“Bring Me Coffee and Tell Me I’m Pretty”

We have a small coffee mug collection, by small I mean one for at least seven days a week. This morning, I woke up a bit later than usual. The Bearded One is off working on a two-day roof job. We typically reserve Sundays for quality time together, but sometimes he does have to work. So I woke up to a text message from him, reminding me of what I said I wanted to accomplish today. It was a gentle prodding, something he is so good at. The right level of cheering section I need in my life to keep focused. Our lives have been so chaotic lately that I’ve stopped doing some of the things I love to do. One is writing this blog.

I’ve always enjoyed putting my stories out there as an encouragement to others. I was really missing the time to reflect and share. This morning as I stood in the kitchen, I looked at our extensive mug collection. I knew it was a big ass cup of coffee kind of day, I had two “large” cup choices… “Grumpy” or “Tell Me I’m Pretty.” Well, writing a blog while sipping out of a Grumpy mug seemed counterproductive to a Positive Self-Talk Blog. So here we are…enjoying a “Friends Worthy” Sized coffee while typing away.

I’ve been a woman who struggles with self-image for most of my adult life. Quite honestly, I remember the year it started. 1994, I got pregnant in High School. Looking back, it was an embarrassing and self-hating year of my life. I felt I let my parents down; I wore a scarlet letter every single day to school. It was a tough time in my life. Through that rough time, though, I learned it was part of the journey and part of the tapestry that is my life. Look at the young man that came from that tough time. 1/3rd is an amazing man, and if it weren’t for that pregnant changing body, he wouldn’t be here.

The battle against my negative self-talk continued for years. It has taken many years of learning that changing my internal dialog is what makes me stronger than the negativity I always felt for myself. I’ve spent hours listening to strong women, confident women, Christian, faith-filled people. All were reminding me that I am worth so much more than bad choices, fat rolls, or my new appearing age spots.

I’m a massive fan of the movie “Penelope.” The moral of the story touched home with me. It’s “a modern romantic tale about a young aristocratic heiress born under a curse that can only be broken when she finds true love with “one who will accept her as one of their own.” {Spoiler Alert} Self Acceptance was all that was needed to break the curse.

“Accept her as one of their own.” I’ve struggled for years with the feeling I was accepted by my family. How could I consider myself to be extraordinary? How? Especially when I beat myself up regularly for not having been better at school, better at my job, a better mother, daughter, etc. You see how quickly it builds up, the pile of bullshit.

Positive self-talk sounds like some crap that only basic bitches groan on about during the fall, wearing sweaters and sipping Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Honestly, though, it is the first step in truly being free of negative self-perception. Here’s how I’ve been overcoming the negative and how it has changed me.

FORGIVE YOUR SELF: You’re not perfect, nor does anyone expect you to be perfect. We make mistakes, the growth comes from recognizing the error and truly giving ourselves a break. I’ve repented, and I will not keep reliving my past any longer. When it pops up (which it always will), I call it out. I say to myself. “NOPE, you’re not that person anymore.”

TELL YOURSELF YOUR BEAUTIFUL: I don’t always feel beautiful, when I’m feeling less than Pretty, I get out of frumpy clothes and put on some sexy heels. I tell myself I’m pretty. Of course compliments from others help, but you have to believe it yourself FIRST.

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE: Spending out of control? Eat the entire bag of cookies? Those are choices, my friends. Stop lying to yourself that it’s not a problem, it is and you have to hold yourself accountable. (And YES I am looking in the mirror, I still struggle with some things that are out of control). Sometimes that means we sacrifice things we want for the better in the long run. If you can’t hold yourself responsible, find someone who will do so, but lovingly do so. The Bearded One knew it was vital for me to start exercising regularly again because I feel so much better when I do. He encouraged me to get out an run yesterday. Although I didn’t have a fast pace, I still ran 3 miles. I only cursed at him a few times for telling me to get out there, but I wouldn’t dare complain about the heat, he was the one working on a roof in the same blistering temperature.

MAKE ONE SMALL CHANGE: Everyone wants to start a crash diet on Monday. I hear and see it all the time, but it has continuously set me up for failure. I chose to make one positive change at a time. Like my water intake. Thanks to a reminder app on my iwatch, I drink more water than I have for years. It makes a massive difference in how I feel.

GET PROFESSIONAL HELP: Therapy saved me years of self-defeating self-talk. My therapist taught me it was okay to forgive myself for how I felt. I went to a Christian Therapist because it was in line with my values, but find any kind of group or support system. I learned that establishing Boundaries was the most important thing I could do. I now only invite the people in the front row of my life, who deserves to be there. Anyone who wants to throw tomatoes had better have a strong arm because they aren’t even allowed in the theater.

HOLD A WEEKLY CHECK-IN MEETING: In therapy, I learned about a great article on holding Weekly Marriage Meetings. Not even being married yet, we’ve decided its important to start it now because we don’t want to start off on the wrong foot. In the article “Berger suggests holding a weekly 30-minute meeting with your spouse that’s broken into four parts: Appreciation (expressing gratitude to your spouse), Chores (making sure to-dos are getting done), Plan for Good Times (scheduling date nights, as well as individual and family activities), and Problems/Challenges (addressing conflicts/issues/changes in the relationship and in life in general).”


LET GO, SAY GOODBYE, DON’T LOOK BACK: It could be a specific date when it clicks. It could be the proverbial “straw that breaks the camels back”, whatever it is. Recognize that repeated negative behavior needs to stop to avoid repeating it in the future. That may mean saying goodbye to friends, you have to be okay with that. You have to recognize the toxic things in your life and remove them.

STOP THEM IN THEIR TRACKS: When I notice I’m feeling depressed or beating myself up, I stop it in its tracks. I stop and look at what I’ve accomplished. Even if it’s, “Hey, you made the bed this morning, nice work.” or “Look at you, you got dressed all by yourself!” Do a complete about-face, even stop mid-thought and change it to a positive thought. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel.

CHOOSE TO BE BETTER THAN THE YESTER-YOU: Everything you choose to think about yourself is the beginning of self-acceptance or self depletion. You have to decide to love yourself first. This isn’t just a woman thing either. Men need to forgive themselves too. Humble yourself and realize that we are all amazing individuals who all are walking in the same short life. You have to work at it though, it’s not a one and done thing. I work every single day on being better. Loving myself and others more than I did the day before. That means, forgiving, accepting and rejoicing over our differences.

STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO SOCIAL MEDIA SUPERFICIAL LIVING: We all love catching up on social media no doubt. Just remember, the world only posts what it wants the world to see. Put your phone away when you’re around friends and family and actually connect with them. They are real and in-person and sometimes its the one on one connection that will help you feel better about yourself. We’ve established a charging wall in our home, the phones get put away. We stay off of our phones when we’re together unless there is an emergency situation. Quality time is way more fulfilling than distracted half-attentive conversation. I challenge you to do the same.

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