But yesterday I was listening to Dr Ethan Kross on NPR and it got me thinking about how I talk to myself. Whether I am in yoga or the art studio, in the middle of a group or re-playing a troubling encounter, I do talk to myself-not aloud, but a lot.
It was only a day ago in yoga when the heat blazed and sweat poured, that I found myself saying/thinking, “Holy shit—I've got to sit out. I can’t do this.” And I listened to that talk and sat out.
So yesterday I heard Dr. Kross talk about the psychology of self talk. He talked about how a simple switch has a huge impact on how we feel and behave. It was SO simple. He asked people in a stressful situation (having 5 minutes to prepare a public speech) to either speak to themselves prior using the pronoun “I” or their own name.
The differences were astounding. The people who spoke to themselves using “I” were much more judgmental—“I don’t know how I can pull this off.” vs. the group who used their own names, “Terry, you’ve got this." Essentially, you become your best coach. It shapes your moment.
So for the last 24 hours, I have been telling Terry all kinds of good stuff. As I stared blankly at a canvas yesterday, I encouraged “Terry, just let it flow. Go wherever it takes you—there is no right or wrong…” I have been consciously coaching myself. It feels good. Such a simple switch.
And then my daughter shared Brene’ Brown’s TED talk on the Power of Vulnerability. Dovetail…her talk is a wonderful journey about how by masking ourselves, by trying for perfection, by becoming rigid and frightened of exposing ourselves, we lose it all. We numb our capacity for joy and happiness.
And it all starts with “FILL IN YOUR NAME”—how you speak to yourself.
How accepting you are of who you are. How willing you are to say: I am imperfect –aren’t we ALL? That as imperfect as I am, I am deserving of every wonderful thing that life has to offer.
…That being kind and generous with yourself is the place where being kind and generous in the world begins. Where authenticity and creativity and joy and compassion begin and bloom.
There is a word in Sanskrit that is the foundation of yoga –my other daughter introduced me to it…Ahimsa. Literally it means non-violence…but more deeply it is choosing to live a life that is guided by kindness. Kindness to yourself and others.
So think about it. Those few moments of kindness you give to yourself. They are the embers that light your day—they are the beginning of bringing your wonderful, imperfect self into focus for everyone.
So here I am this glorious morning doing some self talk.: Terry, you are putting these mushy words out to the interwebs and maybe someone reads it and does the same. Terry, your heart is open and the day has so much to offer. Terry you are enough.”
And wow, I feel vulnerable in writing in this way, publicly and out there. But really, what is there to lose—the only loss is in not saying anything.
So may you practice ahimsa, be vulnerable, be joyful, be courageous and feel the connections that all of this brings.