Listen to Your Body Talk
Ask any expert, and he or she will tell you that effective communication is paramount in lasting relationships, healthy families and successful careers. You’ve heard how important it is to communicate with your partner, loved ones and the people around you. Oftentimes, however, the most important communication piece is neglected or underestimated—communication with self. The type of communication you have with yourself is crucial to healthy and happy living, yet women, especially, tend to ignore that inner voice and/or respond to it negatively. To improve any type of communication, start by listening.
Listen to your body Imagine that you have a young daughter. How do you respond when she says, “Mommy, I’m hungry” or “I got an ouchie”? How do you know when it’s naptime or when something is bothering her? Most women would drop everything to make sure she is fed, treat the ouchie, make her take a nap, and know immediately that she needs one because you pay attention.
Now, imagine your daughter is actually your body’s voice. Think about how you react to the messages your own body and mind tell you. When Mini-you says, “I’m tired, I’m hungry, I’m hurting,” do you even understand her language, or do you hear her and ignore her? Listening to your body means being in tune with your strengths, limitations, emotions and health. Gaining a better understanding of how you physically, intellectually and emotionally respond in situations will give you a good starting point with how you communicate with others. You can use this knowledge of yourself to share and educate others on how to communicate with you or to control the scenarios in which you interact with people better. For example, if you realize you are a raging lunatic on an empty stomach, you can explain this to friends and family. After a few blowups, they will remind you to eat before you interact with other people. Then you can be sure to make mealtime a priority.
Self-talk Internal communication is not just listening to your body. It also means being cognizant of the things you are saying to it. Self-talk is your inner voice—the conscious or unconscious act of talking to oneself aloud, silently and mentally. Self-talk impacts how you perceive the world and communicate with people. People who have negative self-talk tend to have negative views of their environments and expect negativity in return. Negative self-talk is when your internal conversations are counter-productive, demotivating and self-defeating. When you continuously tell yourself you’re not good enough, smart enough or pretty enough, not only do you begin to act and feel that way, but you also project that onto others.
Think about the things that you say to yourself. Would you say the same things to your young daughter, Mini-you? Just as you would guard her emotions and self-esteem, speaking gently to her, show yourself the same consideration and respect. After all, the goal of communication is to have a mutual understanding and a platform where you can speak and be heard. Once you can accomplish this within yourself, you are better prepared to put it into practice with others.