Negativity, Children, & Dr. Seuss: Self-Talk Matters

Muffin top.
Sausage roll.
Cottage cheese.
More wobble than a gobble.
Crescent rolls bursting along its seam.

The negative talk too many people think and say about their body is heartbreaking. There is nothing funny about feeling insecure, and there is nothing heart-warming about someone who makes a joke or spews sarcasm at their own expense.

Words Hold Power

Anxiety Disorders Association of Victoria, Inc. (ADAVIC) was spot on when it said, “Even though you may expect only teenage girls to engage in negative body talk and body shaming, it actually exists among various ages, all genders, ethnicities, and body sizes.” ADAVIC went on to share a National Institute of Health study that reports “25% of males and 90% of females constantly engage in negative body talk.”

This needs to stop.

You set the boundaries of how others treat you and for most people, they set those boundaries clearly and quickly. But people can struggle to create boundaries for their own tongues and thoughts. The same person who would never befriend someone who talks down to them and makes them feel like garbage is the same person who references their body with negative talk and a palpable loathing undertone. The standard set for their inner circle is not the same standards they adhere to when talking and thinking about themselves. This is not acceptable.

Children Listen

Adults know that children learn more by what they role-model than what they say. If you tell your child it’s wrong to use foul language but if, as Ralphie from A Christmas Story says, you work “in profanity the way other artists might work in oil or clay,” your child will likely grow up to use foul language too. The same goes for negative self-talk. If you constantly fret about not fitting into your jeans and are constantly comparing yourself to others, then chances are your children will mimic that negative self-talk with themselves.

This is a Public Service Announcement: You give your children permission to be proud of you.

If you constantly complain about work, then how can your children be proud you work there? After all, you openly despise it so instead of feeling proud, your children feel sad for you that you shuffle your feet toward the direction of your job with a heavy heart and hunched shoulders. The same goes for body image. If you constantly complain about your body and your features and everything that makes you unique, you make it difficult for your children to express how beautiful you are to them.

If every time a child says “you look beautiful” is met with, “well, I was more beautiful before children and a mortgage” then eventually, the child will just stop saying the words she knows you will debate. Fast forward to when that child is grown and every time someone compliments her, she’ll think “but I used to be…”

Your negative self-talk role-models disgust, not love.

Transform Negative Self-Talk into Positive Reinforcement

Dr. Magdalena Battles, Doctor of Psychology with specialties in children and family relationships among others, offers the following suggestions to practice positive self-talk:

  • Have a purpose higher than yourself
  • Cut overly negative people out of your life
  • Be grateful
  • Don’t compare yourself to others
  • Use positive words with others
  • Believe in your success
  • Don’t fear failure
  • Replace negative thoughts with positive ones
  • Post positive affirmations
  • Don’t dwell on the past
  • Visualize your success
  • Limit your intake of the news and media
  • Help others
  • Be physically active
  • Dream and set goals

The last suggestion, dream and set goals, is especially important. Too many people are afraid to dream and afraid to set a goal for fear of failure.

When someone has a goal, every action they take toward their goal is progress, and progress is something to be incredibly proud of in yourself. For example, instead of complaining that you can’t climb the stairs to the family ride at the water park, set a goal to climb one flight of stairs a day… and then two flights of stairs… and then three… until you’re no longer winded after each climb.

Most importantly, don’t wait until you can climb three flights of stairs to be proud of yourself.

  • Be proud of yourself when you climb half of one flight without being winded.
  • Then be proud, again, when you climb the whole flight without being winded.

Setting a goal allows you to be proud of your progress, not just your destination. Remember, whether you’re focusing on your mental and physical well-being by adding nutrition, healthy recipes, or adding a supplement like EMPowerplus Advanced or intentionally transforming self-talk from negative to positive, your efforts to change your life in a positive way directly affects you and those around you in a positive way as well.

You Are Worthy

As Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you. Shout aloud, I am glad to be what I am. Thank goodness I’m not a ham, or a clam, or a dust jar of gooseberry jam. I am what I am, what a great thing to be. If I say so myself, happy every day to me!”

Your beauty is internal. It’s your spirit. It’s your personality. It’s the way you live life so vibrantly that you practically leave splashes of color where ever you go. It’s the way you treat your parents. It’s the way you treat your neighbor. It’s the way you treat a stranger.

Too much emphasis is put on the outside… on the shell, and that’s where most negative self-talk begins. Once you realize your beauty is internal, it’s a lot easier to love your shell because you realize the shell is what holds your beauty together. Those stretch marks. That scar. The laugh lines. The thinning hair. Everything about your outer appearance tells your story, so deliver your story with pride and watch as others are in awe of an intense beauty that has nothing to do with a waistline or perfectly symmetrical features.

When you look in the mirror, pull your shoulders back. Raise your chin, and find the eyes of your reflection. See all the beauty within you, and that will give you the confidence to kill negative-self talk and nurture positive self-talk. When you engage in negative self-talk, whether through words or thoughts, you are not in control of your life. Take that control back, and refuse to let negative self-talk ever take it from you again.

Author: Evelyn Lindell
Certified Health & Wellness Coach