(Originally from The Locke List)
So, a funny thing happened the other night.
My husband was assisting me in getting to the bathroom. (I had abdominal surgery last Tuesday – ouch!) Anyway, as we’re (slowly) making our way across the apartment,I was doing what I always do: talking to myself.
Mr. Locke looked at me and said, “Do you always do that?” I didn’t even realize I was doing it. So I asked him what he meant. He said, “Do you always talk to yourself?”
I’ve always done it. I’m aware of it. I but I hadn’t realized I do it … like I apparently do it. I admitted it—”yeah, I guess I do”—and then he said something interesting.
“Do you always talk to yourself like that?”
“Like what?” I ask.
“So … positively. You’re cheering yourself on. You’re telling yourself you’re doing a good job. You’re encouraging yourself. It’s … weird but really … neat.”
Do I do that? I thought about it for a while. The longer I replayed my internal thoughts—things I think and don’t even realize it—I realized … I do.
Then I realized why. Because I know the answer.
My twenties were like everyone’s twenties, I think. A decade of figuring out who I was. Of berating myself over ev-ery-th-ing. (Legit, everything.) Right before my youngest was born, I started reading a lot of self-help and books on reflection and self and stumbled upon a thing about talking to yourself. Not the act of doing it, exactly, but of how that internal “recording” inside your head affects you.
Because it does.
As soon as I read the article, I knew it was true.
In the back of your brain, there’s a tape that plays all day long. It can be positive or negative. It can be optimistic or pessimistic. And, get this: it colors every single thing you think.
I put that book down and decided I would change my then-negative inner tape. I would tell myself I was doing great. I would compliment myself as if I were my friend, not my own enemy, and acknowledge when I was doing the best I can. Or when I hit a goal or passed up the third cookie or didn’t cry when I had to clean up yet another kid mess.
It took a long damn time. LOL But I practiced it like it was my job. Every time I had a negative feeling or thought, I’d find a way to twist it positively. And, you know what?
I’d never put all this together until the other night. This little “hack”, for a lack of a better word, changed so much for me. It’s why I don’t get beaten down by stupid things. It’s why I can keep trying. It’s why I can take terrible things and find the silver lining in them.
And, apparently, why I now verbalize my own inner cheerleader.
You have one too. You just have to find her.
Practice that this week. Find that inner reel that plays when you aren’t even paying attention to it. Listen to how you talk to yourself.
And then be your own friend. <3