“You don’t speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head. Be kind to yourself.” ~Unknown
Talking to yourself in a nurturing way can be difficult if you rarely hear the language of nurturing in the early formative years of your life. In fact, if you were often criticized or ignored, you should have learned to criticize and ignore yourself instead.
When I was growing up, my mother was a devoted wife and mother, but suffered from deep depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. The words she said to me reflected the negativity she felt about life and herself.
I have forgiven my mother for all the mistakes she made as a child. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have work to do on myself to heal my unconsciously inherited self-loathing.
I grew up this way, suffered from low self-esteem, was deeply depressed, found myself in an abusive marriage with my first husband, relied on others for approval, and ignored my own dreams. believe in yourself
Over the years, I have worked a lot to heal and have made great strides in all these areas.I have discovered the meaning of unconditional self-love. I have learned to set healthy boundaries and accept myself for who I am. And I have educated myself so that I can deal with stress and face problems in a healthier way.
Most importantly, I have learned to talk to myself in a more loving and nurturing way. I learned
First, I made a list of all the influential people from my childhood to adulthood. Then I asked myself, “What words of love do you need or want to hear from each person, even if you don’t think you need to hear those words yet today?”
Then I wrote down all the things that I wish I could have heard speak to me from a place of their heartfelt love and understanding. If so, I also wrote those words.
Below is a list of people who influenced my childhood and adulthood. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, relatives, neighbors, friends, teachers, coaches, pastors, therapists, doctors, bosses, colleagues, and spouses.
When I started making a list of statements I wanted to hear from these people, I could feel that these were the words my heart still needed to hear today, but now from myself.
It’s interesting how relevant these statements still feel after changing the speaker to me. For example, when I read a statement from my mother that she wanted to hear the words, “You are so talented and creative,” and then switched the provider of that statement to one from me, I found myself I felt a heightened awareness of my breasts as if I had never seen or heard of them before.
As you work through this exercise, let go of judgments about the people on your list. Because I realized that everyone did the best they could considering the stress and state of mind they were under.
This exercise is not about them, it’s about me and my healing. It is about taking the time to listen to the neglected person in me so that her voice can speak for what she has long needed but rarely received from others or herself. It is to be
The exercise then shifts to lovingly giving and receiving these words so you can learn how to nurture yourself on a deeper level.
Here are some of the things I wish I had heard from my mother when I was little.
- i care about you
- I want the best for you
- you are a nice person
- I want you to grow more and more.
- You are smart and creative.
- I feel very good for you
- I respect your opinion.
- i believe you.
- i trust you.
- thank you for your effort.
- I admire you.
- I’m here for you
- i appreciate your help.
- you can rely on me
At first, I wrote the statement in stream of consciousness without editing. I kept asking myself. What did the young woman in me need to hear to feel valued and confident in herself?”
I took breaks in my writing and allowed myself to come back when I was ready to continue. Every time I came back to exercise, I was always thinking of something new, and I started to feel a sense of relief in my heart as I wrote it.
Once the list names were all resolved, I gently edited the statement to make it more appropriate for my current life. For example, I changed the words from my brother, “I’m sorry I didn’t play with you,” to “I’m having fun playing with you now.”
For statements that were clearly not applicable, I checked to see if they had their own message that could be phrased differently.
Here are some examples of words from a gym teacher: “I think you have the potential to be a strong athlete.” Since I am no longer involved in the sport, my first response was to delete this sentence. But I decided to rewrite it and reread it as “I think your body can get stronger.” This is helpful now as I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
From each statement you write, I think there’s always at least the seed of something worth working on.
As I got used to the rhythm of this exercise, other nurturing thoughts popped into my head that I needed to hear too.
After editing all the statements, I kept the master list and made another copy for further work. In this new working copy, I removed all the names I originally used and combined all the statements.
Then, next to each statement, I wrote what it was. An apology, a compliment, a question, or a statement of truth. We then grouped the statements into these four categories.
Each group has its own healing effect. For example, an apology letter reflects an area of your life where you felt neglected. In each apology letter, ask yourself if you are still being ignored in this same area.
For example, after reading the apology, “I’m sorry to disappoint you,” you can ask yourself, “What part of my life is letting me down right now?” Or an apology letter that says, “I’m sorry for scaring you.” You can ask yourself: Am I worried about falling into a state of depression?
A group of question sentences is a helpful list to use later as a source of introspection, as they are relevant to my life at the moment.
Here is an example of a question written on a list:
- Please tell me how you feel.
- Please tell me what you are thinking.
- Please tell me your dream.
- Tell me what you want in your life
- tell me what you believe
- How can I support you?
With two groups left, Words of Praise and Words of Truth, I have used them to create a master list of nurtures to tell myself. When editing the statements, I wrote them as if they were talking to me or as if they were talking to myself, depending on which one felt better. “I am important,” etc.
Below is an example of my new nurturing self-talk statement.
- I care about myself
- my health is important to me.
- i love myself.
- I believe in myself
- I look to my future with confidence and trust.
- I am grateful for my life.
- I am safe and loved.
- I am a creative and caring person.
- I grow myself
- I am a smart and resourceful person.
- I cherish the happy moments in life.
- Thank you for your kindness.
- Life is beautiful in many ways.
- There is always something new to discover.
- Never give up hope for better days.
- My life is guided by love.
Developing Statements to Tell Yourself By the time I finished this exercise, I had written hundreds of statements, some of which were duplicates, so I kept only the statements that really spoke to me and kept the other statements. chose to remove the , making it a stronger and more powerful master.list.
I have created a master list so it has become an empowering tool that I can use every day. I feel
And by speaking more kindly to yourself, you’ll be able to practice unconditional self-love and make healthy choices for yourself.
This exercise can also be used as a way to build an inner sanctuary where you can go to find nourishment and rejuvenation. This inner refuge becomes stronger and more reliable the more you practice love exercises like this.
Works by Rita Lloyd
About Rita Lloyd
Rita Lloyd is a watercolor artist and author. Her job is to cultivate unconditional self-love. Her art has appeared on over 100 magazine covers. science of mindLearn about healing arts and tools to help you develop unconditional self-love. NurturingArt.comShe also has an interview series called The Power of Healing Art: Interviews with my Favorite Artist.