“Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.” -Yehuda Berg
“Ugh, I look disgusting.”
“I’m such an idiot!”
“I’m never going to make it-I’m such a loser.”
Harsh as these words are, I have heard many people say variations of these phrases to themselves. I’ve also been guilty of the same.
Positive self-talk is something that, in my observation, has fallen by the wayside. Out of the irrational fear of appearing arrogant, overconfident, or out of touch with reality, our culture has taken up the hobby of self-deprecation, humorous or otherwise. We bond over poor body image, collectively lament over how awful we are, and somehow think that this is totally acceptable.
When did we start hating ourselves so much?
Was it when a well-meaning family member made an offhand comment that broke your spirit? Perhaps it was a bully in junior high that tormented you relentlessly. It could be the pressure the media (social or otherwise) places upon you to look a certain way or achieve a certain level of success by a certain age, lest you “fall behind.”
Or the worst of it all: you’ve gone your entire life being fed the lie that you are of no value.
Whatever the case may be, you have the power to end the cycle of self-loathing right now.
It starts by how you talk to yourself-or, as I like to call it, your Self.
Self-loathing, aloud or in your mind, has never done anything good for anyone. But self-love? For some that is literally the difference between success and failure, winning or losing, or even life and death.
I usually don’t give out “homework,” but I’m going to challenge you to do something to shift the habit. You’ll need a dry erase marker and a mirror (the one in your bedroom or bathroom is perfect):
Step 1: Write the phrase “I Am” three times in three separate lines.
Step 2: Fill in the blanks with a separate positive quality that you possess, or aspire to have. For example:
I Am SMART
I Am BEAUTIFUL
I Am JOYFUL
I Am COMPASSIONATE
I Am FABULOUS
I AM UNSTOPPABLE
3. For the next week before you leave for the day, get in front of that mirror and say those lines aloud at least three times, if not more. It may seem a little corny at first, but by the end of the week, you’ll be shouting them, guaranteed. How do I know?
Because I do this for myself every week. The qualities change, but the results are the same: they set the tone for my day and no matter what I encounter I remember that I am all of those things and more.
Positive self-talk works. Be kind to yourself and speak to yourself like you would your best friend: joyfully, authentically and with love.