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Cultivating more compassionate self-talk

Note to self: be kind to yourself
Illustration by Courtnay Hough

You deserve it! 

The world is filled with so much pressure and comparison. It is easy for your own mind to be filled with phrases of inadequacy and put-downs.

The good news, however, is that it’s within your power to shift the narrative of your self-talk. The kind, encouraging tone you use with students; We want to fill your inner dialogue with that as well. 

You absolutely deserve kind words and thoughts. 

It may feel uncomfortable at first. That’s totally okay. It’s new and unfamiliar. The work and discomfort are absolutely worth it. 

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Noticing when negative talk happens 

The first step is recognizing negative self-talk when it is happening. The act of simply identifying it as negative is super powerful. 

This awareness helps you know when and where to work on replacing negative thoughts with more positive and encouraging ones. 

It can also be beneficial to think about what you want your thoughts to be filled with instead. Are you looking to feel more confident? Calm? Comfortable as yourself? 

Spend some time brainstorming how you want to feel. Maybe make a list of 5 attributes you’re proud of or really want to encourage in yourself. 

Possible
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Try “What if?” 

Sometimes it can be too challenging to notice negative dialogue and completely shift it to something positive. A great stepping stone can be to just add What if to any negative talk. 

What if can help you to identify and question any negativity within your thoughts. If allows you to notice them and to dissolve some of the power of that negativity. 

What if it’s not okay? Then, you can think of a plan. By adding what if, you give yourself the chance to answer the fear behind the thought. 

What if I’m not enough? Well, that’s a bit silly, isn’t it? Sometimes hearing the negativity as a question breaks its powerful illusion. 

The more you add what if, the more the negativity dissolves. Over time, you might even find your what if questions having a more positive ring to them: What if it’s okay? What if I’m enough? 

Just simply adding What if to those negative thoughts/ideas can help you journey towards more compassionate thoughts and mantras. Give it a try 🙂 Let us know how it goes. 

Love yourself
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Taking that “What if?” One step further

Now that you’re What if questions have hopefully started feeling more positive, it could be time to try out some positive affirmations. 

An easy way to transition to this is when you ask a what if question in your mind, answer it with a kind affirmation. This can be done with positive or negative feeling what if questions. 

For example, What if I’m ugly? That’s silly. I’m beautiful inside and out. I’m strong and really love how thoughtful I am. 

It’s even easier with positive leaning what ifs. What if I’m enough on my own? That’s right! I am more than enough just as I am 🙂 

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Channeling positivity into words of affirmation

Having trouble coming up with some go-to affirmations? Does it feel uncomfortable? That’s totally okay and to be expected. 

Remember that list of attributes you made? Now is the perfect time to make those attributes into affirmations. 

The simplest way is to add I am in front of each attribute. For example, if one of your attributes is calm: I am calm. 

However, feel free to re-mix them and be as creative as you’d like. Perhaps, you’d prefer I am calm to be I take a breath and react to all obstacles and situations calmly. 

There’s no right or wrong way to do this, just what feels genuine and authentic to you. It may still feel uncomfortable or strange, that’s totally normal. 

However, try to get the affirmations to feel powerful and engaging to you. That’s all you’re looking for right now. 

Trying out some different affirmation meditations can help if you’re feeling stuck or weird. Personally, I love the affirmations meditations from The Honest Guys like this one 🙂 

However, just like with anything there are many flavors to affirmations and affirmation meditation. Find the one that feels the best to you. And keep in mind that sometimes tastes can change over time. It can feel good to try new ones out even if you keep coming back to your tried and true favorites.

Remember: You are incredible. You are worthy. You are talented, discovering new skills and talents all the time. You are strong. You are more than enough just as you are. 

Let us know your favorite affirmation(s) in the comments below! 

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