The Way I Speak to Myself

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Talk to your child the way you wish you had been talked to as a child.

You may have heard some version of this at some point, especially if you are currently parenting young children.

Talk to yourself the way you wish you had been talked to as a child.

Have you ever heard that? I haven’t, but it’s something I have found myself practicing throughout my healing journey the last couple of years. I hear myself speak kind affirmations and encouragements to my daughters each day, and it has slowly turned into the way I talk to people in general. Including myself.

My subconscious voice has spent decades telling me, “Stop crying,” “You’re fine,” “Your feelings are too much,” and all kinds of variations of, “You are not beautiful.”

But in hearing myself say the total opposite to my girls, and watching them soften in my arms and then stand up stronger and more secure in themselves each time, I found myself wanting that. I found myself wondering if I could go back and talk to four year old Jordan during specific emotional experiences. So I have dedicated a lot of my yoga and meditation time doing so.

I told her it was okay to cry. I told her it wasn’t fine and that her feelings are valid—of course she feels that way. I told her she is just right, not too little or too much or too anything.

And then I did the same with my twelve year old self. I told her it was okay to feel isolated and confused in going through puberty earlier than all of her friends. I told her it was not okay that her soccer coach told her to lose fifteen pounds, and that someone should have defended her. I told her it was not her fault she does not feel good in her body, because she was not responsible for feeding herself. And I told her that, even so, she is still beautiful.

And you know what happened? I felt myself soften. I felt myself become stronger and more secure, and I began to look at myself differently in the mirror. I felt the urge to pour out the love I felt within myself on everyone around me. I even heard myself say, “I feel pretty today,” to my oldest, just like she says to me on a regular basis. I started to acknowledge my own feelings just like I do theirs, and give myself the space and grace to feel them.

We all have our wounds, and some of them are so deep that it feels like we will never do anything but sit inside of them, unable to crawl out—especially if they came at the hands or words of someone else. I had panic attacks that made me feel like I was going to die for a season when all of mine bubbled to the surface after my first daughter was born.

But healing is possible, and you have the love within yourself to love yourself. It is okay and valid and perfectly understandable to feel angry, sad, or disappointed that someone else who should have fulfilled that role for you did not do so in the past, but your five year old self is still there, right where you left her. You can go to her and love her the way she wanted to be loved. And then you can move on peacefully.

I had no idea it was possible to change my inner voice, but here I am. Speak to yourself the way you would speak to the most pure, magical child. Things can and do change.

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