We all have it: that negative, judgmental voice inside our heads. It isn't always there and it isn't always obvious, but when it decides to speak, it's hard to ignore. It tells us we're not good enough. It tells us we are alone. As a kid, I thought there was no way to get rid of this relentless internal critic. I thought the critic was me. The voice was so persistent and so familiar, I mistook it for the truth and believed it to be the only voice, but turns out there is another voice: the consciously positive one. In college, I started separating myself from the negative voice by recognizing it every time it popped up and combating it with a positive affirmation instead. This is around the same time I started telling myself in the mirror "I am safe, I am loved, and I believe in you"--a strange habit to some, but a healthy one to me. If I can't reflect myself in a positive light, I won't be able to positively reflect others around me. We all need to regularly polish off our internal mirrors to fight off the nasty, self-hating haze.
While in Maine this past week, Bob Jones--the owner of the house where I stayed and one of my new favorite people--told me that he wanted to make a positive affirmation video to listen to during his walking meditations. He had a few affirmation videos saved on his phone, but he wanted to make one using his own voice and his own positive words. I was inspired. Positive affirmations voiced by someone else are no doubt powerful, but to hear one's own voice might actually be life-changing. I went home immediately to write up my own list of loving, self-talk, and then today I went on a beautiful hike in Arcadia in Exeter, Rhode Island to take pictures for the video. I set the pictures to music and added the recording of myself reading the affirmations. I'm not going to lie--I felt funny at first hearing my own voice. I cringed a couple times and felt self-conscious and silly, but the more I listened, the more I started to feel comfortable and believe my words.
Laugh if you want. Call me weird and strange, but I encourage you to be brave and make your own! I would love to hear your positive self-talk. You can also buy a deck of affirmation cards from Rachael at www.healthy-chicks.com. I purchased one of her "bliss decks" at the Healthfest this past Sunday in Farmington Connecticut and every day since, I have picked a random affirmation to start my day off on a positive note.
If the technology portion is too complicated and you don't want to spend money, simply write out a list of affirmations and say them out loud. Speak to yourself in the mirror, speak to yourself in the car, in the woods, on the bus, in the middle of family dinner. Okay, maybe there are limits to positive self-talk for the sake of appearing sane, but let's all admit that there is nothing insane about loving yourself. We all have voices in our head. It's time we pay attention to them, recognize the hurtful voices, and counteract them with love.