions and shouted. My kids shouted back and, in many ways, I can’t blame them. They were only following my example and giving back as good as they received.
It’s definitely not my finest parenting moment, but it happened. We all apologised, talked it through and made things better.
However, the whole episode made me think…
Firstly, I know I’m prone to shouting when I’m tired and cranky. It was a note-to-self to think before I shout. That shouting achieves nothing except to upset us all. I don’t want my children to hear me shout. They need better parenting and although I know I’m not perfect (and that’s ok), I’ll do my best to be calm and gentle but firm and tough when needed. Shouting, I decided, is not the solution.
This, in turn, made me come to my second thought. If I love my kids and want to change my behaviour towards them, why don’t I always do the same for myself? Of course, I love my kids more than anything in the world, but… I also love myself.
So, why don’t I choose the words I use to talk to myself as carefully as I try to choose the words I say to my kids and loved ones?
Moreover, how we choose our words shapes the story we tell ourselves. And when we tell ourselves a story, we feel the story and characters more deeply. Choose your words carefully to make sure the story you tell yourself is the right one.
5 REASONS WHY KIND WORDS MATTER
Here are some reasons why it’s important to ask yourself the question ‘how do you talk to yourself’ and why kind words matter as part of our own self-care.
1. They infuse intention
Choosing your words carefully sets your intention for how you hope those words are going to be received and the result you trust they’ll have. Choosing your words deliberately and carefully will have more impact than just a string of words with no energy behind them.
For example, if you want something done (either by you or someone else), you’re much more likely to get them done if you ask in an encouraging and motivational way rather than an angry-barking-orders kind of way. The energy is different and ultimately the result will reflect that.
2. We all need forgiveness
We’re human, we get things wrong sometimes. Instead of beating yourself up because you did something wrong, be kind to yourself like you probably would be to someone else.
Forgive yourself for making a mistake or forgetting something. Does it really matter in the long run and wouldn’t it be better to learn from it, rather than chastising yourself for it?
3. Self-love is vital
We speak kind words to others because it’s part of our love language. We show we care about the feelings of others when we choose our words carefully. We generally try to think about them before we say them.
Practice self-love on yourself because you need love too. You’re not a machine and you’re not invincible. You’re emotional, soulful and complex.
Love yourself and you have much more capacity and resources to love others.
4. Setting an example
If you’re always putting yourself or others down, hyper-critical and negative then the people in our lives, especially our kids, pick up on that.
Be supportive, encouraging, give constructive criticism when it’s due, but avoid harsh words that don’t help or serve anyone.
5. Inspiring positive action
As Jen Sincero writes in her book You Are A Badass, “Our thoughts become our words, our words become our beliefs, our beliefs become our actions, our actions become our habits and our habits become our realities.”
Negative, mean, inward-looking words become the reality of our life. That’s not the focused, intentional, fun-filled, inspiring life that I want for myself or my family.
HOW YOU CAN TALK KINDLY TO YOURSELF
Here are some practical tips and ways you can talk kindly to yourself to motivate and encourage positive action!
1. Count to ten
Take a deep breath, count to ten and think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.
2. Practice in the mirror
Rehearse your lines, imagine you’re having a conversation with your best friend and imagine what he or she would say in response.
3. Walk away and come back to it later
Don’t make an impulse reaction you’ll later regret. Get a change of scene and revisit the situation when you’re feeling more at peace.
4. Identify the root
What’s bothering you or making you feel angry, frustrated or stressed out. Find the underlying problem, make steps to deal with it and kind words will come much more easily as you begin to feel better.
5. Be grateful
Feel gratitude for all that you have and focus on the good things about your life instead of dwelling on the bad.
RESOURCES FOR SELF-CARE AND MINDSET
Here are some other resources which might help you talk more kindly to yourself, especially when you need it most.