I do want to be a blessing to myself, and to others in this world. Choosing inner words that are compassionate, forgiving, and kind is a good start.
We had a little vacation one weekend in a hotel in our own city, 24 hours to wander around unscheduled, and unhurried.
Before we left, I consciously told myself that I was leaving my to-do-list and worries at home. I was giving myself a little break. I wanted to fully focus on enjoying the city with my family.
And it really worked. While I was there I didn’t think of my list that never ends. I also didn’t check email once and left my phone alone. I really gave all my energy to this little break. I came back feeling very calm and centered. All it took was 24 hours.
I use to pride myself on my ability to multi-task. You should have seen us juggling away in our PR agency. But it’s a bad habit with me now. And I think it actually harms me to dilute my focus like that. Studies show it actually is detrimental to my brain.
I’m thinking also that I can leave my phone alone first thing in the morning. I want to give my whole focus to me, to my family, to breakfast and getting ready, and not spread myself thin with multi-tasking.
Just do one thing after the other as needed. If I give myself a chance to start my day off calmly and filled with as much serenity as possible, then the rest of the day stands a better chance of being like that too.
Just focus on what you are doing now.
I do one thing at a time.
It’s ok to put down my load.
It’s ok to take a holiday from my worries and to-do-list.
It’s ok to just enjoy this moment.
I give myself permission to just be right now.
My worth is not attached to what I do. My worth is in who I am.
My daughter and I made vision boards today together. A photo of an Aboriginal woman bare breasted and bare footed in the desert performing an ancient ritual called out to me. It felt like she’s my inner wise woman guiding me to the next stage of my life. She was so beautiful.
I was a little surprised by how beautiful she looked to me. I sat with it for some moments and realized my image of beauty is changed. This woman is it. She’s authentic, strong, luminous, grounded, courageous. She accentuates her beauty with awesome paintings on her body and a colourful skirt. And she’s a desert-dancer, for heaven’s sake!
I’m excited to let my inner “her” shine. I want to do my own version of dancing in the desert – symbolically or maybe even literally. I’m excited to nurture beauty inside and out.
Not the magazine version of beauty, but my vision of it. What does it mean to love myself unconditionally now? How do I rock my age without ideas that are imposed on me from a culture that values youth above everything else in women? How do I talk to myself in a way that reveres who I am?
“Accept yourself absolutely and unconditionally. It’s one of the most radical acts you can do in an insane culture that actually profits from your self-loathing,” declares Tosha Silver.
I’m careful of what I say to myself when I look in the mirror now.
I use to greet myself in the mirror with self-talk like this:
- You look tired. There are big bags under your eyes.
- Your hair looks terrible.
- Your skin looks bad.
- You are getting wrinkles around your eyes.
- You look like shit.
- You look fat in that dress.
Imagine if I met my friend for tea and she greeted me like that. How deflating! How life-denying!
As I speak to myself like a best friend would, I greet myself this way in the mirror now:
- You are beautiful.
- Look at that smile!
- Your eyes are shining.
- I love you.
- Let’s put on something that makes you feel filled with energy and beautiful.
My daughter also put images on her vision board that illustrate who she is and her own beauty. She came up with blue birds, pastel flowers, a mama tiger playing with her cub, music notes, and in big bold letters: SING.
We say "I hate myself "without thinking much about it, but part of you takes it very seriously. That part of you wilts under the power of those mean words.
I was at the post office today mailing copies of my book Speaking to Yourself with Love to a bookstore.
The woman working at the counter got all excited when she saw them. “I would like to read it, but I don’t read anymore.”
She talked about how much she loves reading, and all the lovely books she has including a collection of spiritual books her mother left her. But... she no longer takes the time to read.
“I’m always on my tablet now.”
And then she finished with “I hate myself.”
Ouch, I thought. How painful for that part of her that just heard that.
Research shows that every cell in your body hears all that you say.
Your body actually listens to what you are saying inside.
Your cells hear all your self-talk through sound waves and sensory transmissions.
They react according to what they hear.
Dr Judith Orloff writes that when we criticize ourselves, it is like an inner war goes on inside us. We turn against ourselves. It is like an attack on our system.
