I was sitting in a large-group meeting a few days ago, and we were asked by the speaker to write a few sentences that we say to ourselves when we're at our worst. The idea was that as human beings, we have the tendency to put ourselves down with self-talk that we would never say aloud to another human being. I might tell myself, "You have no talent. You're a hack. You'll never make it!" But I would NEVER say that to another person.
If it's not okay for me to say to someone else, then why is it okay for me to say it to myself?
Well, actually, it's not. Negative self-talk is a form of bullying --- self-bullying, and it's not okay. I need to stop doing that. If you're using negative self-talk you need to stop that, too. Stop being a bully to yourself.
But, that's not the point of today's post. (It's just a convenient sidebar. Consider it a bonus!)
No, the point is what happened later in the meeting.
The speaker told us to imagine what we would say if it was our best friend who was having a hard time, and needed a little inspiration. What would you say to them? Write that down.
So I did.
I wrote a few sentences that truly came from my heart.
You have strength and resilience that you have not yet begun to tap. Believe in yourself as much as I do. You can do this.
It's not Shakespeare, of course, but it's pretty good. At least, that's what the lady who read it thought. In fact, she liked it so much that she shared it aloud to the whole group, and it received several "ooh's" and "ahh's." Then, the leader of the group asked this question..."Wow, that's great! Are you a writer?"
I have to tell you, I hesitated for just a second.
In my head, I was thinking of replying with, "Not really. I'm a teacher, actually. But, I want to be a writer someday."
I didn't say that, though. I think I realized that if I said those words, I would be belittling myself, doing the exact thing that the leader's lesson was about. I needed to embrace myself as a writer.
The question she asked me wasn't, "Wow, that's great. Are you an author, published by a reputable publishing company?"
It was a simple question. Are you a writer?
So, after my initial pause, I answered.
Yes. I am.
Because I am a writer.
Someday, I hope to be a published one.
Perhaps, even a best-selling one.
If I'm lucky, I'll even be a full-time one, able to pursue my dream of writing and quit my day job.
But even without all that, I'm still a writer.
I declare it.
I claim it.
I am a writer.