JESSICA’S INNER SPEECH:
I hate writing! Please don’t tell me that I have to blog. That means I have to write and I hate it, I tell you. What part of this do you not understand?
What you focus on you get more of. Well duh, but I really hate writing. What do I want? I want to be a brilliant writer and make a Ripple for parents and teachers. How can I be brilliant when all the brilliance is already taken? Have you read Janet Lansbury and Lisa Sunbury? There isn’t enough brilliance to go around.
Does this sound like a grown up toddler? This is the emotional state of the brain talking; verbal vomit for sure. This so isn’t helpful and keeps me stuck. So how can I focus on what I want instead of what I don’t want?
PIVOT. How to do that? Be a STAR. Smile, Take a deep breath And Relax.
(In this case many breaths) and focus on what I want.
I want to write. So how can I make this happen? Why can’t I be the writer like Nancy Lusk or Sharon Winstead or even Cina Deaton? Then there’s Robyn Moncure.
I stop dead in my tracks and something inside me shifts. I become “conscious”. Two phone calls later and voilà Robyn has agreed to write with me.
ROBYN’S INNER SPEECH:
I gotta snap out of this!
Be easy, your mom just died.
I have to stop moping and get out of this bed, but I don’t feel like doing anything.
Lizz has applied to and been accepted at schools, you have to make sure she’s all sorted.
Oh my God Elizabeth is going to college in August! She’s leaving too. Why am I’m always getting left? I feel awful, I need to get back in my bed.
STOP THAT! You have got to get over it!
But I don’t have a Mommie! And Lizz is going away! And I’m STILL a college student and I don’t even know if I’m doing anything right! I feel awful, I need to get back in my bed. Why am I planning to teach middle schoolers when I love pre- schoolers?
We’ve been over this a million times; you can’t support yourself with pre-schoolers.
Oh yeah. I should call Jessica, she always inspires me. If she is doing something cool, perhaps I could get involved…I don’t want to dance around with people though…it makes me feel uncomfortable. Am I wasting all this financial aid money finishing my degree? I feel awful, I need to get back in my bed.
Talk about being stuck!
Before we jump headlong into the deep end of the pool with the inner speech topic, we want to give a bit of our history and thoughts of who we are as friends.
I met Robyn back in September 1995 when she was a young mom and I was a director at Vienna Baptist Children’s Center (VBCC). There was a natural affinity to her. She was fun, brilliant and intelligent. I’ve kept in touch with her over the years. Her children are in high school now and yet we continue to be friends…colleagues.
Focus on what you want. Abundance.
I got to know Jessica when Elizabeth was 18 months old and started going to school at VBCC. Four years later at 14 months old, Maggie started VBCC and that was really the beginning of our friendship.
Jessica was going through serious events in her personal life and I was struggling with being a young stay at home mom. Maggie had spent the first year of her life very sick, we almost lost her twice. And finally as she was growing healthier and I was able to get back into the swing of normal life, I would go sit in Jessica’s office and talk with her.
Years later when I found out those conversations were happening during that difficult time in her life, I said to her, “why didn’t you just tell me to leave?”
That’s just not who she is.
Jessica has a great deal of love in her…and she is not remotely stingy about sharing it! She is filled with joy and verve and a positivity that can truly knock you over. I always feel renewed of spirit after speaking to or spending time with her, she is quite a bundle of energy in the most positive sense of the phrase.
Jessica takes life’s lemons and finds such creative ways to turn them in to delicious lemonade.
I am awed by this, for I am the kind of girl who takes the same lemons and almost literally lobs them back.
My life would not be quite the same without Jessica, and I’ve been thinking about how she made this lemonade of an idea and offered me a glass at a time when I was thinking I very much needed some.
And they say there is no such thing as bringing to you what you need? Pfft!
We were both very conscious!
What we’re setting out to accomplish as writing partners is to share what we’ve learned and continue to learn everyday about ourselves, children, parents and educators in a honest and playful way.
At last! Buckle up and hold on, we’re finally getting to the fascinating and sometimes confusing topic of inner speech!
We had a conversation about thinking in pictures vs thinking in feelings. Thinking in pictures is a bit like asking, what will it look like?
You see, it’s all visual, and theoretically if you can see “it” clearly, you’ll have a better idea of how to verbalize “it” or better make “it” happen.
Thinking in feelings is asking the question, how will it feel? This is more along the lines of expecting to feel a particular way about whatever the “it” is.
If “it” will feel positive you will take a different approach to verbalize or make “it” happen than if “it” feels negative.
When you are a child, you understand language but have immature inner speech; therefore, the adults in your life are responsible for starting to create that inner speech. This is a much bigger responsibility than most adults ever realize!
Here’s what we discussed about our own inner speech.
At home in anticipation of my youngest son’s college graduation in 2002, the photographer asked us to have a bit of fun as she documented my family’s celebration. So, I did something I thought was funny and like lighting, my mother pulled on my wrist, looked directly in my eyes and said quite firmly, “Young lady!”
It was quite a jolt to me! I was immediately a seven year old again in my adult skin. I framed that photograph to help remind me to turn down the volume of my inner speech and believe in myself. I have to commit to this on a daily basis.
You see, I am a bit of a Tigger who grew up with a Mother who was a bit of a Piglet. Now there’s a combination! As adults we are writing our children’s inner speech. What we say to them becomes their inner speech and all of my life I have lived being a Tigger with the inner speech of feeling guilty for being gregarious, engaging and enthusiastic. I didn’t have the capacity to appreciate who I am; who I was created to be. That photographer actually caught the moment that I became conscious of what inner speech my parents had written. “Hide your light under a bushel. Do not call attention to yourself.” As a child, I translated this to I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t smart enough.
I seem to have an inner speech that sounds super critical and a bit like I’m not quite good enough. Wow I need some new inner speech.
But you’re a grown up and it’s too late to change that now, just keep your head down and keep going.
Clearly the adults that created my inner speech knew nothing about the lasting impact their descriptions of my pictures would have. I make a conscious effort every single day to adapt my inner speech, to make it kinder and gentler, to make it supportive and nurturing.
Oddly enough, I always wondered what it would feel like if one day I just turned into the bird for which I was named, opened my strong wings and flew away.
Notice I said how it would feel…not what it would look like…I’m just saying.
Now that we’ve shared a bit about our friendship as well as our own inner speech, stay tuned for our next installment:
Verbal Vomit Part Two or Creating Positive Inner Speech; How Your Words Can Nurture or Hinder