Wellness Wednesday – watch your language

Do you ever notice what tone of voice you use with yourself when you make a mistake?

We all talk to ourselves (it is part of the human condition) though some people are not aware of what language they are using.

For example: you forgot to pick up your dry cleaning (again) and you wanted that clean shirt for tomorrow’s presentation. Do you say, “sheesh, you idiot, why did you do that again?” Or do you say, “Oh well, I guess I’ll wear a different shirt. I’d better put that reminder in my calendar next time.”

When you realize you did something you did not intend, do you have compassion for yourself?  Do you speak with yourself the way you would speak to a beloved friend? Or do you self-flagellate and add insult to injury?

It matters.

Quite simply, the way you treat yourself has a lot to do with how much compassion you can extend to others as well. If you realize we all make mistakes, that it is not a character flaw, and resolve to do it differently next time, you can learn. If you criticize yourself or use harsh words, you break down your relationship with yourself.

watch language
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Language can powerfully shape the way we think. If you speak to yourself with kind and loving words instead of harsh and blaming ones, you honor your being’s inherent tendency for growth and development. When you blame yourself or put yourself down (even if you do not intend, or if it is just habitual) it can erode the trust you have in your own wisdom.

It is interesting how I can observe family members or friends when they do this, but I didn’t realize when I was inadvertently doing this myself. I first discovered this during meditation. I used to “say” things like – oh dear, can you REALLY not concentrate for more than 30 seconds?”

Now when I meditate I say (to myself): hmm, how interesting that I’m thinking about X or Y. Then I gently pull myself back to my breath, or my body, whatever I am focusing on for the moment. Then 2 minutes later when I am planning my work for the day (while meditating), I say: “it’s okay, I know you are concerned about that. But it will be there when you are done meditating. Come back now.” It is a loving voice, gentle forgiving.

If you cannot access your thoughts through meditation, try a “thought download” – take a sheet of paper and just unload all of your thoughts for 5-10 minutes It might surprise you what is in there.

Curiosity and compassion will get you SO much further than blaming and shaming. 

Happy Wednesday, all.





4 thoughts on “Wellness Wednesday – watch your language

  1. LOVE this post, Cristy. You are so full of wisdom and I find that we are really on the same wavelength in many respects. I have been doing a lot of work with myself lately when it comes to self-compassion. I was really inspired by Kristin Neff’s TED talk on self-compassion and am keen to read her book on the same topic. I’m trying to put self-compassion into practice by changing the way I speak to myself internally and, when that fails, at least being aware of negative chatter when it comes up and responding in a calm and caring way. I think the good news is that once we tune in and become more aware of this negative chatter, it seems to die down of its own accord because the act of noticing brings the perspective needed to drain it of power and meaning. I love those moments when I find myself responding to negative self-talk along the lines of “Well, that was just a word from our sponsors. Thanks for that highly irrelevant and demeaning commentary. Now let’s get back to what’s important!” Cristy, thank you for another inspiring post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kristin Neff’s work sounds fascinating. I ran across this as well when I was listening to the audio book “The Confidence Code.” Some great, compelling research out there on how compassion helps! I think at first it can be hard to change our habits, but with deliberate practice, it definitely seems to get easier, thankfully! I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

      Liked by 1 person

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