A couple weeks ago, I was washing my hands when I looked up into the mirror. Without even thinking, I sneered, “Ugh, gross,” as I looked at my thinning hair and noticed how stringy it looked. I walked back to my desk and my sweet husband looked over his computer and said “Hey pretty.” Immediately I was struck with the thought, how in the world does my husband see me as beautiful in almost the same instant that I determined I was gross? It called to my attention how often I talk bad to myself and for the rest of the day, I tried to count how often I engaged in negative self-talk.
To be honest, I’m embarrassed by how many times I insulted myself that day. Each time I muttered something under my breath, it was just automatic, gut reaction. I started to wonder how long this had gone on . . . how long had I been my own bully? And what would it take to fix it?
Here’s the thing, moms, our self-talk matters. Not just because it affects how we feel about ourselves, but it is passed on to our kids and it becomes their self-talk.
Making a Change
I decided to work to improve how I talk to and about myself and while I’m no expert, I have found some things that have helped. (If you have some things that have helped you, please share them with me!)
- Challenge yourself. Anytime I catch myself in a negative phrase, I stop and ask myself to provide evidence. In other words, is what I’m saying true, or am I just basing my opinion on my own misguided reflections?
- Get a fact check. If I’m still needing a sanity check, I call my sister or my husband. I let them know what I’m thinking and I ask that they be honest. They’re incredibly good at being kind, but still being real.
- Take a step back. Determine how big of a deal your self-complaint really is. If I make a mistake at work, and I’m beating myself up about it, I try to be objective and think through “How big of a deal is this really?” If it’s a big deal, can I fix it? If it’s not fixable, then I note it as something to improve for the future and allow myself to move on.
- Set a goal. I found that I have recurring themes of my negative self-talk, so I’ve set some goals to work on the things I don’t like. It’s amazing how setting goals and working towards them rewards my mental image of who I am.
I imagine this may be a constant battle, but mamas, it’s a battle worth fighting
Seeing The Good
I’m starting to see a difference. Now when I look in the mirror my default response hasn’t been “ugh,” and has instead been focused on the good. Instead of seeing bags under my eyes, I see a mom who got to snuggle her babies when they were scared last night. Instead of seeing a body I dislike, I’m seeing a body that can accomplish what it needs to take care of her family everyday. I imagine this may be a constant battle, but mamas, it’s a battle worth fighting.
Are you fighting the self-image battle? Any tips on winning this battle?
Contributing Sister Site and Author
Texas is deep in the heart of this southern girl. Heidi was born and raised in DFW. As a child, she remembers trips to the Fort Worth stockyards and water gardens, instilling Texan pride and now she and her husband have two boisterous boys to go on adventures with around Cowtown. She previously worked as a child abuse investigator but now works full-time for an education technology company. Heidi still finds time to pursue hobbies such as starting craft projects she’ll never finish and pinning elaborate recipes she’ll never make. Heidi is a long-time blogger, writing about recipes, politics, and family life.
Heidi is a contributor for Fort Worth Moms Blog, one of our Sister Sites.