(Names changed as requested)
Last week I wrote about self talk and how negative self talk can affect your whole outlook on life and give you a negative spin on how you see yourself. It can, over time, lower self esteem, eat away at your self image and leave you unpleasant to be around. So many of us are in the habit of putting ourselves down and giving voice to our negative deeds, that we don’t even realize that we are doing it. Realizing what messages we are silently (through our thoughts) or loudly (through our spoken words) giving ourselves is the first step to change. We cannot change what we do not recognize. And so, I challenge my readers to begin listening to what you are saying to yourselves. How often do you think, “That was stupid.” or “I’m such an idiot.” without even realizing that you’ve thought it. Start listening to yourself and start recanting any negative comments you catch.
The more you do this, the easier it becomes. Once you have decreased or eliminated the self-deprecating comments, it is time to put self affirmations in their place.
Tamar was so depressed and full of self loathing, she found it difficult to find three positive things about herself. It was not that Tamar was a bad person. It was just that her very poor self image made her blind to her positive traits. Some nights all Tamar could find to tell herself was that she washed her face well or remembered to brush her teeth. Yet, even with these small steps, Tamar found that after a while she did remember positive things that she had done in the course of the day. Slowly, very slowly, Tamar began to see and say a few more positive things about herself. Today Tamar is a different person. But, she does not let a day pass without making sure to review what she did well that day. The difference is that now, she recognizes the many positive things she did.
Robert was a well spouse. As his wife’s condition deteriorated, so did her outlook. Robert found himself being criticized by her constantly. It seemed he could do nothing right. Everything from doing the dishes and laundry to how he transferred her from her chair to her bed was done the wrong way. Though she refused to make any decisions about her care plan or their house, all Robert’s decisions were “wrong and stupid.” Robert found himself hating his life and himself. He felt he could do nothing right and his self image was in the sub-basement.
Robert started to notice how often he made self-deprecating comments in the course of a day. Slowly he started to eliminate these comments or just counter them. Robert started to make sure every time he caught himself saying something negative about himself, he would replace it with something positive. Unfortunately, Robert’s wife has only gotten worse. Now, however, Robert handles her with humor and he no longer lets all the criticism get to him.
Three positive affirmations at the end of a day can change your life forever. It can make you feel better about yourself and start you on the road to more self confidence. Try it. Try it for a month. One minute a night. Before you fall asleep, tell yourself what you did well that day and/or what is good about you. Just 60 seconds of self affirmations can turn your life around. Aren’t you worth 60 seconds?