Do compliments twist you up? When your boss entrusts you with a big project, do you sink into self-doubt? What words trace through your thoughts as you look in the mirror?
Two thousand-year-old wisdom teaches,"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if anything is excellent and worthy of praise, dwell on these things." - Philippians 4:8
For us as women, too often our thoughts latch onto how our jeans fit, that dumb thing we said, how we lost our patience with the children. What if, instead, we dwelt on the positive, as the Apostle Paul wrote — on the true, the honorable, the lovely things, especially within ourselves?
1) Tune in to your inner voice.
We can become so habituated to our own negativity that we hardly notice it. When I miss a shot in tennis, I often growl to myself, “Stupid!”
But wait ... I’m on the court, in the fresh air and sunshine, getting exercise — decidedly not stupid.
My partner Gail will say, “Nice try,” or if it was a difficult shot I missed, “Good thought.”
Why don’t I talk to myself as nicely as Gail talks to me?
Pay attention to your inner voice as you move through the day, especially in difficult situations. When you make mistakes, apologize wherever and to whomever necessary, evaluate where you went wrong, and move on. To engage in negative rumination is to verbally abuse yourself.
2) Affirm yourself.
Whatever your trouble spot, write a list of affirmations.
Is it your appearance? Tape your affirmations to your mirror.
Do you have trouble accepting credit for work well done? Keep a note on your desk at work.
Do you doubt your mothering? This is an especially tender spot if you have teens who seem to have radar for vulnerability. Keep a silent, running narrative — "I cooked a healthy meal. I provided a quiet place for homework. I listened without judging."
Here’s a cheat sheet of 20 Positive Affirmations to help get you started.