I'm thrilled to share with you a guest post by recovering perfectionist and Sacred Purpose Coach, Kim Shannon. Kim helps women rediscover their clarity and purpose, and Self-Love is a corner stone of her work. I hope you enjoy this guest post! Let me know what you think.
Turn "Loser" into "I Love You"
One Thursday afternoon, I arrived at preschool to pick up my son. He greeted me by holding up his hand, making a “L” with his pointer and thumb, putting it up to his forehead and saying, “Hi Mommy, you’re a loser.” Well, hello to you too!
On the car ride home, I asked about his day. He had sign language that morning, and learned to say I love you. It was the same sign Helen Keller taught her parents, so long ago.
Later that afternoon, instead of calling me a loser, he called himself one. And he wasn’t kidding. At bedtime, he looked up at me with that serious look in his eye and said, “But, Mom, I really do feel like a loser.” I was horrified!
I felt like I was channeling a child therapist I know— I asked him to give me examples of when he feels like a loser, then to tell me what his Loser says about him in those moments and he said, “He says I am bad, I am dumb, and I am ugly.” How does that make you you feel?” He said, “It makes me not love myself.”
I explained to him that night about the voices inside us. I explained Inner Critic as the voice inside of us that tells us we are bad, dumb and ugly— that we aren’t good enough. This is the voice that says we are unlovable. I asked him to name his inner critic and he called him Max.
We then talked about another voice inside us that is kind of like our own personal cheerleader. This is the voice that rah rah’s us, and repeats over and over, “You are good! You are smart! You are beautiful just as you are! AND I love you!” He named this voice Thunder.
I suggested that whenever Max started to say mean things to him to ask Thunder to step in and say something nice. He thought that was a good idea.
After many I love you in words and sign language, he finally fell asleep. I, on the other hand, was up all night thinking how can my sweet son think such awful things and how can I teach him to love himself?
I started doing some research and was floored when I read that our personality and characteristics…what we think of our self, is 80% formed by the age of 6.
And then it hit me. He was learning it from me. I used to call myself a loser all the time in different ways. My inner critic, who I named Lucy that night, talked trash to me too. Lucy, who I named after the bossy character that tormented Charlie Brown, tormentedme too! Do you have a Lucy? Perhaps she goes by a different name?
Kids learn by osmosis. They are like secret stealth agents that watch us — what we say, what we do, what we don’t say, what we don’t do. They learn by imitating. They learn by observing how we treat and take care of ourselves. When we listen to our Lucy, our children hear her too.
Adding a Pinky
As I thought, my hand kept on alternating between the Loser gesture and I Love You in sign language. Finally around three AM, it dawned on me. You can turn Loser into I Love You by adding a pinky!
Just by adding a pinky you can change the negative, self-pitying, loser mentality into a positive, "I am okay just as I am," loving mentality.
The “Pinky Tool” is incredibly powerful. I taught it to my son the next morning. And years later, we still use it. You should see him now, he respects himself and he loves himself all from remembering to add a pinky.
It is so effective that I teach it to all my coaching clients and today I’d like to teach it to you. Make the Loser gesture with me. Pointer up at attention and thumb out. Now think of a moment when you felt bad about yourself or you listened to your Lucy. You know, a moment when maybe you felt like a loser. Feels icky, huh?
Now add a pinky and say I love you to you, silently or out loud, whichever you prefer. Do you feel the shift? It takes the sting of the negative thoughts, right? It makes them less powerful.
Do you know what you just did? You let love in and instead of listening to Lucy, you listened to Love!
What is Self-Love?
In 1956, psychologist Erich Fromm argued that loving yourself is different from being arrogant or egocentric. He suggested that loving yourself means caring about you, taking responsibility for you, respecting you. He also said that to truly love another person, you need to love you first.
The more you say I love you to you, the more love you let in. The more love you let in, the more you can give to the world. It might be weird at first saying I love you to you but with enough practice it will become routine.
So, you have a choice. You can continue doing what you have always done calling yourself a loser under your breath, letting your Lucy affect you each and every day. Or, you can do something radical! You can make adding a pinky a way of life and in the process – fall in love with yourself. You can listen to Love. You can choose to turn Loser into I love you for you, your family, and every single kid you’ll ever meet. What will you choose? Choose Love!
Kim Shannon is a Sacred Purpose Intuitive Coach. She helps you focus on you so you can have the business and life you deserve and have always dreamed of. You can connect with Kim at www.theshinefactor.com