Now think about how your cells rejoice when they hear words of love, acceptance and compassion.
So just keep putting love into your inner words as much as you can. Step by step, day by day.
We are all just doing our best.
There is no one to hate. There is just one person to love.
All my best,
I tell myself it’s possible all the time, about all kinds of things. Other people have managed, why not me!
I have always wanted to travel, but our family didn’t travel. I didn’t even know anyone who travelled. I remember tracking down a school mate that I heard had gone to Europe. I stopped by his locker to hear all about it. He was the first person I knew who had gone overseas.
When I was 15, I found out about exchange programs. I conducted research, brought home brochures. I came really close to applying for one. Then my father said he just couldn’t bear the idea of my leaving home for so long. You will be gone quickly enough he said. These are our last years together.
Let me tell you what happened next. Within a few months, my father was promoted and seemingly out of the blue he was offered a position based in Athens, Greece. We were gone within weeks and my life of travel began. I went from living in a boring (to a teenager at least) suburb of Montreal to living in an exciting capital. From our home we had a view of the acropolis. I have never stopped travelling since and have lived in two other foreign countries.
This showed me that in life, everything is possible. It may not come like you expected, or look like your dreams, but the essence of it may come to you.
I tell myself it is possible all the time, no matter what the odds are, no matter if I have no idea how something can come to be.
You don’t have to do anything special to deserve your own words of kindness and love.
You don’t have to be 10, 20 or 50 pounds lighter to deserve self-talk love right now.
You don’t have to be more successful or more beautiful to deserve inner words that are compassionate.
You don’t have to be so-called perfect to be worthy of a voice inside that is gentle with you and treats you as the precious person you are.
You don’t have to be anyone other than who you are right now at this moment to speak kindly to yourself.
At any moment – like this one right now -- you can choose to speak to yourself with kindness, love and compassion. No matter what you have said to yourself before – you can choose right now to elevate yourself with your self-talk.
You have the power to reset your self-talk at any time.
It can start now!
A few days ago, I broke down crying after a voice that I have inside told me I was a piece of shit. I know. Ouch.
This came about after I had not spent much time alone with myself lately. I had been very busy for weeks and did not do my meditation and spiritual practices that keep me peaceful and grounded. I felt frazzled, fragile and disconnected going into the day.
Then I criticized my husband over something trivial and he got understandably angry. That’s when the cruel voice inside let me have it.
I listened as the inner bully told me I was bad. I was unworthy. I was mean to my husband. My house was a mess. It said I was unworthy of love, that I didn’t deserve my life, that I couldn’t do anything right. And over and over again it said that I was a piece of shit.
I was shocked by the viciousness of the attack. It had been a long time since I had spoken to myself with such venom. I started crying.
I listened in shock but also in agreement. It was true what the voice was saying.
Then I caught myself.
And just like I would rise up to the defense of someone I love, I rose up to protect myself. I told the voice to stop.
Then I took some distance from it. I told myself that I am not the voice who says I am a piece of shit. It may be a voice that I have inside me, but it is not me. I am the one who listens to this voice.
So I choose at that moment to stop listening to it. I choose to stop listening to the ugly words, and to speak words of compassion and love to myself instead.
I did an Inner Voice Switcheroo.
I replaced what it had been saying with words of compassion. I spoke to myself in a different voice – one that felt tenderness and kindness towards a woman who is suffering and who has just listened so such ugly words thrown at her.
I am often asked how I am able to catch myself when my self-talk is negative or life-denying. This is how I do it. I wait for a signal.
A signal is a negative feeling or a sensation of discomfort in my body. When I get one, I pay attention to what I am saying inside at that moment. I take stock.
Getting a signal means that my self-talk is negative, or life-denying. I tell that voice to stop. Then I do an Inner Voice Switcheroo. I tell myself the opposite of what the negative voice was saying to me.
If it said that I am ugly, I say that I am beautiful in and out and worthy of love. If I said that I am incapable, I say that I can do it and that I am guided. I replace the ugly words with words that are loving, kind and supportive. I make that choice over and over again, day after day.