You know, a pull-up-your-bootstraps-and-look-on-the-bright-side talk.
But a good pep talk is about picking ourselves up when we’re spiraling down. It’s the ladder – the extension – that gives us something sturdy and strong upon which to grab hold when we’re grasping for something.
And while we all need a few wise and loving souls within our circle to lean on at times, learning how to talk ourselves through self-doubt and fear – and any other debilitating emotion – is a useful skill to have.
Really, it’s about taking charge of the conversation that’s happening within our heads.
Of course, what makes it effective is largely about knowing yourself – what soothes your soul and helps you get grounded.
Still, there are some general components that I believe apply to most of us.
- Acknowledge the pain. You, beautiful and deeply sensitive woman, are in emotional pain. Don’t overstep it or try to tough-love-it-out. Be compassionate with yourself – and your humanity. You are going to ache, get all tangled up, feel terrified, fail, say stupid things… the whole deal of being human. Brave is moving through these moments, not the absence of them. Cultivating compassion for ourselves is what allows us to begin to unfold.
- Listen for the story. Behind all attacks of self-doubt, fear and woe-is-me is a story. Listen to which version of how-things-are or what’s-going-to-happen-now you are telling yourself. Try to identify the thought – the belief – that is causing you pain. When you touch on that, you know you’re getting somewhere…
- Check your thoughts. Those thoughts most likely are not true. They are projections of your fears and insecurities. They are old beliefs hooking their claws into the present situation. Challenge those thoughts. Flip them over. Imagine who you would be without them. When you can get some distance from your thoughts and see them for what they are, you can move on to the pep talk love…
- Bring on the love. This is where you remind yourself that you are brave and capable and equipped to handle whatever is showing up. Remind yourself of previous moments in your life where you picked yourself up, dusted off, and carried on – even when you thought you couldn’t. This isn’t about denying your pain, or repeating mantras that leave you feeling worse (because you don’t really believe them, but believe that you should, and now you’re really feeling crappy.) It’s about gaining perspective, seeing this in the big picture of your life, and reminding yourself that whatever happens, you’ll handle it. Rather than anticipating the pain and suffering bound to come your way, you anticipate the courage and resourcefulness and love that you will tap into (because it already resides within you.) And then…
- Do something lovely for yourself. Go take a bubble bath. Paint your toenails. Get out a creative project. Go for a walk. Call someone that gets you. Because you need a little extra love right now.
And when all else fails, reach out to someone who at least has #1 down. Someone whose goal is not to make you feel better, but to be with you in your pain – so that you know you’re not alone. Or crazy. Or unlovable.
No matter what mess you might find yourself in.