This is a topic that cuts deep to the core of me. For years and years I spent most of my time hating on myself. Growing up I never felt good enough. In my eyes I wasn’t pretty enough, thin enough, I was weird, I didn’t fit in….the list goes on. I didn’t realize the effect my negative thoughts had on me and who I was becoming as a person. I was so wrapped up in what I thought I should be that I ended up being totally confused about who I was. I felt insecure and lost. I remember early in high school I heard a tape about positive thinking and affirmations. It was so long ago I don’t remember the details or exact message but what I do remember is one point it stressed; you are what you tell yourself you are. That point stuck with me and for weeks after I became increasingly aware of my negative self talk. It was constant! Thinking back to that time in my life it was as if I had an inner bully or abuser that I never would have tolerated had they treated me that way. So I started trying to change my thinking. I started trying to have a positive inner monologue to myself. At first it felt so strange because I was trying to say, “I am good enough just the way I am”. But I had no idea who I was. I felt self-centered if I tried to tell myself that I was beautiful because I thought it was a lie and I thought only self-absorbed, vain people actually thought that way. But as I kept talking in a positive way to myself I started to feel better. I started to feel more confident and comfortable being me, that I actually started to become someone….I started to become Thea! My relentless badgering of “you are too fat” turned to “you are strong, you are capable, you are enough.” My confused self stopped saying, “why are you weird” to “you are a good person, you are worthy of love and respect.” Over years of trying to change my thinking and saying positive affirmations, it became the new norm and I started becaming a confident, assertive, positive person. There were times that of course I felt down or had doubts about things but in general I became a different person just by changing my thinking and making it a habit.
Now here we are…..fast forward to motherhood! I decided to stay home after we had our second child. After leaving a successful sales career to stay home with my kids I felt like I started to fall into some of my old patterns. I started wondering who I was again. I knew who I was in my career and I knew how to do well at it. When I decided to stay home I wanted to be the best Mom I could be for my children but there’s no one to tell you if you’re doing it right or wrong. I changed my affirmations again to, “you are a loving, supportive mother,” and I’ve worked on trying to show my children how to be kind, loving people. Both to others and to themselves. Over the 3 & 1/2 years that I’ve been home I’ve been content and felt as though I have done a good job trying to raise my children. This past fall my oldest daughter started Kindergarten. She seemed so ready! She’s social, kind and she was ahead academically. Soon after she started school I found out that she was extremely quiet and shy in class. She had told me about the friends she had made so I thought all was going well. But when I met with the teacher for her parent teacher conference I was shocked to hear that the teacher had a hard time hearing her speak. She would barely whisper to answer the teachers questions. It was heart breaking and I started to question if I had made the right decisions with how we prepared her. If she should have waited a year since she is one of the youngest in the class. I was doubting my parenting! The main thing I was committing myself to and I thought I had gotten it all wrong. I spent most of the next few months feeling depressed and doubtful. The most eye-opening part of it all was realizing my fear that my kids could go through the same dreadful negativity I put myself through growing up. I was in my head again; questioning, doubting, feeling lost. One day about a month ago, in one of the rare situations when I was alone in the car, I just wanted to scream and I literally said out loud, “What are you doing!?!? Stop! Get out of your head! You’re a good person, you’re a loving mother and wife! You deserve better than this!” And that was my moment to again get back on track. Life is ever-changing and as the big milestones in life happen it’s hard to navigate through them. I’m so blessed to have amazingly supportive parents, siblings, my grandmother, countless relatives, friends and my exceptional husband, who is one of the most positive thinking people I’ve ever met, by my side. But ultimately the only person who has control over me is me! I can choose to lift myself up or bring myself down. So I’m going to choose to keep fighting for and believing in myself, because I am a good, loving, compassionate mother, wife and person.
I cried multiple times writing this, thinking about the years of self loathing that I try to block out. But I wanted to express to anyone who takes the time to read this the profound difference positive thinking can have on you as a person. It changed me and has continued to help me become a better, happier person. If you aren’t sure where to start here is a link to hundreds of affirmations that might help you; http://www.self-help-and-self-development.com/affirmations.html. Or simply tell yourself, “I am good enough, I am worthy,” because you are!