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What we say to other people is important, but what we say to ourselves is far more important. It is good to learn how to speak in public, but it is better to learn how to talk to ourselves. Only we can give ourselves purpose and intention.

When life is going badly for you or when times are challenging, how do talk to yourself?

Some people talk about the injustices or unfairness of others. Some admit their mistakes but excuse themselves with alibis. Some develop self-pity and really reach the point of enjoying their bad circumstances. Sometimes sickness is a convenient escape for us.

I have learned my best self-talk is motivating myself by reviewing what I’ve learned from life itself.

There are two things that I have learned from my work with hospice patients and families that I use in talking to myself:

  1. The importance of every moment – Life is precious and it is so vital to make the most of each moment we have.
  2. The importance of team – Hospice is based on a team approach of care for each patient involving nurse, social worker, chaplain, certified nurse assistant, volunteers, bereavement counselor, medical director and administrative staff. It’s not about me but about working well with others and the team to produce the best results.

There are eight things I have learned from being a fundraiser for Hosparus Health that I use in my self-talk:

  1. Listen to different points of view. We must be open to all opinions and thoughts which gives us balance and perspective.
  2. Develop the ability to learn on the job. I learn from each donor and advocate of Hosparus, even when I think I know it all.
  3. Be ready to share credit and success. Giving recognition to others and saying thank you as many times as possible is the right thing to do.
  4. Be willing to share the blame when things go wrong. Employees and volunteers respect you most when you share both the good and the bad.
  5. Be aware of my own weaknesses. We all have weaknesses and our greatest strength is acknowledging our weaknesses. It brings out the best in others.
  6. Have good ways to deal with my frustrations and know how to relax. One thing that has always helped me is my interest in so many things from movies to sports to reading to playing the piano, etc. These diversions and interests keep me sane.
  7. Stick to my resolutions and long-term goals. This way I always know where I am going and have direction in life.
  8. Communicate my goals to my colleagues. My sharing with others empowers me and my colleagues even more.

As a spiritual exercise we must stop and listen to our inner selves and share our own ideas. What comes out may break the illusion of perfection and free us to proceed with life.

As psychologist Rollo May has said, “If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.”

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