Self Care Saturday | What Are You Saying To Yourself?

Whatareyousaying

Are you aware of what you are saying to yourself when you don’t feel well?

Does an internal voice force you to go to work or to that party because it says you aren’t that sick?

What do you say to yourself when you make a mistake at work?

Is there a voice that states you were stupid for not catching that error? Does that same voice taunt you for days later?

As we have completed the first full week of January do you find a voice already criticizing you about not exercising enough, saving more or being more available to your friends? 

As I met a client for the first time this week, she apologized to me for her handwriting. “It’s horrible and I know you can’t read it.” In reality, I found she had beautiful handwriting and I could easily read it. I told her as much and she seemed surprised. Everyone has an internal monologue on a daily basis (my client tells herself she has horrible handwriting). Sadly, many of us are not aware of the statements we are saying to ourselves. Our personal self care begins with the daily dialogue we say to ourselves. In last week’s Self Care Saturday,  I asked if you are as nice to yourself as you are to your friends.

I have found that we internally say things about our own behavior, appearance and expectations that we would never say to those that we love. 

It is sad that there is often a struggle to show ourselves the love that we show to each other. Many times, individuals feel they are not worthy of the same compassion provided to others. Many times, individuals are not even aware of the statements they are saying.

Are you aware of what you are saying to yourself? Is the statement valid? What is the proof behind it? Where did the statement originally come from?

I would like to use the following story as an example.

As a young child, I had several health problems and was often absent from school. I vividly remember my second grade teacher stating (in front of me) that she didn’t believe I was as sick as I stated and Mom should make me come to school. I believe my Mom was shocked and I suddenly felt that no one believed me (for the record, my parents never made me go to school – I liked school and didn’t like missing).What happened to me after this incident is that I did start making myself go to school. I went when I didn’t feel good, struggled through headaches and even competed in a high school competition with a severely sprained ankle (it was double the size) because it was the state finals and I couldn’t let the team down. (This was another time when a parent criticized me for sitting out practices and saying I was going to impact the team)

This mentality continued as I went to college and started my professional career. I went to classes with a severe bout of what was likely my early problems with gluten issues (running to the bathroom often). My first professional job found me with a severe ear infection three months after starting and a full month of speaking engagements. I wouldn’t allow myself to take a sick day because I was new and feared I wouldn’t be believed.

Over the years, I have had physicians of all specialities state my pain tolerance is extremely high. I’m not sure if it has always been this way or if I have developed it over the years. Although I have become better at listening to my body and what it needs, I continue to battle that voice that states I’m not that sick.

Although the voice I have listened to over the years has been my own, it did not originate with me.

That voice came from a teacher who had no idea the power of her words. Those words of thinking I was not sick became “I will show you” Sadly, having this mentality also impacted my health and I often delayed going to the doctor because I was “tough”.

As for my client mentioned above, I am not sure why she felt that her handwriting was horrible. Perhaps someone had told her this at one time.  What I do know is somewhere along the way she developed this irrational statement.

What are the voices that you hear on a daily basis saying to you? What has become commonplace mantras that you are not even aware of?

Today, I ask you to spend a little time listening to your inner dialogue. When you find that negative thought or criticism, ask yourself where it originated from. Is there proof that it is legitimate (I bet there isn’t). 

Show some compassion and love to yourself. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, you should not say it to yourself? 

Self Care Saturday is a weekly series that discuss tips and offer suggestions for practicing self care and compassion on a daily basis.

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11 Comments

  1. Sometimesphotojenik on January 10, 2015 at 11:03 am

    This is so great and spot on! With all the busyness that life brings and is always being connected to something, I think it’s easier than ever to drown out that inner voice. The battle of the mind is so difficult, yet SO important to win. I especially love how you pinted out that if you wouldn’t say it to a friend you shouldn’t be saying it to yourself- never thought of it that way but you’re so right!

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 11, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      You are so right, that we are all so busy that we don’t often realize what we are saying about ourselves. I read a blog post recently about learning to be our own best friend and I think that falls along the lines of what we say to ourselves. Our best friend would lift us up and cheer us on – not berate us!

  2. Nicky on January 10, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    I’m working on this with my therapist right now. She has had me listening to the inner voice in my head and countering the things it says to me. I was surprised by some of the nasty things I say to myself that fly under my mental radar. I’d never say those things to someone else, so why do I say them to myself?

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 11, 2015 at 12:57 pm

      Nicky, it’s amazing what people often say to themselves. I’m so glad you are becoming aware of the thoughts. Treat yourself with love and compassion, just like you would a friend. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Sarah on January 10, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Thank you for this! I know that I have a terrible problem with this. My inner monologue is horribly critical, especially since I got physically sick and have a hard time managing my weight (I either lose too much because of medications or gain too much), taking care of my appearance, and finding anything interesting to talk about. I was talking to my dad on the phone this morning about how I hate leaving the house anymore, and after reading this, I definitely think that my critical thoughts about myself isolate me as much as my pain. I find that if I am not around other people, I won’t be as hateful towards myself.

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 11, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      Sarah, our thoughts can get us in a vicious cycle where we think negatively about ourselves and then isolate ourselves from others because of those thoughts. I think it’s probably more common that people realize. I’m glad you are at least realizing those critical thoughts. That’s the first step. And by being around other people, you aren’t giving those negative thoughts power and space.

  4. Mandy Jackson on January 14, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Thank you for this post, it really spoke truth to me! So often I catch myself being hypercritical of myself, because as a type-A overachiever, I think everyone is looking at me through the same critical lens. I have had to remind myself to be as gracious to myself as I hope to be towards others. If I’m stressed and tired because my inner monologue is critical, then it interferes with how well I am loving the people around me. A daily choice, so thank you for this reminder!

    • Sheryl @ How to Make a Life on January 14, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Mandy, from one overachiever to another, I know what you are saying. It is true, when we aren’t kind to ourselves it does change how we interact with those we love. I so appreciate your thoughts and I’m glad this post spoke to you.

  5. Robyn Black on January 14, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    thanks for this encouragement & reminder that we all need to give ourselves grace! every day! 🙂

  6. Inge Scott on January 17, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    How many times have I gone to work sick so I wouldn’t disappoint my coworkers or boss? Too many! The last time I was sick, I was under a doctors care for 6 months who said I had common hemorrhoids. It turned out to be cancer. I am now well, and learned a valuable lesson…stop listening to others, stop caring what others think and follow my gut (pardon the pun).

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