It’s Thursday again… so I’m back here with another blog post! Thank you to all of you who have been supporting me while I’m learning the art of blogging. Whether it’s a like, comment, or kind word, it means so much to me. With that, let’s dig into this week’s topic.
We have all heard it a hundred times… “Speak kind words.” Our parents explained the importance of using kind language to our friends, teachers, family, and others when we were young. Speaking kindly is a way of life. It makes the people around us feel good, and it makes us happy to know that we’ve brightened someone’s day.
However, there are times when we forget to be kind to ourselves. I’m not talking about splurging and buying yourself a whole new wardrobe or the whole “do a face mask and take a bubble bath” sort of kind. While those things are good, they don’t create a lasting confidence. I’m talking about mental self-talk.
Let me ask you a question: when you are faced with a challenge or situation, what do you think to yourself? Do the words “I’m not equipped for this,” or “I can’t do it” ever cross your mind? If so, you’re not alone. So many of us are our own worst critics, dare I say bullies. We tend to focus on the possible mistakes we could make rather than the benefits.
I remember when I joined my school’s volleyball team my freshman year of high school. I had played volleyball for a few years previously, but had never truly grown in my abilities, so I went into season pretty inexperienced. I remember being so nervous as I stepped foot into the gym. Almost all of the girls had been playing since they were small and they had won the state championship the last three years in a row. So there I stood, a small, terrified freshman beating herself up for every little mistake. “You should be able to do this stuff already, Kennedy. Look how far behind you are!” My mindset was poisonous and unforgiving. I began to feel inadequate.
It wasn’t until I grew a little older that I learned how to have a positive, healthy mindset. My mom would always ask me why I was so hard on myself because I surely didn’t need to be. The truth is, it was my normalcy. I didn’t know that encouraging myself was far better than beating myself up all the time. Once I tried being kind to myself, I was impacted immensely. My confidence began to grow and I was able to make mistakes without feeling defeated. Through that, I became a better player and teammate. If I dropped a pass or missed a serve, instead of ruminating on it, I told myself that I’d get it next time. I even became captain of my JV team the next year!
Letting go of my negative mindset was one of the best things that I could do for myself. Even today, I still have to remind myself to be positive, but it is so much easier than before. There is so much freedom in stepping down from the critic role. I believe and know in my heart that God extends grace to me for mistakes, and that gives me the motivation to do the same for myself. That way, I am able to learn and grow from my mistakes or insecurities, rather than clinging to them. Positive self-talk is so important. If you are struggling with criticizing yourself, I encourage you to counteract that criticism with positivity, and find who you are in the Lord.
Love to all, Kennedy