The Journey to Self-Love: Speaking Life
In February, I started a journey where I decided for 365 days I would consistently and passionately pursue my dreams. The goal was to be intentional and consistent by doing a daily task that would move my life in the direction I desired. Little did I know that on the journey to finding the courage to follow my dreams, I would discover this one truth--- I needed to learn to love myself.
I wanted to be a woman who wasn’t defined by the things she’s been through in life. I wanted to be a whole woman. So, my 365 was no longer about crossing out tasks on my to-do list, but it became about loving Rachelle.
I always thought I loved myself, but as I dug deep and did some soul searching, I found areas in my life that needed some work. And I needed to start with the words I said to myself.
A wise man named Solomon once said:
“Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest. Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit - you choose.” Proverbs 18: 20-21 (MSG)
Everything flows out of the love that we have for ourselves. Self-love affects how we treat and see others. It affects the relationships and careers we choose. It affects how we pursue our dreams and if we pursue our dreams. The words that we decide to describe who we are, our successes and failures are significant indicators on how we feel about ourselves.
The more aware I became of my negative self-talk, I saw how critical and harsh I was on myself. When the inner tapes of shame, inadequacy, and guilt played over in my mind, and I believed them, they kept me from finding the courage to pursue my dreams.
What we think and say to ourselves will either build us up or tear us down. Our words have the power to cultivate dreams or kill them. It's not what others say about us that brings defeat, but it's what we say about ourselves. Our inner dialogue and the words we allow to enter our minds, form the beliefs we hold about ourselves.
So what are you saying to yourself? Who are you listening to?
Are you always negative? Are the people you spend most of your time with speaking life to you? Do you allow self-defeating thoughts to stop you from pursuing a new relationship, job, business venture or dream?
When people say negative things about me, or doubt my potential, I'm motivated to prove them wrong. Learning to fight the negative thoughts I think about myself is harder, but the battle for life-giving words is a fight worth fighting.
Watch what you speak over yourself. Pay attention to the negative soundtracks that play over your life. I didn’t grow up in an affirming environment, so I have to be intentional in changing my inner dialogue. I read lots of books, listen to inspirational speakers, and quote relevant scriptures out loud. I do anything to play a different message than the one I’ve learned to believe from my youth.
Speak life with words that inspire, uplift and encourage you to love yourself. Know that every inch of you: your skin, your hair, your personality was created in the image of the creator.
Here are some practical ways to change how you speak to yourself. Doing these things have allowed me to change how I see myself and what I say about myself.
Become aware of negative self-talk and self-defeating thoughts. Sometimes we don’t realize that the thoughts we think about ourselves do more harm than good because we think and talk out of habit. When you begin to beat yourself down, make a note in your journal, write down what you say. Learning to identify moments that bring negative self-talk and identifying what is said helps change your vocabulary.
Believe what God says about you. If you’re a person of faith, knowing who you are in Christ is life changing. When you begin to view yourself through the lens of God, and you believe what he says about you, you’ll start to recognize contradictions between what you say and what God says about you. You’ll also gain new vocabulary to combat the old negative words.
Watch what you feed. What you read and listen to will feed you. It will either be poisonous or life-giving. Listen to speakers who challenge your perspective on yourself and life. There are some great speakers out there like, Oprah, Jim Rohn, and Brene Brown, just to name a few. Read books that inspire you and motivate you to love yourself. Memorize a few scriptures that resonate with you. Feed your life with positive words and watch your perspective change. I surround myself with books from great thinkers and flood my mind with words from the Bible. I pray and tell myself out loud every day that I will do and become everything that God intended for me to do and become on this earth.
Speak life to yourself. Write a mantra and say it out loud every day. Every time I sink into negative self-talk moment, I catch myself and recite my mantra. I continually tell myself that no matter what I am going through or how I feel about myself, I will be and do everything God has placed in my heart to be and do. I will not shrink back; I will not faint because I am more than a conqueror.
I intentionally left out the rest of my mantra because it is super long but what’s yours? How do form the habit of speaking life over negative self-talk?