If you’ve read my blog for even a short time, you know that I have had low self-esteem all of my life. And I am an avid believer in self-discovery especially if it means improving this esteem. Earlier this year, I was thrilled to discover that there was a perfect way to edit my downer self talk from my downer thoughts. A book I had never heard of. I plowed right into the Feeling Good , The New Mood Therapy book with a sense of relief like I had found my mental fountain of youth. I am so ready to be more at ease and in my heart, I know it starts here in my head.

be careful how you are talking to yourself on Shalavee.com

Seems the negative notions we spin on our brain’s phonographs are called Cognitive Distortions. I thought and thought about the distortions I obsess over that put me in the bad mental places and I wrote them out. I began calling myself out for the “I’ll never haves” and the “it’ll always be like this’s”. And I recognized that this was the trick to tuning up my self-esteem. Ground zero work. To refute these dialogues and rewrite the facts as they truly are. And as usual, I journaled. Can’t keep it all in your head you know.

I have sought and found a therapist to help me in my journey to increase my self-esteem and help me puzzle out my goals and figure out how to create, and feel entitled to, the growth that I wanted in my career. Heck, I wanted a career. My therapy goals are to grow my blog’s readership, set up better habits, and better self talk. And Kathleen has been a genius in handing me tools and insights I may never have gotten on my own. She is a litmus test for what “normal” is. And with her compliments, I feel richer and better about myself every time I leave her office.

Collaged butterfly from Shalavee.com

Simultaneously, I continued to emerge out of my shell online by reaching out to people in my online community that I am building mostly via Instagram and Facebook. I have shared a picture a day on Instagram for well over a year. And I have sporadically begun to share little bits of myself on Facebook often with the Instagram pictures. The response has continued to grow. And has helped me to see myself and what I have to say, in an entirely new light.

My snail mail card campaign continued as I sent homemade cards to people who I wanted to make friends with offline. And have met up with three of these friends in real-time. I’ve listened hard to what everyone had to say about me, and about themselves as they are often in the same boat as I, and I’ve folded all the compliments back into my being. I said “yes I am” to the nice qualities they saw in me. And the once invisible me is becoming a shape of the me I already am but can only see partially.

And my attention to self-care continues. I exercise and get my toenails painted regularly and I am now pain-free. Troubles arise and I trust in the network of professionals I’ve put in place to counsel me on my plans to take care of me. I no longer use the “I can’t afford it” excuse but just get it done. I appreciate the value I have given myself.

My children in my artroom on Shalavee.com

And in doing all of this, my esteem has begun to rise. In the past six months to a year, I’ve experienced many less bouts of anxiety. These used to be the norm and are now rare. Hormones still make me irritated but no bottomless holes have opened up under me recently. I feel as if I finally really have my back. That I am my friend who is paving the way to a happy road and adapting as she goes.

And that is how I have reversed the self talk. It began with the notion that I deserved better. Then I willfully and concertedly made sure I created all ways to prove that this was believable. Interestingly, when I did research for my Post Partum Depression piece, all the steps I’ve taken are the exact steps you need to take to combat that depressive state. Create community, call upon it for aid, fight the negative prophecies, take care of your body, and don’t smoke or drink to excess. And enlist the aid of professionals for your body and your mind.

This is not an easy process but it is a possible process with a probable result that I will be way happier, way less anxious, and a better human and mother for the better self talk I’ll be practicing the rest of my life.

I was inspired to write this piece by this talk/video of Brian Johnson summarizing Shad Helmstetter’s book What To Do When You Talk To Yourself. And by someone asking me if I did this stuff?

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  1. sweet wonderful beautiful creative talented shalagh…this post made my heart just sing for you and send out joyful vibes of rainbows and chocolate chip cookies and warm baths and love love love. i am beyond thrilled to read about how much you have grown and how much you are really seeing your value. may your journey continue to be so fruitful…i’m over here, cheering you on xoxox

    1. You were the first gal to really grab my hand Lindsay and I will forever be grateful for that gesture because inside of it, I got an acknowledgement that I needed to see me. Such a necessary part of the process. Strangers are really nice people who eventually become your friends. Thank you a million times for this gift you give me.

  2. You know what led me to this article- your change in your title…from the art of housewifery or whatever it was, to gathering my lessons daily – which is so much better!!!! It’s so much more represeentative of where you are at, and where your blog is at…from what I can see.
    Nice post Shalagh!!

    1. You are so funny Andrea. I remember when you gave me a hard time for my art and mystery of housewifery tag. You were almost offended by it. My interpretation of the meaning of that was my “thing”. I liked it. But I have always been a gatherer of thoughts and lessons. When I changed it, I thought of you. Thank you for your enthusiasm!!! And your care too.

  3. I read an Allen Ginsberg quote last night: To gain your own voice you have to forget about having it heard. I keep thinking about this because I always looked for someone to listen first, as validation…and it didn’t work. Self validation is making all the difference, especially with panic and indecision. I love your voice, Shalagh! Cheers to a blossoming year ahead xo

    1. Thank you for your acknowledging my voice Dawn! My therapist would agree with Allen. She said it’s all fine and well if people like you but their voices need to support your opinion of yourself, not be your opinion of yourself.
      Love to you,

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