By: Amanda Kasper, Regular Contributor
Writing for I AM THAT GIRL has made me realize a lot of things about words. It’s made me realize not just the power of words, but also the power of voice and truth. When we stand up and share our story, it becomes something tangible that can change the lives of others; it becomes something that someone can latch onto – for hope or for help, for faith or to calm their fears.
It’s made me understand the purpose of using your words – when someone impacts your life, I think it’s important to tell them. The words “Thank You” and “I am Grateful” are far underused, and I think that in today’s society, that’s a tragedy. For how can we continue doing good if we don’t know that it’s helping? How can we be a friend without feedback of what makes a difference, and what is just white noise?
Most importantly, it’s made me really think a lot about self-talk, about the words that circle our heads, our diaries, our journals, our blogs; the way we describe ourselves to others, the truths we’ve come to believe about ourselves, whether they’re accurate or not.
This fall, I have undertaken what I would consider the most important project of my life. I am in the midst of making conscious changes about the words and the language I use and allow in my head and my heart. I’d be lying if I told you it was anything but incredibly challenging, but as you can guess, once I cross the line to the other side, being permanently conscious of what I think, how I describe myself, what I say to others, and what remains unsaid, will make me a different person – stronger in mind, in heart, and in soul.
This notion of self-talk, and specifically negative self-talk, is something nearly every woman I know has at one point or another struggled with. She has, whether purposely or inadvertently, talked down to herself, whether in her head or out of her mouth to others. In knowing that we believe the things we think and the things we say, when we put ourselves down and portray ourselves in a negative light, it’s incredibly easy for others to take those words at face value. They may not understand that we are fighting incredible battles insides our heads and hearts, or that we are having a hard time, or that we are going through a change. They may simply listen and walk away having only heard the words that were said.
As I work on changing my thoughts and catching the words that I think or say aloud, I’ve realized just how easy it can be to re-empower both myself and others. By focusing on the positive, on the qualities I have and not those I am lacking, on the blessings in my life and not the hardships and strife, I have managed to re-engage my heart with my head. By being a better friend to myself, I can offer things that nobody else can: pride for my own accomplishments, reflection for decisions made, and forethought into my hopes and dreams. It is my hope that by being kinder to myself, I can serve not just as an example to others, but that I can offer them support and guidance as they try to make their own changes.
When we use our voice to advocate for ourselves, for those who need a voice, for those who seek the truth or for those who need someone to believe in them, we are using words to change lives – both ours and theirs.
Amanda Brooke is a writer, reader, quote lover, CASA advocate, and non-profit believer; seeking space as a patient advocate, public health guru, lifelong learner, passionate lover, and irreplaceable friend. Amanda tweets at @AKasper513, blogs about life with a Masters Degree, a chronic illness, life, love and following her dreams over at Welcome to Midnight. Additionally, Amanda writes over at Below The Radar, a community she co-founded to create “the opposite of loneliness” for chronic pain and illness warriors, fighters and survivors.
Featured image via mrmediatraining.com