Speaking gently

Nicole says, "I would like to learn how to speak gently to myself. This my only resolution and I wish i could stick to it. Help would be much welcomed."

What we say to ourselves is one of the main obstacles to a simpler life. We decide to do something fun and relaxing and next thing we know we hear, "Why are you relaxing – there are dirty dishes in the sink, you have paperwork to do and you could be doing something productive with your time." And we are the ones saying it.

Or we think people will think we are weird if our kids aren’t in everything under the sun or we drive a beater car. We think we have to keep doing and keep striving or others will look down on us. We say to ourselves, "What will they think if you don’t make a homemade dessert for the potluck."

So how can you speak more gently to yourself.

First you need to hear yourself.

Journaling is a fantastic way to listen to your thoughts.

Stop a few times a day to see what you are thinking about at that moment. Maybe set a timer to go off every hours or so.

Until you hear what you are saying it’s difficult to change.

Turn it around

When you hear yourself beating yourself up or speaking negatively, turn it around.

For example, you hear yourself say, "I am so fat." You catch yourself. So you say, "I may weigh more than I’d like, but I can make excellent choices today." It’s not necessary to say things that are so positive you don’t believe them.

How about, "I screwed up big time." It could be, "Welcome to the human race. Now what can I do differently next time?"

Negative thinking often sucks you into regretting things in the past. Keep reminding yourself that you have choices and you can make new ones at anytime.

Honey, baby

Sometimes it helps if you picture yourself as a small child when you need to tone down your self talk or comfort yourself. "There, there. It’s ok."

Visualize optimistic outcomes

Before you start tasks, picture yourself completing the task well. Get yourself in a positive state of mind before you even start.

Be a detective

If you catch yourself being hard on yourself, don’t beat yourself up for that too. Think more like a detective. "Whoops, I am doing it again. That’s interesting." Use it as an opportunity to get to know yourself better and your fears (since most of your negative talk is based in fear).

Be gentle as you learn to be gentle with yourself.

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Photo credit: jtravism
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