I am a big believer of the fact that everything starts from within, confidence of course and even, maybe especially, physical beauty. Despite the fact that I built my career in front of the camera, I truly believe that if you don't have internal peace and happiness and come from a good place, your inner discontent will always come to the surface. For a long time I heard myself joking around about my ex. Trying to make light of the situation, trying to be the tough girl who wasn't affected by this and would get through anything. I did it with my family, my friends and with the people I work with. I saved the "real me"--the sad me--for just one friend and for my pillow.
My self-talk in the months following my divorce was extremely negative. "I knew marriage was a bad idea." "I will never get married again." "I grew and he didn't." Yes, I said it all. I used my external self to convince my internal self of how I felt. I spent some time traveling. It wasn't my "Eat, Pray, Love sabbatical," but meeting new people and seeing new places did help me awake up to see who I really was, the person I had forgotten about while trying to make my relationship work. In between trips, I started to see the therapist that my ex and I used to see together. It was then I was able to hear my words aloud. And boy, were they scary.
Over time, I realized that my self-talk was self-destruction. It was filled with excuses and denial, both ways to protect myself from the truth. I remember leaving the therapist's office one Friday morning and deciding as I walked up 6th Avenue in the West Village, something had to change or I would be making this same trip forever with no different results. At that moment I decided to take control of my negative self-talk by composing a list of the things I should be saying (needless to say, I did not need a list of the negative stuff.)
Here is my original list, with some additions from along the way:
• Protect yourself.
• Today is the future.
• You are living your life.
• You can't have people make you complete.
• You can't fix people.
• You can only fix you.
• Decide what you want.
• Go after it. 100 percent.
• Stop seeking advice from everyone.
• Don't settle. Ever.
• Stop confiding in everyone.
• Keep a journal, diary, post it. I don't care what it is. Just keep track of yourself.
• Go outside often.
• Take a walk with a friend.
• Then force yourself to go out alone.
• Then force yourself to go out with someone.
• And remember, before you love yourself, you must like yourself. It is essential, just like it is when it comes to finding a relationship.
How do you talk to yourself? Are you as kind to yourself as you are to other people? Try to nurture yourself like you do your parents or children or friends. There will be challenges, there is no question about it. But, if you work on your self-talk first, conquering the tough times will be that much easier.