“You’re fat. You look ugly today. You’re not good enough. That was a stupid thing to say. You can’t do it. You’re definitely not worth it. You’re lazy.” Awful comments right? And guess who made them? These are the actual words WE are saying to OURSELVES on a daily basis.
Whatever happened to “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? You know, the golden rule that every single one of us was taught in the sandbox and landed us in the timeout chair if we didn’t follow through; the rule that was all about being kind to one another, treating others with respect, and just simply being nice. So why, when it comes to self-talk does this lesson that we’ve insisted upon, no longer apply?
We are all guilty of it- being mean to ourselves. Constructive criticism is one thing, but saying “I am a disgusting blob” vs “I need to be healthier” is a big difference. Come on. How mean are you!? Sure, a lot of our self-talk is reasonable, but some of it is just negative, unrealistic, not even close to the truth, not to mention self-defeating. Lately my inner mean girl has gone from Regina George to Biff mode. She’s been extra harsh and is killing my vibe. She’s being a bully. I can admit it, I recognized it, and I want to ensure this gloomy talk does not become a habit.
In order to truly love your self, it’s important to become aware of negative chatter. Think about how you talk to your friends (well at least how I hope you treat your friends). You wouldn’t call your best friend ugly or stupid, an epic failure, or say that she’s been packing on the pounds… so it’s time to extend the same courtesy to yourself. I think a lot of the time we are pretty mean to Numero Uno without even realizing it. So if you wouldn’t say it to a friend, why on earth are you saying it to yourself?
The other day I was watching my seven-year-old niece. She was working on a puzzle but couldn’t quite get some of the pieces into the right spot. I heard her say out loud to herself “I can’t do this”, “I suck. I am bad at this”. I immediately reacted, swooping in like momma bird. “Yes you can do this. You are awesome and so smart”, “It’s a puzzle, and is meant to challenge you. Let’s take another look at the pieces.” It dawned on me at that exact moment just how awful I had been to myself lately. Imagine if I could talk to myself this way? With the same patience and grace.
Sometimes we get out of tune with ourselves. Like any relationship, we fall into a rut and end up taking it for granted— not putting in the love and compassion that is necessary to maintain it. You often hear, that the most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself, something that’s been resonating with me now more than ever. Cue the eye rolls; But it’s true, along with the fact that all things are possible with coffee and mascara. Without loving, respecting, and accepting yourself, it’s much more difficult to love, respect, and accept others. Having a good relationship with yourself equals a good relationship with others.
Positive self-talk is influential. The more you learn to appreciate the person you are — flaws and all — the happier and more awesome you’ll be. So turn down the volume on the negative and tell the bashing committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up. Your words are the most powerful things that you have, so keep them positive and reliable.
Be kind to yourself. Be nice. Take a step out of the shade and find your own sunshine, and most importantly, Bay Awesome.
Photography by Damien Gilbert of Epica Pictures, MUA Carly Hughes of Wink, and hair by Amanda Benincasa of Evoke.