We got bumped off our flight from Minneapolis to Omaha. We were given a stay in a nice hotel and vouchers for food and future flights, and we spent the night in Minnesota. I was without luggage. No toothbrush, no makeup, no change of clothes. Just a comb and a brush in my purse. And lipstick. I expected to find myself in a panic. But I was surprisingly calm.
I think most of us have something that we hide behind. Some baggage that we carry around with us wherever we go. Lately I’ve been noticing the words we women say to ourselves, about ourselves. I’ve been guilty of it: Not pretty enough, or thin enough, or smart enough, or whatever enough. Too thin, or too short, or too whatever to matter. One day, I decided enough was enough. I took an OATH for me: Only Adjectives That Heal/Help. I think that’s why I didn’t panic when separated from my MAC cosmetics for the night.
That’s me up there in the photo. Makeup-less. That night in Minnesota my husband loaned me a pair of gym shorts and a tee shirt and he told me I was beautiful. And I believed him. Because I had believed myself first. Because I had loved myself first. The next morning I boarded the plane wearing the clothes I had worn the day before, with bed head, not a stitch of makeup, and not a care in the world. When we landed in Omaha I claimed my luggage, but I left the baggage behind.
The OATH means using Only Adjectives That Heal/Help. Won’t you join me in the OATH? For the next twenty-one days, make a commitment not to let yourself speak badly about yourself. Only good self-talk allowed. Keep these thoughts in mind:
1. If you’ve been engaged in negative self talk for awhile, if it’s become your habit, it might be hard to just stop cold turkey. I know it was for me. So I just started by applying some mother wit to myself: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Start there.
2. The OATH is not about bragging. There is a difference between being a braggart and loving the person God created you to be. Love yourself. Just don’t boast or brag.
3. If you slip back into your old habit, just switch gears and start again. Don’t beat yourself up. Just move on.
4. Soon you’ll find yourself thinking differently about yourself, and that will spill over into your relationships with others. You’ll have more grace, more patience, and more love. I don’t know how it works or why it works, but it does.
Are you in? Great! I encourage you to keep a journal over the next twenty-one days. You can up the ante a bit if you partner up with a friend and take the OATH together. At the end of the twenty-one days, use the following conversation starters to evaluate your experience. You can use these conversation starters on your own, or with a group:
Q: Talk about a time, before you took the OATH, that you felt really good about yourself. How old were you? Was there anyone else around? Did you talk with other people about how you were feeling, or did you keep it to yourself?
Q: Over the past twenty-one days, what was the primary negative message about yourself that kept trying to press itself to the forefront? Can you still remember what it was? If not, don’t try to dig it up. Just let it go. If you do remember, does that negative message still seem as powerful as it once did?
Q: Which is easier for you to focus on, today: negative messages about yourself, or positive messages about yourself?
Q: What positive message/s did you embrace about yourself in the past twenty-one days?
Q: What positive message/s did you embrace about others in the past twenty-one days?
Q: In the past twenty-one days, when did you feel really good about yourself? Was there anyone else around? What would you tell someone else about how you felt?
Q: Was taking the OATH worth it? Why, or why not?