The Fine Art of Communication

October 19, 2007 at 2:24 pm 2 comments

I always loved watching SNL’s “Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley” (Al Franken). During this sketch, Stuart would look at himself in the mirror and repeat to himself, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

At some point in my development I learned and believed that if you paid yourself a compliment, you were bragging. If you thought you looked pretty, you were vain. If you believed yourself to be smart, you were just fooling yourself. Self-esteem is such a fragile thing. I think it would be strange if everyone carried around a mirror and stared at themselves in it and walked around telling themselves how beautiful and wonderful they are. The classical tale of Narcissism isn’t what I am referring to.

In response to my fear of being vain, boastful and proud, I learned to understate myself often in communicating to others. I am starting to recognize the tools I have used, the self-degradation in my self talk and in describing my needs to others.

How many times do you talk yourself down instead of stating how you really feel?

I recently read an article called, Are Your Words Holding You Back? By Ellen Welty.

I believe this is a sad commentary on how I and many women talk themselves down, belittle themselves, by our use of negative communication habits.

To illustrate, here is an excerpt from this article on our use of the word “Just.”


You call up a friend and announce, “Hi, it’s just me.” If someone at a party asks you what you do for a living, you answer, “Oh, I’m just a stay-at-home mom” (or “just an office manager,” or whatever). “I hate when I do that!” screams 42-year-old Maria Iriondo, of Key Biscayne, FL, mother of a 5-year-old. “As if being a mother isn’t a huge, important job!” Iriondo “justed” herself back in her career days, too. “Someone would ask, ‘Oh, are you a doctor like your husband?’ and I’d answer, ‘No, I’m just a journalist.'”

Here’s a solution: Stop using “just” to describe yourself and your life. Say, “Hi, it’s me,” instead of “it’s just me.” Tell friends you’re ‘up for the usual” instead of “just the usual.” And – you guessed it – when someone asks you what you do with your days, reply with just “I’m a stay-at-home mom” (or whatever). Added benefit: Because you haven’t minimized your role or importance with that insidious little adverb, the person talking to you will likely ask you more questions about your life – and treat what you do as if it’s, ahem, just as important as what they do. Which, of course, it is.  

It is such a simple thing, and yet so deeply ingrained and part of my everyday behavior. I have used this kind of self degradation often. This article discusses several other forms of stinking thinking and negative communications that we use and need to re analyze in our lives. The author also suggests several strategies to change these behaviors.

Okay. Here is my attempt at some positive affirmations:

I am a good person.
I am a smart, good person.
I am a lovable, smart, and good person.

Those were the hardest sentences I have ever typed on my computer.

Please give some compliments to yourself today, doggone it!

**The title of this post was inspired by my good friend Ellen V., fantastic mother and beautiful inside and out! Thanks Ellen!

Entry filed under: Self Acceptance. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Where did I put all those pesky Hair Clips? The Lovely Boutique: A Gem in Utah

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Happy 2008 and New Year Resolutions « Mythbuster Beauty  |  January 3, 2008 at 8:31 am

    […] More Confidence. Be aware and remove self derogating remarks, no “I am just . . .” or “I am only . . .” in my vocabulary and no other self-talk stinking thinking. Push myself in new directions, even if it scares me. Take some risks. What are some of your New Year Resolutions?   […]

  • 2. Beauty Blog vs. Personal Blog « Mythbuster Beauty  |  June 18, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    […] The Fine Art of Communication: Thoughts on self-deprecation and loving yourself. […]


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