As a child I great up with that saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” And that’s what we were led to believe. Yet, that’s not exactly true is it. I think we’ve learned a ton in the recent years that words hold much power than we thought. I’m still of the mindset that for the most part, people’s hateful words shouldn’t bother you…but that’s a strength of character that we have to GROW, it’s not automatic. I think the thing I’ve come most to realize is that the words we tell OURSELVES tend to be more likely to break you than the words others use.
The words we use when speaking to ourselves define us. Not just to others, but we start to BELIEVE that they’re true. This gives the words we tell ourselves power. When used in a positive and uplifting way it’s a superpower, but all too often the words we tell ourselves are hateful lies.
I can’t do this.
I am not good enough.
Sound familiar? It’s bad enough that I’ve been working on speaking positively to myself since 2011 because I wanted to be able to be a good role model for my children. Not just tell THEM they’re smart, beautiful and capable but show them that Mommy thought that about herself too.
Unfortunately, I am in the exact place I wanted so desperately to not be. Eli uses the most negative words to describe himself and his self-esteem is so low it’s heartbreaking. We’re working hard to help build his confidence, and we’ve seen improvements, but every struggle he faces at school and with daily motor skills drops him back into the negative self-talk.
There is NOTHING so heartbreaking as hearing this little human that you would do ANYTHING for that you KNOW is a brilliant and is destined for great things to tear himself apart.
So what can we do? Well, for starters we can use the Golden Rule that this world could use a lot more of “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.” Meaning, if YOU wouldn’t want be treated a certain way, make sure you aren’t treating anyone else in that way. I also think that we could use a bit more of Momma’s “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.” Just because I live in the U.S. and have freedom of speech under the Constitution doesn’t mean that I SHOULD say anything and everything that comes to my mind. ESPECIALLY when it’s unkind and has no potential to move everything forward. Even more so, we need to think about how we talk about ourselves and make sure we’re using kind and positive words because our children are watching. If we’re always picking apart our flaws instead of celebrating our unique awesomeness our kids will do the same thing. And possibly most importantly of all, we need to think about the words we’re using on our children. Just because your kid DOES act like a brat every now and then does NOT mean they ARE a brat. That’s a very distinct difference. Just because they WERE bad does not mean they ARE a bad kid. As kids develop their identity they’re going to go off what you have led them to believe about themselves…so be careful where you’re leading them.
I’m a 100% believer that you can change your life by changing your mindset. It’s not easy and it takes constant practice, but if you work that positive thought muscle you’re going to grow it’s strength. So, as this year comes to a close and the Christmas craziness begins, I’m asking you to think about what you’re projecting onto your kids, especially as they’re about to be in your hair even more than usual. I know we are working on constant positive reinforcement and encouragement with Eli. I do NOT want him to be 21, crying in his bedroom on new year’s eve with no self-confidence and feeling like he has no self-worth like I was. Together, we can all teach this next generation that just because you’re different doesn’t make you any less than anyone else and that while words will not physically hurt you, we need to think before we speak, even when it’s to ourselves.