I am Who I Say I am

Do you hear it? The voice.

Always whispering and giving input, even when you don’t want to hear it.

Sometimes it’s loud, sometimes it’s soft, but it’s always present.

Periodically, it says positive things about yourself and others, but often, it’s saying things that shouldn’t be said out loud, especially in public.

It’s that voice in your head. The self-talk that you constantly engage with. It’s almost like a battle between good and evil. Correction, it is a battle between good and evil.

Maybe I’m unique, but I am constantly battling my self-talk.

In fact, when I’m not being vigilant, the voice in my head is about the worse thing I can pay attention to.

The self-talk takes on many forms. You too might be familiar with them.

There’s negativity, which is all about being a naysayer. There’s judgement which is always giving an unwanted opinion. Then there’s the voice of self-doubt that says I’ll never reach my goal or be the person I long to be. And then there’s my personal favorite, “worry” which gives voice to all things that could or could not possibly happen.

The list of “voices” that are in my head goes on and on.

With self-talk like mine, why bother with people’s criticism of me, I’m doing just fine on my own, thank you very much!

And you? What about your self-talk?

My self-talk unfortunately directs much of my parenting. The aforementioned “voices” not only influence me, but my children as well.

I find that it’s a daily struggle to have self-talk that’s not only positive but based off truth. As the Good Word says, when you know the truth, the truth will set you free.

The “truth” is, as a parent, your self-talk not only impacts how you perceive yourself, but others around you, including your spouse and children. I find that when I allow my self-talk to be anything but reaffirming and positive, I’m on a one-way road to bad parenting and bad spousing (Yes, I just made up that word).

I actively need to take hold of my thoughts and control them in order to not go overboard. Self-talk is probably one of the greatest driving forces we can have in this life. It can either build us up or tear us down. Granted we can all be self-deprecating from time to time, but there’s a point when our self-talk determines what our potential is.

What we say about ourselves says so much about who we become, and how people view and treat us.

There’s even a verse in the Bible that reads: “….whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

If those who lived in ancient times had difficulty with keeping a positive mindset, how much more do we who live in today’s fast paced, self-focused, hyper violent and over sexualized society?

With that in mind, I am constantly trying to monitor what I listen to and watch and do the same for my children, so my mind and theirs is apt to focus on positive aspects of life that impacts our self-talk, but, it’s difficult.

Periodically when I hear my children making negative comments about themselves, my wife and I step in to tell them that what their saying isn’t true. More so, as parents, we need to be conscientious of what we say about ourselves in front of our kids so they don’t see poor behavior modeled for them in the context of negative self-talk.

Some helpful tips to combat negative self-talk are:

– Ask yourself if the self-talk holds any truth. More than likely there is a tad bit of truth in the negative self-talk, but when compared to reality, it pails in comparison.

For example, “I’m a failure.” You might have failed at something, but that doesn’t define who you are, hence “I failed, but that doesn’t mean that I’m a failure.”

– Talk to someone who you trust and can give you honest, loving feedback about your negative self-talk (i.e. a spouse, trusted friend or relative).

– When possible, tell yourself positive affirmations that combat the negative thoughts you’re experiencing.

– Get professional help if necessary.

I’ve heard of famous athletes and political figures looking into the mirror and reciting positive mantras to themselves in order to build up their self-esteem. I’ve even done that from time to time. I look into the mirror and despite the human frailty that stares back at me, I choose to encourage and speak life to that person who needs to believe that he is worthy of love, worthy of friendship, worthy of success and ultimately worthy of happiness.

More so, because my kids are counting on that man in the mirror to be someone who is both uplifting and positive despite the poor self-talk we all face from time to time.

The thoughts of who I am, impacts who I am and ultimately, those around me.

The same could be said of our children.

So by taking captive of our negative self-talk and re-affirming ourselves, we help model for our children the need to have a positive self-image in a world where self-affirmation is drowned out by the voices of naysayers, judgement, worry and self-doubt.

What’s Next? Talk with others. Take action.

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