Self-talk to be your real self when others want you to keep it hidden

I got a big blast of inspiration this week when my friend decided that it was time for her to step into her own power – no matter what the cost. She had been told by her family to keep her love for a man of another culture and race a secret.

She “came” out this week on Facebook proclaiming her love for this good and kind man. Keeping it secret was weighing her down, keeping her from shining, keeping her in hiding.

What she did took courage, and dignity, and a belief that the most important things in life --  love, compassion, beauty, and truth --  do not live in the darkness of shame.

It takes a lot of courage to go against what your family, or the people around you, believe. It takes a lot of courage to be fully yourself no matter what others think of it.

My Japanese friend faced a similar situation when she married a Ugandan man. One day, she’d had enough and said to her father: you can’t tell me who to love. He refused to speak to her for years.

To stand up for yourself, to stand powerfully in your own truth and life, is something that many of us women need to learn to do. The ways we are forced to conform and are subjugated are many: violence, shame, guilt, pressure, fear, ridicule, abandonment.

To keep the peace, or your standing in life, or your life itself– you live hiding who you really are and what you are really called to do.

The price can be very high to be yourself. In some countries, you can be killed for being a woman and following your own path..

It’s not so long ago that in my home province of Quebec one of the worst fates that could befall a woman was getting pregnant out of wedlock.

My mother told me as a young teenager that it would be a terrible thing for it to happen to me, that I would be ruined, that no man would want to marry me after that.

I don’t blame my mom. In her generation, women who got pregnant without a husband were shipped off to have the child in secret and then were forced to abandon them to adoption. There were tons of kids up for adoption in Quebec then. The orphanages were full.

When I was small, the abandoned orphanages were still there. We regularly drove by two huge empty such buildings on the side of the highway leading into Montreal. It made me really sad to look at them – though I didn’t really know why at the time.

You can still see one of them on the side of the highway as you pull into Montreal – though it has been converted to a condominium – its history and suffering whitewashed to make way for new housing.

When you know that something is wrong – when it goes against what your own inner truth says – and you say no, no more, you are sending a strong message to yourself. You are telling yourself that you are important. You are reminding yourself of your birthright: love, compassion, truth, beauty.  Part of you will feel that love. Part of you will be proud and celebrate even if you are scared.

As Howard Thurman wrote:

“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have."

With your self-talk, you can help yourself be the genuine you even when others want you to keep that secret, to keep that quiet.

My self-talk:

  • I stand by you no matter what anyone says.
  • I am proud of you.
  • There is only one of you in the whole world and you have your own life and your own destiny and calling.
  • I will always love you.
  • I will never leave you.
  • Being yourself is the most important thing you can do.
  • This is who I am.

Self-talk to become who you really want to be and do what you love

My friend Marie amazes me with her determination, her ability to make her dreams come true and her optimism. I just love her spark.

Marie just got a new position in the kitchen of a prestigious new Chinese restaurant. And get this, she had to apply five times before she was hired! (Twice in job fairs, once in their career centre and twice online)

She is making me think about what I want to create in my life. Not just what I want to accomplish like writing other books -- but also who I can become, how I can thrive.

In my self-talk, I tell myself about it. I tell myself what is possible for me. My self-talk helps me reach my ultimate goal: to become a better human being.

My self-talk:

  • I am very stable and solid inside despite what is happening around me.
  • It is easy for me to take life as it comes instead of trying to control everything around me.
  • I am authentic and simply tell the truth with as much kindness as I can.
  • I am a calm, peaceful person.
  • I am light and footloose like a hummingbird.
  • I let others be.
  • I forgive easily.
  • I am determined and resilient.
  • I contribute to bringing more light and love into this world.
  • I wake up filled with energy, joy and a delight to have another day to live my life.
  • I love myself unconditionally.
  • I love life. It is a gift.
  • I feel my feelings fully – all of them.
  • I know who I am.
  • I take good care of my body, mind and spirit.

Another inspirational story about Marie and her ability to make her dreams come true is featured in my book Speaking to Yourself with Love: Transform Your Self-Talk in the chapter about being your own lighthouse, or choosing words of guidance.

Self-talk for choosing forgiveness and letting go

My cousin and I were chatting recently about how important forgiveness is in all its forms. Self-forgiveness and forgiving others frees us. Forgiving keeps us from wasting energy, time and resources that would be better spent in other ways. It cuts the ties that bind us to individuals who have hurt us, and from which we want to move on. It keeps our hearts from corroding from resentment.

