"You're just like your mom."
"You're too shy."
"You need to listen more."
"Don't speak your mind so much."
Some of the words are true - perhaps all of them are true - but they are not helpful. I have found them so loud in my head that they completely paralyze me. And on the really bad days, they generally spiral down to even worse, completely untrue statements of failure, despair and shame.
About a year ago I was so burdened by it all that I decided to go for some counseling. My mother is a trained counselor and I grew up going to counseling throughout high school. I know that when it is all more than you can handle, you get help.
I found a great counselor and began a process. I discovered where those phrases came from - the root of the downward spiral I so often slide down. It was dramatic and powerful when I decided to stop blaming and pitying and just love myself.
At the same time as the counseling I read an amazing book about self confidence. At the time, I was so embarrassed to be reading a book about self esteem, that I didn't check it out from the library - I just sat and read it in the corner. All in one sitting.
"Give more, take less."
This is the new end of my spiral. At first I had to work very purposefully to think those thoughts. I didn't want to. Honestly, it was hard.
But, over time I have been able to add even more. Thoughts I never thought I'd be able to think on my own.
"You are a good friend."
"You encourage others."
"You show love and kindness to those around you, regardless of status."
"You are worthy."
Those words come from God. Those words are only true because of His work, His sacrifice and His gift. He is the true transformer of my life. Without Him I am nothing.