Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: pexels.com
We won’t talk to anyone in our lives as much as we will talk to ourselves, and often we don’t notice half of what we’re saying. When we do, the words we use can be quite confronting. We ridicule ourselves (‘That’s a ludicrous dress I’m wearing’), or are really condescending towards ourselves (I’m such an idiot!). When we act in ways that are less than perfect, we talk to ourselves using words we’d never use toward our loved ones. And that’s kind of where we tend to miss the ball: we don’t treat ourselves like someone we love.
Self-love doesn’t mean you completely indulge yourself or can’t do anything wrong. It also doesn’t mean you’re narcissistic. I previously wrote about 7 signs of self-love, and none of them are ‘I think I’m the best person on the planet.’
One of the ways we can show ourselves love and compassion, is by the way we talk to ourselves. Louise L. Hay, the queen of affirmations, talks about how they can seem tricky to believe at first, but how they seep into your awareness as you repeat them often.
Here are 7 things I believe we should all tell ourselves on a daily basis, either looking in the mirror or looking within.
- I love me! (Because…)
No surprise there. Loving yourself is the only way you can accept love from others, so it’s paramount if you want to build strong and healthy relationships. It’s also just really, really lovely.
Finding reasons for loving yourself can also help build that love. Maybe you love yourself because you take great care of your children, or because you helped an elderly person in the grocery store, or because you have really shiny hair… Whatever reason works.
- My thoughts are just thoughts.
We tend to identify with what we think about ourselves and the world. But thoughts are only that, thoughts. What you think today might be gone or changed tomorrow. You don’t have to believe all you think.
- All of my emotions are valid.
There are no wrong emotions. You get to feel all you get to feel. Unlike a thought, an emotion won’t go away when it’s not validated, on the contrary, it might hide underneath the surface for a while, but it’ll definitely strike again with a vengeance.
- My boundaries are my responsibility.
When you need to say ‘no’, you say ‘no’. And only you know when that is. No one else gets to make that assessment for you. No one else can feel what you feel or knows the exact circumstances of your life as well as you do. Saying ‘no’ takes courage, but it’s the only way you can go to number 5 –>
- I can trust myself to take care of myself.
As adults, we are first and foremost responsible for taking care of ourselves to the best of our abilities. This means feeding ourselves well, nurturing our bodies and minds, relaxing when we’re stressed and brushing our teeth on a daily basis. If any of these prove difficult, you can ask for help.
- Asking for the help I need is a sign of strength and wisdom.
We sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that asking for help is a sign of weakness. The opposite is true: asking for help requires you to openly express your vulnerabilities, that takes a ton of guts! It also requires you to be able to see your needs and look for fit solutions, that takes awareness and wisdom.
- I’m doing the best I can with the means I have.
There are days when this sentence feels really untrue to me. Am I really doing the best when I yell at my kids yet again? Am I really doing my best when I grab that bag of chips instead of the apple?
The question I ask myself then is: ‘Is this behaviour a choice or is it brought on by stress/anxiety/triggers/….?’ If it’s the latter (and it usually is) I can slowly start to forgive myself for acting out my emotions. I learn to accept that in that moment, I was trying to relieve a really difficult emotion in the way my body knew best. And no, that doesn’t make it ‘ok’. It does mean that I can accept where I am, know that I am trying to do my best, and can then decide which skills I want to acquire to respond differently next time around.
- I am grateful! (For…)
Gratitude is a wonderful companion. It can soften you and warm you up. It can soothe and inspire you. It will open your heart and allow you to feel more joy and peace. Listing what you’re grateful for in your life is a great way to curb negative emotions.
- I am continually growing.
When you meet challenges in your life that seem impossible to handle, this one phrase can remind you that life is a learning journey. We make mistakes and figure out what doesn’t work. We try something new and learn what we dislike. We say something inappropriate and pick up a new communication skill. Whatever comes across our path is an opportunity to learn something. Life’s very generous that way.
I must say, doing all this self-talk has led me to quite some curiosity as to what your self-talk sounds like. Do you find yourself saying really bad things to yourself? What good things would you say to a friend in the same situation? And can you now say them to yourself?
Thank you for taking the time to read, which already makes you an amazing, wonderful and generous person.
I wish you lots of (self) love!