Thing is though, we weren’t sure how you really go about forgiving either yourself or someone else. If you don’t feel forgiveness, how can you forgive?

I know that everything starts with an intention – so it must be that way with forgiveness. You have to want to forgive more adamantly than you want to hang on to a hurt, an injustice or a grudge. You need to want to choose forgiveness as the way forward in your life – even if you are hurting.

Perhaps forgiveness is a choice that we make. Perhaps we have to make it over and over again – maybe every day.

Perhaps forgiveness is really letting go, so that we can turn the page.

My self-talk:

  • I choose to forgive.
  • I really want to forgive this person.
  • I am ready to forgive myself.
  • I don’t have the resources to waste on hanging on to this person/story anymore. I want to be free.
  • I forgive myself too, so that I am capable to be there for myself now.
  • I want to meet with myself today, not stuck in an old story from the past.
  • I choose love.

The flat tire: self-talk for emergency self-care

When your mind, body or spirit are showing signs of needing rest, of needing care or healing, stop and take the time that’s needed. In your self-talk, you can give yourself permission to do so.

Think of it like getting a flat tire.

If you are driving down the street and you suddenly get a flat tire, would you keep driving? You would stop and take care of what needs taking care of. You would do that no matter what you had planned that day. You would do that no matter what commitments were hanging over your head. You would put all else on hold while you dealt with what needs to be dealt with -- even if it was highly inconvenient.

Now, what could happen if you didn’t pull over to fix the tire? It could lead to a bunch of problems much worse and more dangerous than a flat tire. You could damage the car. You could loose control of the vehicle. You could hurt yourself, or even kill yourself, or the individuals unlucky enough to be in your way.

Well that is how it needs to be with self-care. When your mind, body, or spirit are suffering from a flat tire, you need to fix it without delay.

Taking the time you need to heal yourself is preventative. Unless you want to move on to a more dangerous and damaging situation, you really have no choice but to stop. When your health and wellbeing are at stake, you slow down your life and take care of yourself.

As Audre Lorde said:

I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent.

Caring for myself is an act of survival.

My self-talk:

  • I take good care of myself.
  • I am worthy of self-care.
  • I take all the time that I need to nurture my health and well-being.
  • I just don’t have the resources to do everything that I used to do. Right now, I need to care for myself.
  • I know I had other plans but this is what is needed today.

Changing how you talk to yourself about your sensitivity

Once you know who you really are, you can change your inner story about yourself. That’s what happened when I discovered that I am a highly sensitive person (HSP). I went from putting myself down for being different and easily overwhelmed, to being more understanding, patient, and accepting.

One of my friends is a pastry chef. She is kind, talented and gentle. This morning she told me about how she puts herself down for not being more like her own mother – a successful entrepreneur and gregarious community leader. She has spent her whole life criticizing herself for what she sees as a flaw in her character.

High sensitivity is not a flaw. It’s a genetic difference that makes us no better and no worse than others. One out of five people are highly sensitive. Research shows that our brains are wired differently to capture a lot more sensory information than regular folk. We deeply analyze everything. We are way more sensitive to our environment, and to the people around us. We are aware of subtleties, and can be more easily over stimulated. Also, our empathy for others is also off the charts.

This all makes it a trickier to navigate through life.

We exist because we are needed. We are the healers, the teachers, the writers, the musicians, the peace-makers, the gardeners, the nature-lovers, and the artists. We are those who in time before advised the king not wage war. Who would we be without the sensitive individuals who create connection and meaning in this world?

Before I found out I was an HSP, my self-talk used to go like this:
• I don’t fit in like others do.
• I feel lost in a group.
• I feel stressed out when too many people are around me.
• What’s wrong with me?
• Why is everything so complicated with me?
• I am overwhelmed by life.

Now my self-talk is more along these lines:
• I am a highly sensitive person and that’s ok.
• There are many other people like me. I am not alone.
• Sure there are challenges in being an HSP, but there are also a lot of advantages.
• I am going to give myself the time I need to be alone, and find my center again.
• This world needs more beauty and sensitivity. And I am making an important contribution.
• I am lucky to be me.
• I am feeling overwhelmed right now. I am going to take some time to calm down.

