Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

The Words You Whisper

hafiz4

This was posted on Facebook by Higher Self Network, a page I follow for the inspirational quotes they share daily. This particular one has stuck with me since I saw it.

Have you ever noticed how we can be so kind to those around us, but so mean to ourselves?

I don’t know when it starts, if there is something in the water in grade schools across the country, or if there are subliminal messages broadcast on TV and radio programs that plant the seeds, but somewhere along the path toward adulthood millions of people learn how to mentally bash themselves.

“I am such an idiot.”

“I really hate my thighs.”

“I am terrible at sports.”

“I suck at math.”

“I can’t get anywhere on time no matter how hard I try.”

The list of potential areas for finding fault is endless. Everything from hair color, BMI, fitness level, smarts, fashion sense, artistic ability, musical talent, decisions, and so on – nothing is sacred and nothing is safe.

Yet, our words become the house we live in.

Yikes. I would think that the words we speak to ourselves would be especially important to building our house. And yet, we can’t say a kind word about ourselves if we try! If we are not talking down to ourselves out loud, we are whispering insults silently to the mirror. If we are not speaking with barbs directly pointed at ourselves, we are tossing out these comments in a more boom-a-rang approach which hits their mark just as well.

This is evident in how we accept compliments with qualifying remarks- “I love you hair!” is met with “Oh, gosh, it’s such a mess today.” “I like that shirt” is answered with “Really? I think it makes me look fat.” I have caught myself doing this on more than one occasion. Why is it so hard to just say thank you and accept that someone likes some small part about us? Where do we learn this sometimes subtle, sometimes aggressive self-loathing?

The importance of positive self-talk really struck home for me when I was in class the other night. I am almost a quarter of the way through my first certification class for my job. It is a very small class so there is a lot of interaction amongst the students and teacher. One person in the class seems to really be struggling with the material. Every week she says she can’t get anything right; she will never understand this; she is not going to be able to pass the board exam.

I realized that she is probably right. She won’t do well if she keeps saying those things. She is setting herself up to fail – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I have never been a huge proponent for affirmations. I always thought that books and motivational speakers who would have you post sticky notes around the house spouting uplifting and positive statements were a joke. As I get older, I realize that you get what you put out there. I believe the universe has a weird cosmic balancing system of matching the vibes you give off. And nothing speaks louder than your words.

I have been very careful to not speak negatively when it comes to my studies and my ability to pass this certification. Call it not wanting to jinx myself if you want to, but I don’t think it hurts to think and speak positivity. If nothing else it is bolstering my mental energy to tackle all the material. :)

Now if I can only practice speaking kindness to myself in other areas of my life as well.

What words have you been building your house with lately?

What words will you change?

7 Comments

  1. This is quite a timely post. I have always struggled with this — always. For me, it started as a child. A dancer – never thin enough, never perfect enough never this never that, gotta be better…. I still do it. Always have. I keep it to myself, mostly. I hate it actually but then I look in the mirror and I see what I see, thus the cycle repeats itself.

    • I am not sure what first triggered this in me, but it has carried over into many are if my life. I was a voice major in school so maybe there is that performance component that initially taught me to doubt myself. There was always someone better, who looked better singing, who had a broader range, better rhythm, could improvise better. Between that and just growing up female (we have an inherent gene that compares ourselves to other girls!), I think I was doomed. :) As they say, the first step is realizing you have a problem. Now to teach ourselves to embrace ourselves, our quirks, our bad AND our good. :)

  2. What a wonderful post – thanks Pamela for leading me here. I love the Hafiz quote, and you expand on its meaning with such wisdom and warmth. I notice I need to change the words and thoughts I use mainly around money and my appearance…so nothing big?!?! Really enjoyed it – thank you:-)

    • So happy that you discovered my little corner of the net and enjoyed the post. I think most folks do this to some extent, some without even realizing it. If it isn’t our appearance, it’s our intelligence, our dreams, our abilities, nothing is safe. It’s sad too because everyone is a unique gift and we should learn to celebrate this instead of being afraid to let our little light shine. :)

  3. Hi Cheryl thanks so much for this insightful entry.
    I think it has to do with puberty. My step-son has just became 13 and since a year or so I hear him say these negative things about himself. I try to teach him exactly that quote but it is difficult when your hormones run havoc and you just do not feel right in yourself which you do in puberty.
    I try to teach him by example as well and watch my words about myself very much. It would be such a shame if this wonderful talented boy would built a run down house for himself. Take care Bee

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