Young, Sick and Invisible

My illness has shaped me,
But it does not define me.

The Way I Speak ...


“The most progress I’ve made has been when I’ve been kind to myself.”

- Sunday Shields

I had a meeting with my career counselor this past week- she’s an INFJ like me and maybe it’s that commonality or a combination of reasons, but I feel comfortable with her. So I opened up a lot about being frustrated with myself, feeling stuck, and how much time I’ve wasted while feeling both of these crippling emotions. She opened up a bit to me too and she made me reflect about some things that I need to change. It’s truly amazing how much it helps to find people you connect with and to let them in a little. I have trouble with this “opening up to people” process mainly due to my own fears and insecurities, especially with asking for help. However, how much opening up actually does help me is what’s driving me to want to be there for others and start my #beheard movement. How I speak is the first of a few things this meeting with my career counselor really made me reflect on.

I’ve mentioned being kind and understanding several times so far in my blog posts, but I forget almost all the time how important it is for us to be kind and understanding with ourselves. Also I go through life so unaware as to what degree the way we speak to ourselves and to others influences the image we present and begin to take on. After I explain how stuck I’ve felt, how unmotivated, frustrated, bitter, and broken my career counselor reminded of something I’d heard a long time ago in therapy- what we say, to ourselves and about ourselves to others, matters. Even though I understand this concept logically it’s so hard for me to make the connection between my mind and my emotions. What I think has a hard time translating to change how I feel and how I act. I know there’s scientific and medical proof to back up the process by which our own self talk influences us. Our minds create circuits and networks at the neurological level that carve our paths of thinking and feeling. And we have the power to shift these channels or create new ones by changing the way our thoughts go, thus changing how we feel about ourselves. This reaction starts with how we speak to ourselves and about ourselves. Me saying I’m stuck, frustrated, bitter, and broken just reinforces the belief in my mind that I’m all of these things and these thoughts and feelings within my own mind will then become a self fulfilling prophecy because I’m, in effect, slowly convincing myself they’re true.

Therefore, I need to change the way I speak to and about myself. Instead of “I’m stuck” I need to start saying and telling myself that “I’m getting unstuck”. Because I’m not broken…I’ve had some setbacks, but I’m not giving up, not going to continue being bitter and frustrated, and I’m determined NOT to let my past define my future. I know I have a ways to go, but one step at a time I’ll get there. This world is full of critics and judgement, but the minute we’re putting judgement on ourselves and becoming our own harshest voice is another reinforcement in our brains’ wiring that what we’re telling ourselves is true. We need to be our own biggest cheerleaders!! It isn’t easy and takes constant reminding and checking ourselves at first. I’m having trouble with the instinctive negative thoughts and self talk, but I believe that as I keep stopping myself and changing these patterns the easier it’ll become and more self confident I’ll get. We need to be our own biggest cheerleaders so we can get where we want to be…so I’m trying hard to put this positive self talk into practice and will report back as I continue my journey getting unstuck.

Until next Friday,

Amy L.

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