For those of us who were neglected or bullied by our parents, our self-esteem never had a chance.
Kids fill in the blanks with negative life experiences, usually in the negative. Kids learn to down themselves, inside their own minds and to others. Kids will match their inside world with what their outside world is acting like. It’s a way of making it all sensible. And kids don’t have the power or resources to help themselves if they lose their environment.
A soggy potato chip is better than no potato chip at all.
This carries over into adulthood. Even when we can “fake it” on the outside, and put on the appearance of positive self-esteem, on the inside we can be harassing, assaulting, berating and negating ourselves.
So we must — and this is a responsibility, not a luxury — actively and pointedly build positive self-talk.
This is a learning task. And we learn in clusters of three. We learn best when we have three modes of sensory input, rehearse the lesson three times, and validate the positive outcomes three times.
For example, if I want to learn to cope with the anxiety of doing a certain thing, I will say to myself, “It’s alright. Go slow. Even if it’s not perfect, I can handle.” 3 self-talks.
I’ll put on music that is soothing or motivating, eat something nutritious and comforting, and wear an outfit that makes me feel comfortable and confident. Three sensory things.
Then, do all of that together and practice, practice, practice. Even during times when I’m not really needing it, I practice it.
I hope you enjoy these art pieces that are my own works, and use them to remember this little lesson on self-talk.
Thanks! More later — Heidi Hansen, M.A. Mental Health Therapist. Ph: (360) 89-3479. Email: dog.hotel.hansengmail.com.