If it was to come to pass that I was asked to share something really important with all the women of the world (because you know I get asked to do things like that all the time) what I would say would fit into four little and not overly inspirational sounding words. My message would be this “women be kind to yourselves.” Sounds pretty simple hey? But in reality I wonder how many of us womanly folk truly understand how to treat ourselves with real and heartfelt kindness.
There was a time a few years back when I had a bit of a light bulb moment about this. I realised, in a fit of frustration, that if I spoke to my friends the way I was talking to myself (inside my head that is) I probably wouldn’t have any. Who would put up with the type of negative and critical crap I was dumping on myself day after day?
When it all boils down I was treating myself like a loser. No need for anybody else to do the job, I was doing it just fine all on my Pat Malone – thank you very much. What madness is that? How stupid to be tearing myself apart with meanness when I should surely be the one person I could count on for consistent and unquestioned love and support.
In all honestly though it can be hard to hear the way you talk to yourself, especially if you’ve never tried to tune into it before. You get so bogged down and dulled out to your own self-talk that it almost becomes like the elevator music of your life, droning on in the background. A constant noise you hear all the time, without really hearing it at all. And without understanding the ongoing messages it’s sending to your heart.
While I am no psychologist I am pretty sure that our self-talk has a massive impact on our lives. Constantly telling yourself how pathetic, stupid, unacceptable you are (insert your own personal putdown here) is going to manifest itself in your life somehow. Anger? Depression? Or maybe something else equally unpleasant, like feeling constantly let down or never good enough to fit in. Why would you want to make yourself feel like that? Why would I want to make myself feel like that? These are such good questions.
So right then and there I made a decision to be kind to myself. To begin with, it was seriously hard work and felt ridiculous. I was rolling my eyes at myself as I said ‘nice supportive words’ in my mind. I would pull myself up and backtrack over hard negative thoughts and feelings so I could speak positive and kind words over them – much like I do with my kids. I guess in essence I was treating my internal self like a child and correcting all of its misguided self-beliefs.
As dumb as it felt it didn’t take long until the process started to make a difference to the way I was feeling. My body started to respond to my own compliments with that same gush of goodness you get when someone takes the time to point out your strengths. And it felt good – really good. The more I challenged my own negative thinking and stood up for myself, the easier and more natural it became.
So today I’d like to put out a challenge to you lovely women reading this. Go and be kind to yourself. Speak good words and be encouraging – especially if you feel like it’s lacking in your life from others. Ride through the awkwardness of it and start to enjoy just how good it can feel to be your own best support person. You don’t have to depend on others to buoy you up, do the job yourself and do it well.
After all, with the type of kindness and support you know you can give, you might just put yourself in a place where your dreams are in much closer reach than you ever thought possible.
So, what kind words are you going to say about yourself today?