watch your language

Be civil to yourself

Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love
Brené Brown

We have been having a conversation with our girls of late about how they talk to others.

This is more than a discussion about the words they use, but also about body language, attitude and tone of voice. It has been an interesting discussion, as sometimes they think they are being funny but there is an edge to their tone that they are unaware of. We sometimes have to role-play the difference for them to hear it.

It has made me examine the way I talk to myself. Again this is more than the words I use. I also have to watch the tone, and the attitude I have, when talking to myself.

When I say under my breath “good one, Jo!”, it is unlikely to be a compliment and more likely annoyance at my own incompetence.

Do I willingly look myself in the eye in the mirror and say, “You look beautiful today?” Or do I hang my head and mutter about the way my clothes don’t fit?

And like my girls, sometimes, I get my intent muddled. Such as when I use self-deprecating internal talk and think I am being modest, when actually I am belittling myself.

I spend all day insisting on civility and respect from my girls, I correct them, and teach them, and work at it. Then I forget that I too need constant reminding, correcting and teaching.

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose
Proverbs 18:21 MSG

I have always believed in the power of words, and I love the proverb above. This translation makes me ask the question: “Would I knowingly eat poison?”

The answer is of course, “no”. Yet everyday that I speak to myself with disparagement, or with incivility, I choose the poison over the fruit.

Just as I need to think about the food that I put in my body and how healthy it is, I also need to monitor the way I speak to myself.

I have a note pinned to my noticeboard in my study that reads, “Be civil to yourself, Jo”.

A little reminder to myself to practice civility as I teach it,