I don't know about you, but I find that negative or hurtful messages zing their way into me faster and easier than positive ones. If, in an hour, seven people gave me real, glowing ... and on
I don't know about you, but I find that negative or hurtful messages zing their way into me faster and easier than positive ones. If, in an hour, seven people gave me real, glowing compliments, and one person criticized me, it is the criticism that I would notice, absorb, and obsess on for weeks. It is the criticism that I would turn over and over, looking at from all angles, like a misshapen stone.
It's not hard to find criticism. It's all around us--in the way the media says our bodies should be perfect. In people judging how we live, because they feel insecure about themselves. And of course, perhaps most powerfully, are all the negative messages we were taught and given as children, critical messages that we still play through our minds.
So how do we turn the tide on this wave of negative messages? An important factor is purposely looking for and including positive messages in your life, on a regular basis. You deserve to see your own beauty--and to be as happy as you can be.
Give yourself the gift of loving, positive messages:
* Recognize and acknowledge some good things about yourself. Write out a list of things that you like about yourself, or that other people have told you they like about you. Write as many as you can. Then go through each one. Think about it. Acknowledge it. Accept it and take it in. Putting your energy into this, and really opening yourself up to this, can help you heal some old hurts, and work towards opening yourself up to more positive messages.
* Praise yourself as you would a child. Kids need praise and positive feedback to feel good about themselves, and we give that freely to kids. Well, adults need it, too. So whenever you do something that you would appreciate or like in a child...being kind to someone else, being tender, standing up for yourself or someone else, doing something that feels good, accomplishing something big or small...then give yourself some praise. Don't be stingy with praise. Lavish it on you the way you would a child. Acknowledge the wonderfulness in you, and make a habit of it. It really will help you feel better.
* Allow real compliments and praise to sink in there. Allowing compliments and praise to really touch you, including the ones you give yourself, is something you may have to consciously do, but it's important to do. If you have trouble keeping hold of the good things people say, write them down, then look at them often.
* Read affirmations that appeal to you. Read some affirmations from a book, online, or from affirmation cards, or write your own. Just read the ones that feel like they fit you, that have messages you need to hear. Do this often, so you open up to the messages.
* Associate an object with a positive message about you. Pick an object, preferably a small one, one that you like or that makes you feel good--maybe a stone, a book, a note, a little toy that you can carry around with you. Now think of a positive message about yourself--just one--and repeat it over and over while you look at the object. Tell yourself that whenever you look at that object, you'll be reminded of that positive message about yourself.
* Put positive messages all around you. Write out positive, loving messages and put them in places you'll find them--inside books, on your computer screen, in your wallet, in your pockets. Put them on your refrigerator or mirror.
* Choose the words you use for yourself purposefully. Words have a powerful impact on how we feel and think about ourselves and others. Words can hurt, flatten, and wound. Words can also encourage, empower, heal. Choose words, when you think about yourself, that are positive, kind, and loving.
* Listen to alternative, healing music. If you only look for one song, check out Libby Roderick's "How Could Anyone," on her cd If You See a Dream. The lyrics are a powerful, healing affirmation: "How could anyone ever tell you, you were anything less than beautiful, how could anyone ever tell you, you were less than whole?"
* Listen to children's music. I'm not kidding. There are some wonderful, empowering, encouraging children's songs. Check out "Proud of Me" and "Me" sung by Sesame Street's Grover on "The Best of Grover"; "Happy Place," "It's okay," "Sing a happy song," "We'll Fill the World With Love," amd "What a wonderful world" by Rosenshontz, "Believe in Yourself," "But I Like You," by Sesame Street;
* Read a book or comic strip that makes you feel good. Feeling good helps get you into that receptive space where you can take in good messages. A book that always makes me feel good, and gives me positive, healing messages is 39 Ways to Open Your Heart by Arlene Gay Levine and Karen Kroll. The messages are like healing affirmations, and the artwork is stunning.
Another of my favourite things to read when I want a huge splash of good feeling is any of the Rose Is Rose collected comic strips. They affirm the playful child in me, and usually reading them in large doses (such as a book) leave me feeling happy. You can check out thirty days of the comic strip here, or check out these Rose Is Rose email greetings that give you the feel of what the comic is all about.
* Write yourself a loving letter. Write yourself a letter that mentions all the things you love about yourself. Go into as much detail as you want. If you have trouble writing it, think of a friend who loves you, and try to write it from their perspective. Then mail yourself the letter.
Repeatedly telling positive messages to yourself, and taking them in, can work to build up your love for yourself, and help you to be more open to the good things within you, and arouond you. It can also build up your resistance to critical, hurtful messages, and help you to feel happier. So what are you waiting for? Give yourself a positive message right now. And believe it.
* Levine, Arlene Gay and Karen Kroll. 39 Ways to Open Your Heart, Conari Press: California, 1996. A beautiful book with loving, healing messages that read like meditations, and stunning, beautiful artwork. It seems to be temporarily out of print, but you can usually find copies at AbeBooks.com * Rose Is Rose, 30 days online Rose Is Rose email greetings * watch some of my affirmation cards online * Libby Roderick's "How Could Anyone" song
If you like this article, you may post it on your website or use it in your print publication, as long as you provide a link back to my site (http://www.CherylRainfield.com), and credit me. I'd also really like to know where you put my article, but you don't have to let me know in order to use it.
Cheryl Rainfield is an artist and writer. She has a site on loving yourself that offers free whimsical e-cards, a screensaver, articles, and virtual affirmation cards online. http://www.CherylRainfield.com