When you trip and fall, do you berate yourself for being clumsy? Or do you get up, brush yourself off, and keep going?
When we’re too hard on ourselves, we not only set ourselves up for failure but also miss out on all the good things life has to offer.
The good news is that it’s never too late to start being kinder to yourself. In fact, using kinder words can have transformative effects on your life.
An exploration of the power of our words
Words have a lot of power.
Just think about the last time you argued with your partner or spouse.
Chances are, the argument escalated because of something one of you said. And once those words were out there, they were almost impossible to take back.
The same is true when it comes to our inner monolog. We tend to be tough on ourselves, and the words we say to ourselves can be downright brutal.
- “I’m such a screw-up.”
- “I can’t do anything right.”
- “Nobody will ever love me.”
Just listening to those phrases can be incredibly demoralizing. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can choose our words more carefully, and in doing so, we can start to change our mindset — and even our life.
Let’s talk about self-talk: Why it matters
How you talk to yourself has a huge impact on your mood, your stress levels, your happiness quotient, and even your overall health. In other words, if you’re not kind to yourself, you’re doing yourself a major disservice.
Luckily, this is something that can be learned with practice. When you start to pay attention to the words you use to describe yourself, you will likely be amazed at how negative most of them are. And that’s not good for anyone.
The key is to replace those negative self-talk patterns with more positive ones. This takes time, but when you start to speak kindly to yourself, you will find that you’re less stressed and generally happier overall.
Acknowledging the impact of our language
Words are powerful, and the language we use has a huge impact on our lives.
That’s why it’s so crucial to be intentional with the words we use — especially when it comes to how we talk to ourselves.
It’s easy to be harsh and critical of ourselves, but that only leads to more self-judgment. On the other hand, speaking kindly to ourselves (and others) have transformative effects. It breeds self-compassion.
How can we start speaking kinder words?
Pay attention to the tone of your voice when you’re talking to yourself and others.
If you tend to be critical, see if you can start catching yourself and changing the way you’re speaking.
It can also be helpful to imagine what you would want someone to say to you if you were in a tough situation. Would you want them to be supportive or critical? Try to say things to yourself that you wish someone else would say to you.
And finally, remember that it’s okay to make mistakes. We all do. What’s significant is how we respond to our mistakes. If we can learn to be more forgiving of ourselves, it will be easier to extend that same kindness to others.
Making the mindful shift to kinder words
For instance, let’s say you have the thought, “I’m such an idiot.”
Why do you think that? What evidence do you have to support that? Is there another way of looking at the situation? How would you talk to a friend in the same situation?
When you start to question your negative thoughts, you can begin to shift them into more supportive, friendly ones. Making the mindful shift to kinder words can help build better habits and lead to greater life satisfaction.
The ripple effect of compassionate communication
Did you know that one act of compassion can have ripples around the world?
It’s true! When you’re kind to yourself, it sets off a chain reaction of kindness. Here’s how it works: When you’re kind to yourself, it elicits feelings of empathy and compassion, which then cause you to be kinder to others.
This act of kindness then inspires others to be kind as well! So next time you’re feeling down, remember that your words have the power to transform not only your own life but the lives of those around you. Just by speaking kindly to yourself, you can make a difference.
Speaking kinder words to yourself — and others — can have a transformative effect on your life. It can help to foster a more positive outlook, make you feel good about yourself, and strengthen your relationships. When you find yourself being hard on yourself, or when you feel yourself starting to get upset with someone, take a step back and switch to kinder words. It works.