One of the most important things we teach in Life Skills is the value of self talk. Research shows that it takes anywhere from 5 - 40 positive comments/acts/looks/gestures to undo the damage or negate 1 critical comment/act/look/gesture? Unfortunately, the critical comments/looks/gestures in our lives, most times, far outweigh the number of positive ones. So, do we go around looking for, fishing for, or trying to earn compliments or encouragement? No, that would be far too difficult and, in many cases, awkward. However, what we can do is positive self-talk. We have several different lists included in our curriculum of self-talk to use in order to help to negate all of the negative feedback we receive every day. Telling ourselves that we are valuable, worthy, etc... out loud has been proven to be very effective in helping to raise self-esteem. Don't believe it? Try it! As I mentioned, we have several lists of self-talk within our curriculum available to our students, however, you can make your own list. I would suggest making it as personal as possible. Some examples of what's included in our curriculum are:
I am a valuable person.
I can have a healthy self-image.
I can set specific goals for my future, and work confidently and diligently toward accomplishing them.
I can be a responsible, punctual, and dependable person.
The most effective way to do this is to look at yourself in the mirror and say the self- talk out loud to yourself. In our curriculum we teach that you do this for 30 days without missing a day or you have to start over. I always tell my students to do them until they believe it! For some, this can take quite a while.
So, if we really understand the impact our words & actions have on each other than imagine how much better our relationships with our spouse, teacher, friends, children, parents, etc... would be if we started saying and doing positive, encouraging things rather than always focusing on the negative.Try it today! You'll be amazed at the results!
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Melinda Eck is the Executive Director of Life Skills of Wisconsin, mother of 5 and grandmother of 6. She has been leading Life Skills Classes for both women and teens since 2009.