Last week, half of the sisters were out of town, so Lisa and I met one on one. These are rare occasions since we both have commitments that keep us very busy and out of trouble. I was thinking about how pleasant our visit was and then I got sidetracked (surprise, surprise).
I realized as I thought back, that during our visit, I was sending myself very negative messages about guess who? ME. I have a wonderful relationship with my husband, my son, my sister and her husband, my nieces and their families, and my stepdaughter and her family. Sadly, the worst relationship I have seems to be with myself.
I realized that I had said several unkind things to myself during this rare and enjoyable visit with Lisa. I remember thinking that I would never be as smart or as technically savvy as Lisa. I asked myself why she was so energetic and full of life and I was so dull, even boring. I found myself wondering if she was sorry she had come to visit. After she left, I started beating myself up. Why are you so negative about yourself? How come you never give yourself any credit? What good does it do to compare yourself to others? Envy, paranoia, labeling, really? Are these the kind of emotions I am training myself to experience? No, they are not.
Several years ago, I took a class called “The Cognitive Approach to Human Behavior”. Our instructor taught us that the hardest people we must communicate with and about are none other than ourselves. For several years after this class, I truly did change my tune. I looked for the good in me. I caught myself in my negative self-talk and turned it around. It’s interesting to me how we can know a subject so well and believe it to be true and continue to practice just the opposite behavior. I have coached other people in the danger of talking badly about themselves. I know that if we continue in these behaviors, we can convince ourselves and our subconscious minds to believe the negative thoughts are true.
Our textbook for this class was called “Talking to Yourself” by Dr. Pamela Butler. According to Dr. Butler, “What we say determines the direction and quality of our lives. Our self-talk can make the difference between happiness and despair, between self-confidence and self-doubt. Altering your self-talk may be the most important undertaking you will ever begin.
So, what did I learn from all of this thinking and negativity? If you ever feel this way, stop, step back and remember to consider these thoughts:
- Encourage yourself to think positive thoughts about yourself
- Give yourself well-deserved credit for your accomplishments
- Do the things you enjoy and recognize your strengths
- Enjoy your relationships with family and friends.
- Remember that people do the things they want to do and that they enjoy