When I was just a baby, I was not afraid to express my wishes. Whenever I was hungry, I kept on crying until somebody gave me some food. Whenever I felt happy, I made everybody happy with my big smile. I asked for the things I needed. I was not ashamed to show my feelings, on the contrary, I completely relied on them.
When I grew older, I started to doubt myself. I was told that I was clumsy and I slowly forgot my joy in movement. I did not feel confident enough to join my classmates when they played outside. Instead I focused on doing well in school. Every time my teacher complimented me, I felt great. But criticism on the other hand made me feel bad.
Right now I am still familiar with the feeling of “not being good enough”. I have been teaching sports lessons for 20 years already and I still feel insecure whenever somebody says something negative. It doesn’t matter whether I have had ten compliments, I just hear the critical voice. During my Alexander training course, this insecurity bothers me a lot. Whenever I put “hands-on”, there is always that little voice inside my head saying: “You’d better stop, you’ll never do this right.” Then I feel scared, angry or impatient with myself and as a result I get so distracted that I completely lose focus. Not a great way to learn a new skill!
I ran into Louise Hay’s work on the Internet. She teaches affirmations: talking to yourself in a positive way. It is very simple but at the same time extremely difficult. Louise convinced me to look at myself in the mirror and say: “I love you”. I gave it a try and discovered a huge awkwardness. I was used to criticisms like: “I am impatiented, I am stressed, I am not good enough, I am scared”, these words sound far more familiar than compliments. And to be honest, I was not even aware of how critical I was! I started to experiment with affirmations and particurlarly liked this one: “I am safe, I am taken care of”. As soon as I was able to really trust these words, anything I did was easier.
It is my nature to be great. It is everybody’s nature to be great. But because of the negative self-talk, I had forgotten that completely! Feeling good, being proud of myself, finding my true value, that is necessary to live a happy life. And to build a happy community with other people. I am still in training, I am not there yet. But I have started to write again, to teach some extra classes and to practice with my fellow students. My self-confidence is growing. I realize that trusting myself is more valuable than I could have ever imagined. There is no need to be better than somebody else if I can just be myself!
When I don’t feel safe, I notice that I start to interpret and stop listening to the other person. Reminding myself that I am safe helps me to really listen to the other person again, without my negative thoughts interfering. If you would like to know more about affirmations, visit Louise’s website: www.louisehay.com.
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