What’s the conversation sound like in your head these days? The harsh rhetoric in our world today seems to have leeched into my self-talk. Having just published my first book, I’m on a steep learning curve with publishing, marketing, social media, shipping and so on. My brain hurts! But I’ve caught myself being self-critical and exaggerating negative predictions like you’ll never figure this out! Why did you even think you could… you fill in the blanks. My daughter heard some of my stinkin’thinkin’ and she started quoting my book to me. In her sweet, young voice she read:
“Do the conversations in your head sound like someone who is deeply loved and secure? Is your self-talk filled with compassion and gentleness? Would you hope your daughters talk about themselves in similar ways? Small changes produce significant results. Thinking of yourself and talking to yourself with affection and appreciation may seem insignificant, but it cascades into a more gracious environment all around. Silencing the harsh voice of self-criticism and speaking to yourself with grace is sunshine for your soul, my friend. You’ll feel the warmth—and so will others.” (Gracious Living, p. 37) God bless that child and our kitchen conversations!
The turn-around for me was quick. At the next obstacle, instead of berating myself, I purposely declared there’s a lot to learn here, and I’m new to this, be patient. You see, if I had a friend entering a new profession, I wouldn’t call her stupid for not knowing things. No, I would call her brave for trying something new. I would say things like hang in there, you’re just learning, be patient with yourself and with the process. It is a gracious choice to speak kindly to oneself as well as others.
How do you keep the conversation in your head bright and true? Do you struggle with negative predictions? In this season where we are all grieving some sort of loss, intentionality is key. The Apostle Paul wrote that we are to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) Ruminating on negative, fearful, or critical thoughts doesn’t produce goodness in us. The wisdom writings in Proverbs state “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21) I’m learning to speak life over myself and others. My goal is to release resilience, hope, and peace through my words.
Don’t let negativity creep into your language! Take those thoughts captive and replace them with truth and love. We each carry tremendous power to speak life and love—over ourselves, our friends and family, our community and nation. Use your words to create a culture of honor. You, and those around you, will be lifted up.
You can buy the book Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion today at MargaretAllen.org or the Kindle version on Amazon.