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Do you ever look in the mirror and all you see all your imperfections? Maybe you see imperfections in the way you look, or perhaps it’s in who you feel like you’ve become. Have you ever wondered where that person went that you once use to know, or have you struggled to feel like you were good enough? Perhaps the negative image you hold of yourself or the negative self-talk you experience is draining you of every ounce of energy you have.

The Journey Starts at a Turning Point

Ten years ago, I began my road to recovery, and the negative self-talk and self-doubt were crushing to my soul. The road I had ahead of me seemed longer than I could endure. On the outside, I’d stayed the course of pursuing my dream to be a performer and touring artist, but on the inside, all I saw was the failures I’d endured. I’d become a slave to my own life; my dreams had become a destination I could seem to reach, and I was no longer inspired.

My steady stream of guitar students was a constant reminder of what it once took for me to learn how to play my guitar, and one day it dawned on me that I hadn’t ever “learned” how to live life. I treated my guitar better than I treated myself. I allowed myself to think negative self-talk thoughts as a person, a woman, a spiritual being, that I would never have allowed myself to entertain as a guitarist.

Looking Back to Move Forward

When I first started playing guitar at 15 years old, my first- and most-cherished guitar teacher looked me in the eyes and said, “girls can’t play guitar!” I was shocked by what he said, and a switch flipped inside of me that triggered a voice that roared, “oh yeah…? We’ll see about that…!!!” I was determined to prove him wrong, and that’s exactly what I did—I made a commitment to learn and I never looked back. I never allowed that thought to linger in my mind as negative self-talk and I committed to overcoming any challenge that stood in my way. I practiced 12 to 16 hours per day. I never sat the guitar down, and I took it with me wherever I went!

So, I asked myself, where had the fire to overcome negative self-talk gone? Why was I allowing myself to talk myself out of a happy life, and when did I start settling for anything less? I took a long hard look at my life and began to make changes. No matter how ridiculous it felt to practice positive affirmation or positive “self-talk,” I was going to start there. I began looking “for” myself in the mirror instead of looking “at” myself. I wanted to find that person that once believed she could do anything and stop seeing the person who had lost her way. I was determined to rescue myself because this was something no one could do for me.

Negative Self-Talk in the Rearview, My Self in the Mirror

I began looking at my road to recovery as a journey instead of a destination. Just like playing the guitar, there was a learning curve, I set goals, I worked hard, but it’s not something I loved. Whatever I put into my guitar, I got out of it, and once that switch flipped, I decided to apply the very same principles to my life. I started training as a life coach to allow me to help others because, that’s how I learned to play guitar, by teaching.

My very first certification to become a “Dream Coach,” gave me a road map to follow. I put a stake in the ground, I set my intentions, I did inventory in my life and began to complete small tasks, and those small changes gave way to significant shifts in my life. I met my Inner Critic who had been giving me all the negative self-talk and learned that I had control over the volume knob. Negative self-talk was no longer an option.

After I received my first certification as a life coach, I realized I needed a coach—I wanted to be my best, and I couldn’t help others until I helped myself. I got sober, I lost weight, and I began my journey toward wholeness. There have been many, many bumps along the way, but I knew it was a journey, not a destination. The only way I could fail was to give up! No matter what struggles I faced, I continued to try. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Learning to love ourselves is the most powerful thing we will ever do, and it’s the greatest gift we can give ourselves and those we love.

If you’re interested in hearing more about what helped me on my journey, read my blog Celebrating Our Struggles and Writing Positive Affirmations.