February 2014 is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Almost 1 in 10 teens reports being physically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the last…

February 2014 is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Almost 1 in 10 teens reports being physically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the last year. Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness and protect teens from violence. Guest columnist Tasha Richardson, a Public Ally for the National Runaway Safeline, writes a poetically beautiful shout-out to the person who should matter most in your life = you!

buddha girl

You are beautiful.  You are special and unique.  You are strong, courageous, and bold.  You are gifted and talented.  You are loved and loving.  You are supported by everything and everyone.  You have everything you need to be successful.  You are acceptable and worthy exactly as you are.  Everything in life you need, you already possess.  Life is happening for you.  You, your life, and your story are gifts that only you have to give to those you encounter.  You matter.

Let the above words sink into your consciousness, reading them again if necessary…

The most intimate relationship you have is your relationship with yourself.  The question is how do you treat you?  Are your words like the above, affirming and empowering?  Or, do your words leave more to be desired?

Think about it.  Every morning, you wake up to your inner voice.  This inner voice follows you throughout the day, quieting only when you go to sleep.  Would you like to be followed around by a positive voice that sees you exactly how you are–a special, perfect, and purposeful someone with a unique and important place in the world?  Or would you like to be followed by a voice that criticizes and views you with contempt?

Undoubtedly, many of us would pick the former option.  Why is it then that we treat others with more respect and kindness than ourselves?  To be frank, some of our inner dialogue that we use with ourselves we would not dare repeat in the company of others.

Today, let us make a shift toward treating our most sacred and most long standing relationship in the way most befitting of its sanctity.  Let us take inventory of our inner conversations and note the areas where we have been treating ourselves with less than loving care.  Let us note the parts of our lives where we are not happy and the people in them that have not been treating us as we deserve.  These can serve as barometers that indicate to us where we need to treat ourselves with a little more love, kindness, understanding, and patience.   Indeed, it could be argued that our outer reality is at times a reflection of our inner condition.  When it seems that the outer circumstances of our life are poor, let us pause and note that some of it could be due to our inner dialogue and the relationship within.

Practical Tips:

  1.  Simply observe how you talk to yourself–what language do you use?  Under what situations are you more prone to use negative self-talk?
  2. Jot down the negative phrases you use.   Rewrite them as positive and affirmative statements.  For example, “I never say the right things.”  Change this to “I say exactly what needs to be said in the right moment.”  Or, “The opportunities to say the right thing find me.”  Or any such combination.
  3. Find an accountability partner.  This person can help point out to you the times when you talk negatively about yourself.  They can also help keep you accountable when it comes to speaking more kindly about yourself.
  4. Every time you look in a mirror, tell yourself that you love yourself and that you are beautiful.
  5. Keep a gratitude journal where you note all of the things in your life that you are grateful for and the attributes about yourself that you love.  This could be as simple as writing 5 things you for which you are grateful a day.
  6. Check out this blog post entitled 11 Ways to Become the Person You Love for even more insights.
  7. Take the 31 Days of Self Love Pledge.

Tasha dreams of changing the world one thought and positive interaction at a time.  She is in her third term of service with AmeriCorps and would love to dedicate her life to service in the years to come. You can read more of her work, including her Do.You. series, on our blog.

Also, if you are in an abusive relationship, or suspect that a friend may be, call our 24/7 hotline anytime at 1800RUNAWAY.