Here’s an interesting Ted Talk on The Gentle Power of Being a Highly Sensitive Person.

Self-talk to let your light shine

My friend rescued a little sausage dog that came from a puppy mill that also doubled as a meth lab. The combination just horrified me with its depravity and darkness.

I thought that it was time for me to stop pussy footing around, to stand more solidity for what I believe, and to deepen my practice so that I can in turn bring more light to this world. It needs it in a big way. How long do I think life is that I can spend so much time second guessing myself?

I can tell you that life is really short. I lost two people that I love very much within just a few months of each other. There’s no time to waste to lead your right life and be 100% exactly who you are in all its goodness and messy glory.

I am not saying fight. We have enough fight in this world. You don’t have to fight darkness, just turn on your inner light. Your self-talk can help you with that.

My self-talk:
• I stand solidly for what is true, good, and beautiful
• I trust in you. I have faith in you.
• It is your birthright to be yourself and shine.
• Be diligent in all your practices that keep you centered, grounded and feeling solid like positive and loving self-talk, meditation, writing, dance and swimming.
• Be you. As they say, everyone else is taken.

Self-talk for self-respect: the break up part 2

As I recounted in my most recent blog, many years ago my boyfriend moved out of the country quite unexpectedly leaving me crestfallen. He left so quickly that he didn’t have time to clean out his apartment. In a show of love for him, and a total disrespect for my own feelings and self-love, I agreed to be the one to do it.
Standing in his empty apartment with a mop in hand made the whole experience even more painful.

I would show more respect for myself today, and honour my feelings. I would use my self-talk to support myself and to provide myself with the dignity and care I needed to get through that difficult time.

What is self-respect exactly? It is behaving in a way that honours yourself and your feelings.

My self-talk:
• I respect you.
• You need a lot of care right now. You are not going to put yourself through that.
• It’s ok to say no. In fact, it is important that you say no.
• We will take the time and space to honour what has happened and how much he means to you.

Self-Talk for accepting change: the breakup Part 1

Many years ago, my boyfriend whom I loved very much, grabbed his bags and moved out of the country with very little forewarning. I was desolate and cried for weeks. His departure seemed like such a terrible thing. Twenty plus years later, he is now one of my most cherished and trusted friends.

Goes to show that I don’t know what my life will look like when the dust settles. My self-talk can help me be open to how things change even when they are painful. It can help me stop fighting what happens to me, and accept it. My inner speech can allow my life to unfold as it will. It can help me trust in the transformation that always takes place. It can help me stay calm and solid in my own center.

At the time, I didn’t know much about the power of my own self-talk. I wrote him long love letters after he left. Now I would write these letters to myself in a show of self-love and self-support, and to help guide myself to the next stage of my life.

Even when something hurts a lot, it doesn’t mean that is isn’t good for you, or that there won’t be a silver lining. My friendship with my ex is a gift. Maybe his departure wasn’t such a terrible thing after all.

As Socrates said, the secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

My self-talk:
• Wait to see what will happen.
• Take a deep breath.
• Trust in your own life and its wisdom.
• Do your best. The rest isn’t up to you.
• You are ok.
• You don’t know what this will look like in the future. Wait and see.

Tell yourself that you are lucky and you likely will be

You never know when a gift will fall from the sky, or what unexpected help will come your way. If you tell yourself that it is possible – you increase the chances that it will indeed be possible. If you tell yourself that you are lucky, you increase the likelihood that you are a lucky person.

This morning I was a witness to an amazing stroke of good fortune at a pot luck. A woman brought food in a colourful Bavarian bowl that another woman in attendance had lost five years ago. When the woman saw her long lost bowl she started crying. It was an antique she had inherited from her beloved grandmother. Its disappearance had plagued her for years.

After being lost, the bowl had made its way to the Salvation Army where it was purchased by a third party, then given as a gift to the woman who brought it to the pot luck.

Studies show that those who tell themselves they are lucky, have better luck than those whose interior dialogue tells them they are unlucky. They also show that those who say that things will work out positively, tend to experience more favourable outcomes. That’s how powerful your inner speech can be.

You just don’t know what blessings the day will bring. You don't know what solution will present itself. Use your self-talk to keep focused on where you want to go. Tell yourself you are lucky and that things work out for you.

