4. Improving your self-talk

Self acceptance is a habit that is greatly linked to life satisfaction. Sometimes, to get to that self acceptance, we have to practice positive self-talk. This can be in the form of you repeating to yourself that you are strong, confident, smart, interesting, etc. Example: “I am smart. I can do it.” Or- this can also look like you imagining how you would be kind, compassionate, and supportive to a friend needing your caring words of acceptance and tell yourself these things. Example: “You are smart, you’ve got this.”

Exercise 1:

Think of a situation where you feel anxious being who you are or nervous about being in a certain place. Tell yourself in either of these ways, (using “I” or “You”) that you belong there, that you can handle it. Divide a piece of paper down the middle. Write that scene out on the left side. On the right side practice your positive self talk. Write to yourself encouraging words, what you need to say to yourself. I have written an example below.

Writing about situations we feel uncomfortable about can help ease our nerves. Writing about situations we feel unsure about ourselves in can help us feel more at home in our own skin and bodies.

It’s also important to recognize any negative self talk that we have. Like, if we say, I’m not good enough, I’m dumb, I’m ugly, etc., that’s not good for us. Anything you say to yourself or think about yourself that is negative is not good for you- not good for your self-esteem, for completing your goals, for feeling good about yourself. Try to replace any negative self talk with positive self talk.

And if there are any people in your life who tell you negative things, that right there is an automatic NO. If you can continue down a different path from them, that’s better for you. You don’t need people in your life who make you feel bad about yourself. You just don’t. If for some reason you can’t leave them behind and they’re going to be around in your life, because they’re family members or something- set boundaries. Make a true effort to tell them not to talk to you like that, leave the room, stick your hand out in a stop motion. Seriously, don’t let them be mean to you.

Exercise 2

If you have someone in your life who puts you down or is mean or rude or just generally makes you feel bad, imagine standing up to them and what you would say if they say something rude. You might even tell them that what they are saying is rude. Write that scene- with them acting in a damaging way to you and you standing up for yourself. If you want to use the other person’s name and yours, you can, or if that feels awkward or scarier somehow or you worry about that person reading what you write (hopefully not), then write it in 3rd person.

Here’s a scene I’m imagining. Example:

Other person: You would be so much more attractive if you just lost weight. Me: I’m fine just how I am, please don’t comment on my body. Other person: I’m just trying to help you. Me: Well, it’s my body and I know what I need to do for it. Other person: No one will tell you what you need to hear if it’s not family. Me: We can move on, but I don’t want you to say anything else about my body or weight. Other person: Whatever, someday you’ll thank me. Me: (At this point, I walked away from her. She was annoyed that I didn’t bow down to her because of what she was saying or thank her for insulting me, but I don’t need that).

This person may come back for more, to tell you something else that is harmful to your self-esteem or sense of self, so be prepared. It’s usually not just a one time thing. But you can work to set boundaries. Don’t let people treat you poorly. You don’t have to lash out against them, but you do need to set a boundary about what they can say and how they can treat you. Writing down ways you can, will, and do set boundaries can help you actually do it in real life. Sometimes these boundaries are bigger than others. If you need to set a big boundary, I encourage you to write about it first and to begin also by setting little boundaries where you need to.

Thank yourself for your writing today and try to continue to write every day. Writing even a sentence or an idea or check-in comment every day can get you into a healthy writing practice and help you process how you feel about your world. Thank you for tuning in.

Would love to see you back on Mondays. Come write with us. Come write your true self. Come write your ideas. Come write your butterfly.

See you next Monday.

Best,

Liza

Published by lizawolfffrancis

Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College who is proud to have served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has an ekphrastic poem posted in Austin’s Blanton Art Museum by El Anatsui’s sculpture “Seepage” and her work has most recently appeared in Steam Ticket, eMerge, Minute Magazine, Weaving the Terrain: 100 Word Southwestern Poems, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, Poetic Routes, Poetry Pacific, Edge, and on various blogs. She has a chapbook out called Language of Crossing (2015, Swimming with Elephant Publications), which is a collection of poems about the Mexico- U.S. border. She loves breakfast food, popcorn and dark chocolate.

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