How I learned to talk positively to myself every day

Five years ago I was in a horrible place, physically and mentally I was broken. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get me back to the pretty good place I find myself in today. It was a long and at times painful road. The thing that really helped me back to wellness was talking positively to myself; or rather talking to myself with a more positive voice.

I have always talked about myself negatively. I have a negative voice in my head which tells me how terrible I am, how ugly I am and how useless my life is. My negative internal voice has always had a terrible impact on my self-esteem. I don’t think the negative voice will ever really go away, but when it pipes up, I make a point of trying to find some positive things to affirm myself with.

How I learned to talk positively to myself every day

Five years ago when I was in that dark dark place, a friend sat me down and gave me a talking to. I needed to start digging myself out of the dark hole I was in. Every morning I would text them a positive thing about me. Some days it was really hard to find a good thing to say about myself, some days were easier than others.

Each time I sent a positive text to my friend I also copied it into the notes on my phone. When I needed some positive affirmation I could look back and remember good things, good times and the days when I was stronger, better, happier and know that more of those good days were ahead of me.

I no longer send those positive texts and I don’t list the good things each day. There are times when I can feel my mood dipping; my anxiety rising and I know I need to put my positivity pants on again and I make a list. I list the good things I am grateful for. I list the good things about me and my life and I try to balance every negative thing my internal voice throws at me with something good, something better, something incredibly positive about me.

It’s not an easy habit to get into, but if you struggle with your own negative voice then getting into the habit of finding something nice about yourself every morning and writing it down can help you focus a little on the positives when everything may seem quite negative.

It helped me to have someone to text my affirmation to; someone who would come back to me and say I can do better, or that’s not positive enough. It helped me to have someone to be accountable to.

It’s not a magic bullet which will cure depression, anxiety or low self-esteem. Talking positively to yourself is a tool in your armory which can help and did help me. I really do credit this daily habit I kept up for almost a year for helping to drag me out of the absolute depths of my depression.

I’ve looked back at my talking positively list. Here are a few of my positive thoughts and affirmations from that time… 

  • I know I can and will survive what life throws at me.
  • Overthinking and dwelling is bad. I can stop it and I will.
  • I am so lucky to be as loved as I am.
  • It’s a beautiful day and full of possibilities.
  • I can make good things happen to myself.
  • There is nothing to panic about. Everything is ok.
  • People can’t hurt me unless I let them.

How I learned to talk positively to myself every day

That Facebook Positivity Meme

Ugh, I hate forced positivity about as much as I like making awkward small talk with strangers at weddings; so when I saw that Facebook positivity meme doing the rounds I kept my head down and prayed no one would tag me, but they did *sad face* and now I hate my life and all of my friends.

The premise is that some evil relentlessly cheerful person tags you in their post, and for the following five days you have to come up with three positive things and tag three poor unsuspecting people to do the same. This automatically ensures that each day you make three fresh Facebook frenemies. What joy. What endless, positive joy.

Here’s the record of my forced positivity, there was some significant barrel scraping at times, but I thought it would be interesting to keep a record of my thoughts and the reaction I got to each post. I may put together some pie charts and Venn diagrams to illustrate the results. Or not. I mean who has the time?

Day One
1. Told my husband just what he means to me today.
2. My son is making dry-nights progress.
3. Meeting a lovely friend for lunch & a catch up.

Response: Four likes and a small whinge from one of the poor buggers I’ve tagged.

Day Two
1. Had a lovely afternoon with some good friends.
2. Found out my blog is ranked 155 on Tots100
3. I heard that rarest of phrases… “I’m proud of you”

Response: Five likes and a good natured “why me?” from someone who will curse my birth within 48 hours.

Day Three
1. I’ve had a lovely day with the small boy, despite the plethora of bowel movements.
2. Hubs is ace and he makes me laugh pretty much every day.
3. I’m busy work wise, which is nice.

Response: Three likes, one “I’m pregnant so I can’t do it” and one flip this shizzle I’m at the end of my tether.

Day Four
1. Had a chilled day with the boys
2. I enjoyed watching the storms last night
3. Visited my mum & my dad, which means I’m a half decent daughter for once.

Response: Two likes and one person asking to be tagged the following day. People like this worry me, they really do.

Day Five
1. Greedy day out at the foodies festival, great fun with the boys.
2. Had a delicious and rare afternoon nap in anticipation of a loooong night ahead.
3. I’m loving the small boy to bits right now, love our proper conversations and he’s really funny and affectionate.

Response: Five likes and a “god damn you to hell for tagging me”.

Conclusion: Facebook memes were fun like five years ago, now they’re just dull. Put your bra colour as your status, but don’t say it’s your bra just to confuse the boys. Really? No thanks, is this the most fun thing you could think of?

Whilst I think the hellishly annoying Facebook Positivity Meme was started with all good intentions, I pretty much hated doing it, it was a chore and it annoyed me that I had to publish it publicly, if it’d been private I might have been more honest and less Facebook “isn’t life just peachy” about it.

From the responses I got, and from seeing other peoples positives each day, I think the meme is loved and loathed in equal measure. Me, I’m falling down firmly on the side of loathing it. So whatever you do, don’t tag me again. That would not elicit a positive response from me.

Positive Thoughts

I’ve spent the last few weeks at home with my family enjoying the various delights of Christmas, Chicken Pox and Potty Training, because of this I’ve had a little bit more online time on my hands and have re-discovered the joys of Pinterest.

One of my favourite things to browse and pin on Pinterest are quotes or words of wisdom. I have my own board called “Words of Inspiration” and I wager most Pinteresters have a similar board. Quotes, proverbs and inspirational phrases are big business.

We all have mottos that we live by, or mantras we say to ourselves in times of need. I start each day by coming up with a positive thought about me, about my life in the hopes that a smidge of positivity each day will make me feel and act in more positive ways. It’s a small tool I’m using to fight the depression I’m trying to shake off.

Christmas, for all it’s special family moments can be a hard time. You’re forced to spent 24 hours a day with the people you love most, or if not that, then you’re related to them and love them grudgingly in your own special way. Regardless, it’s tough.

Being confined to barracks due to chicken pox hasn’t helped either, but browsing Pinterest and reading positive quotes, motivational quotes and 1001 things to do with quinoa has helped fend off a little of the black dog thinking.

I am desperate to get back into our routine on Monday. I know most people hate routine and I used to so I understand why. But if like me depression gives you a chaotic mind, then routine can help still that a little. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really just a bit down these days, but last year I was crazy depressed and now I know I have to look after myself to stop going down that road again.

So back to Pinterest, I found this when browsing last night and I thought “YES! I’m having that” so here it is. I think I might print it off and stick it on my fridge next to my “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” quote which I’ve clearly been ignoring recently.

You can't live a positive life with a negative mind

I will look at this quote every day in 2014 and reflect on living positively and what that means to me.

Do you have a favourite, inspirational quote? I’d love to hear yours, I need as much, inspiration, motivation and positivity as I can get my hands on.

Thanks for reading.