Self-talk for the dark days of a miscarriage

Miscarriages can be traumatic on so many levels: the grief, the shame, the fear, the physical and emotional pain, the feeling of being alone as misguided people tell you it is common and no big deal.

It is possible to use your self-talk to help get yourself through it, to be there for yourself, and hold your own hand.

The amount of emotional pain you feel with a miscarriage depends on the meaning you gave to the pregnancy and to its loss. That means that miscarriage is much harder on some women than on others.

It was super hard on me, and I didn’t know how to help myself through it. I didn’t know how to sit by my own sick bed and hold my hand. I just wanted to get on with things as quickly as possible. I thought that if I felt my feelings it would just make me sadder. I was so wrong and as a consequence I carried the grief and pain with me for years.

If I could go back in time, I would give myself all the time and space I needed to grieve and heal. I would shower myself with compassion. I would be gentle and kind to myself and to my body because what we are going through is traumatic. I would use my self-talk to get myself through that dark time.

This is what I wish I had said to myself:
• I love you. I love you. I love you.
• I am here for you and I will care for you.
• I can see that you are in so much pain. This is not your fault in any way.
• You can take all the time that you need to grieve.
• This is important. Normal life must wait.
• I know how much you love this baby and what this pregnancy meant to you.
• I will take care of everything. You can take the time to rest.
• Feeling my grief and other feelings of loss will help me heal.
• I will not pretend that everything is ok. I will honour myself through this.
• It does not matter what others say. They don’t understand what this means for you.
• This will pass. I promise you my love, this will pass.
• You are not alone. Many other women have lost their babies and feel the same way you do.
• If you need help, I will get it for you.
• There is no shame at all in grieving for someone you love. It is normal.
• Be gentle with yourself and with your body. You are going through a lot.
• Everything is going to be all right, one way or the other.
• I love you. I love you. I love you.

My self-talk to go back to basics

I was feeling really off yesterday. My head hurt, I felt impatient, tired, and worried about all kind of things.

I have been quite busy lately: the book launch, outings, house guests, a retreat, the illness of two family members.

I didn’t take the time that I truly need to connect with myself with my self-talk and with the practices that make me feel centered, that make me feel like myself. I couldn’t hear my own deep wise voice anymore. The one that is fearful and worried had taken over again.

I missed myself. So this morning I went back to basics. I sat under a tree and meditated. I took a slow walk.

I spoke to myself this way:

You are safe.

Everything is ok.

You are loved.

I will take care of you and give you what you need to feel calm.

Go back to your basic practices like walking, meditation, dancing. They will bring you back to yourself.

Very soon you will feel rested and calm again.

The puppy and me: Gently reminding yourself of what you need and who you are

Imagine the cutest, fluffiest, sweetest little white puppy. That’s the one we were lucky enough to add to our family recently.

The other evening, this cute little guy bit my daughter right under the nose hard enough to hurt her. I forgot all my dog training knowledge, and scolded him.

It was late in the day. He was overtired and over stimulated running around the backyard with two excited children.

It wasn’t his fault at all.

Guess what happened when I got angry with him? He just got more stimulated and worked up.

What he needed was help calming down. What he needed was kindness and gentleness. What he needed was a patient confident voice to guide him back to his centre, to himself, to remind him of how to be.

I am a lot like this puppy, and so are many people that I know.

My friend contacted me recently. She felt like she might have an anxiety attack. Life has thrown many curve balls at her recently, and on top of that, she is in the middle of a move. As many of us know, it can feel really overwhelming to be packing your life away in boxes.

I gently reminded her that she would greatly benefit from calming her nerves. (put away your phone, have a hot shower, meditate, drink lots of water, rest.) I reminded to her to gently come back to herself.

Like the puppy, we need gentleness when we are off. We also need an inner voice that is patient and confident to guide us back to the centre -- that provides us with what we need at that moment.

My self-talk:
I am going to help you calm down.
I am going to give you the time and space that you need to feel more relaxed.
Everything is ok. You are safe.

Transform your self-talk: Get a free book now

If I was able to change my self-talk, so can you. My new book can show you a way to do it. Today is the launch of my new book Speaking to Yourself with Love: Transform Your Self-Talk. Hooray!

Want to see what it would be like to stop criticizing yourself so much? I talk about it in my book. You can get a free copy for the next five days. Click HERE to download your free copy.

