The most important person you speak to every day is who? If you said yourself, you are correct. I want you to think about this for a moment and be honest with yourself while answering this question:
When you speak to yourself would you say that you are kind or are you harsh on yourself?
What I mean by this is do you use words of encouragement such as:
- I am so proud of the effort you put in today
- You did a great job
- It may not have gone as you wanted but you learned something
Or, are you making comments like this:
- You are so stupid
- You will never be good at that
- You are not worthy
Most people tend to slip into the second category without even thinking about the effect it is having on their self-esteem. We are harsh on ourselves but we would never dream of saying those things to other people, would we. Why is this?
Why are we okay chastising ourselves when we would not be happy saying the same thing to someone else?
Why do we value the feelings of other people more than we value our own?
The “Golden Rule” tells us to treat other people as we would want to be treated and this is a great thing to remember. My question to you is this: Why would you talk to yourself in a different way than you would want other people to talk to you?
Before you start beating yourself up about this I want you to understand that this is a natural response because we have not been taught to value ourselves as we would value others. I cannot answer why this is the case and in reality, it doesn’t matter what has happened in the past, the important thing is that you start to change it today.
I know that this has been my reality and I didn’t realize this until I was 50 years old! I always wanted to please others and would do so at my expense. What I didn’t know was the effect this was having on my confidence and self-esteem. On the surface I appeared confident and self-assured but underneath I was anything but these things. The effect of this was me not loving myself, and living in a perpetual state of underlying unhappiness.
A mentor of mine, John C. Maxwell, says that you cannot give what you don’t have. So, you may ask, what does this have to do with self-talk? Well, conventional thinking teaches us to love others and while this is true, we have to learn to love ourselves so that we can give love to other people. In other words, we need to experience the emotion and feelings so that when we do something to make other people feel the same it is a genuine action.
I want you to think about the people you admire the most. What do they do that makes you admire them? If you were to meet them what would you say to them?
Now the key is to transfer these feelings into how you behave and what you say to yourself. Here are some things that you can do every day to improve your confidence and self-esteem:
- Write down 3 things that you are grateful for
- Write down one thing that you did today of which you are proud
- Write down one lesson that you learned today
- Write down 1-3 things that you said to other people that made you feel good
- Write down 1-3 things that other people said to you that made you feel good
- Read 10 pages of a personal development book
I understand that this is going to feel a little strange to start with but I want you to persist. Once you do this for 21 days without missing one day it will become a habit and when this happens it will become natural. I don’t expect you to do all 6 to start with so start with one that speaks to you and master that before adding another. The important thing is that you make a positive change and keep that momentum going. When you do this, you will start to see a difference in your life and I promise you that other people will notice this too.
Yours in Leadership,