Practicing Positive Self-Talk Everyday
Family, friends, work, and recreation sound like a few areas of our lives that take
up most of our time. We go from one to another, filling up our days, weeks, months,
and perhaps years. Oftentimes, in the process, we forget about a crucial part: taking
care of ourselves! If you were raised in a guilt-ridden conservative environment,
this was, and may still be, a foreign concept. However, I began to learn the importance
of it from the wise words of my grandmother: “If you are going to hire help when
you grow up, you must first learn to how to keep up your own house in perfect order.”
Little did I know that life would present me with more challenges that, at times,
I felt I could handle. A chronic disability, moving to another country, pursuing
an education while raising a family, lay offs, divorce… and the list goes on. Through
the trials and tribulations of life, I became part of the infamous rat race, the
put downs of difficult bosses and people, and the feeling of giving up because the
physical pain becoming too much to bear on a daily basis. Consequently, and soon
enough, the external noise of “making it” became deafening and began to cover up
the beautiful music inside me.
Then, one day, listening to one of my favorite inspirational gurus, Dr. Wayne Dyer,
I took note of something he said: “Don’t die with music still left inside you…”
Those words stopped me on my tracks! “What do you mean?...I still have something
inside to offer in spite all that’s happened?,” I rhetorically and quietly asked
him in my mind. And, to my surprise, I heard a loud inner “Yes!” Over the next few
weeks, I embarked on a journey to remind myself of the things I used to do to keep
that music going, in-tune, and loud enough to frequently inspire others. If this
scenario sounds familiar to you, here are a few things I found helpful to turn up
my volume again which might assist you as well in the process of reconnecting:
Practice positive self-talk. No matter what others say, one’s worth
is not dependent on the circumstances or their perceptions. Find several key phrases
that speak to you, write them down on sticky notes or index cards, if needed, and
reinforce these thoughts every day. In this case, our brains do not know the difference
between what is “real” and what is not. To our brain, it just “is.” And, as many
experts say, we manifest what we put thinking energy into!
Be gentle and patient with yourself. Take one day at a time. Sometimes
one hour is the most you might be able to handle. The point is that, no matter what
you do, the present is all you have control over. I have to remind myself that I
do not have super-powers neither can I dominate over what is happening to me or
foresee what will happen in the future.
Be kind to someone for no reason. As I continued my inner questioning,
I noticed that I had even forgotten how to smile! So, I make a point to each day
incorporate the basics of common “being human”: say please, thank, smile, and do
not take out your frustration onto others. If you do, apologize. Additionally, if
I see a person in need, I offer to help. I found that shifting the energy from oneself
to another person’s needs for a short while can do miracles.
Every day, spend at least a few minutes checking-in with your loved ones.
Time flies, and trust me — particularly that teenager who is sitting in front of
the computer chatting with his friends right now will be gone in no time… and you
will actually miss him!
Practice physical self-care. Exercise accordingly to what your
body will allow, eat well (whatever that means to you), and indulge in a little
chocolate, if that’s what it takes to put some sweetness into your day.
Practice emotional self-care. Ask for a hug, if you are fortunate
to have a loved one around, or pick up the phone and call your best friend. If you
are pressed for time, put a timer on and let her/him know… but keep in touch with
others. Isolation is the worst “inner silencer.”
Every day, do one fun thing just for-the-fun-of-it! My first response
to this one was: “What do you mean? I barely have enough hours to get some sleep
in!” Remember, it does not have to be an involved activity. A 15-minute walk, meditation
or visualization, a manicure, a bubble bath, a facial… anything! The key is to do
it with the intention of telling your inner self that you matter.
Find time for a hobby. This suggestion comes from someone who’s
tried quite a few and gave up on most of them because the cleanup, such as for oil
painting, took longer than the enjoyable part of it. Yet, to the amusement and sometimes
embarrassment of my grown children, I found that singing karaoke is very therapeutic
for me. So, don’t be shy and be creative! Singing also brings me to elaborate on
the added benefit in my next point.
Breath! Think about acoustic instruments: no air, no music! Same
goes for humans. You cannot sing with any passion or beauty unless the air is coming
in and out the right way. Singing, yelling (appropriately and not at people), and
simply releasing built up inner pressure has amazing power. Don’t forget that there
is a correct way of breathing to get our brains properly oxygenated. The air needs
to go in through the nose, into the stomach (diaphragm), and out through the mouth.
If you are moving your shoulders, you need to work on it because it is your stomach
(put your vanity aside for a second) the one that should expand.
Put your worries aside—literally. On my nightstand, I have what
I call my “angel box.” When I find myself obsessing or cannot get rid of a particular
thought, I write my concerns down and put them in my box. I ritually give my worries
to my angels. There is therapeutic power in physically cleansing our internal issues
through the process of handwriting them down and delegating the worrying to a trusted
being— you can choose your preferred one, as long as he, she, or it matters to you.
After a few weeks of reconnecting with these practices, not only I started hearing
my inner music again, but the magic went beyond to show me that there is hope for
maintaining my core philosophy of seeing problems only as challenges. Furthermore,
I feel more peaceful and proud of having been able to find my Self again, the one
who I like and enjoy being around. After all, we are the only humans we can count
on being with for sure 24x7!
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