This e-book version works on Kindles, all tablets, i-phones, i-pad (with a free app)

I am so delighted to share my work will all those who are ready to choose a new way to speak to themselves. Want to know how changing my self-talk changed my life? Read below.

Wishing you good reading and loads of happiness,


How changing my self-talk changed my life.

“For the longest time, how I spoke to others was so much kinder and patient than the way I spoke to myself. I blamed myself for every mistake and criticized myself for my faults. I put myself down constantly. You can even say I bullied myself. I felt unworthy. I felt anxious a lot of the time from this emotional self-abuse. I drowned out my inner voices with constant noise and distractions. If there were kind and loving voices inside I couldn’t even hear them. Nothing I had ever achieved on the outside changed how I felt inside. All that changed when I learned positive and loving self-talk skills. I developed inner voices that spoke to me with kindness and acceptance, and protected me from the bully inside. I started hearing the voice inside that is wise, and always loving. Now I feel much more calm, and joyful. I am forgiving of my mistakes and faults. And I give myself some of the love, friendship and support I had only given to others before. I am now on my own side too. Speaking to myself with love transformed my life. Now I can help you learn these self-talk skills too.”

Make your self-talk lighter, brighter, funnier

May 19 seems like the perfect day for the launch of my new book Speaking to Yourself with Love: Transform Your Self-Talk. It’s the beginning of a long weekend, when true spring hits, and all is renewed. There are blooms, there’s more light, and tons of hope for an easier time everywhere. This is a good time of year to lighten things up.

That’s my intention with my new book: to bring hope, light and lightness to everyone who feels ready for a new beginning. Here is a story and a self-talk tool from my book that I’d like to share with you about making your inner speech lighter:

One day, my friend had a headache and went into a supermarket to buy water with which to take aspirin. She slipped on the wet floor and fell, smashing her head badly enough that they had to call an ambulance. Nothing funny there, you think? Well, when she told me the story, we both burst out laughing when we realized that if she had a headache going into the store, it was nothing compared to the headache she had going out. We saw a very funny twist in it.

Is there a story you are telling yourself about something in your life that could use a little lightening up? Let’s see if you can bring levity to it with your self-talk.

Pick a situation you are dealing with in your life that you don’t find especially funny.

Write it down.

Now see how you can lighten it up.

Is there anything about it that can be comical? Amusing? Ironic? Even strange?

What can you say that will bring a little levity to the way you talk to yourself about it? Maybe there is something funny about the way you handled it, or the drama you are bringing to the situation, or how worked up you are about it.

Rewrite your story with its new comical twist.

Self-talk to courageously bloom into the person you can be

This time of year is such a delight. The days get longer and there is more light. The flowers are blooming. It feels like a new beginning, like new things are possible in life.

I can use my self-talk to help myself transform, to move towards this light, to bloom.

Here’s a story about my friend Martine who used her self-talk to have the courage to bloom. In her case, blooming meant having the guts to hit the open road on a Harley. It’s an excerpt from my book Speaking to Yourself with Love: Transform Your Self-Talk. (This new book of mine comes out on May 19!)

Martine’s story:
Martine Rollin is one courageous woman. Even when the world has seemed very scary, she has put on her big girl pants. After all kinds of major life challenges, she has gone onward and upward.
For many years, Martine kept an entire Harley Davidson wardrobe in her closet: boots, gloves, helmet, and leather jacket—even special sunglasses. They were the remnants of a long-gone relationship with a man who had a motorcycle. The two had taken long trips together, her riding behind him on the same motorcycle.
One day, she visited us from across the country, lugging all her gear as she was continuing on later to go on a bike trip with a friend. I was so surprised to see her collection. “I have always kept it,” she said. “I love being on motorcycles so much. It makes me so happy. I hope the day comes that I meet someone with a motorcycle again.”
“Why not get your own bike?” my husband piped up.
“Suddenly, it was like a light bulb went on in my head!” says Martine. “Why not, indeed!”
Still, there was a lot of fear to overcome. Fear of doing something new. Fear of the financial impact of owning a motorcycle. Fear of hitting the open road alone.
“I said to myself: be brave. This was so important to me. It was like bright sunshine that called my name,” says Martine.
I am happy to report that if you see a beautiful, tiny, blonde woman riding an enormous Harley Davidson at full speed while smiling from ear to ear—you may be looking at Martine. Her next courageous challenge? She wants to fly Cessna planes.