Loving Little Katie

By Katie, 5:22 am

I consider myself to be a pretty nice person. In fact, my senior year of high school I was voted “Friendliest Female.” So it never ceases to amaze me how someone so nice to others can simultaneously be so cruel to herself. :-(

I will be blunt: over the past few weeks I have really been struggling to be my own best friend. I’ve been saying horrible things to myself – about my weight, about my appearance in general, and even about my overall level of worth. I have attacked myself with a level of harshness I cannot even imagine directing toward another human being.

The good news? Deep down I don’t believe a word of that rubbish. The bad news? Deep down I don’t believe a word of that rubbish.

You see, I know that my worth isn’t based on any external part of me. I know that I am loved – by God, by others, and by myself – regardless of any fluctuation in poundage. I know that there is peace and joy in simply being kind to myself. And yet I’m still beating myself up. :-?

So the solution has to go beyond simply telling myself those thoughts aren’t true, since deep down I already know that. If I really want to kick this bout of negative self-talk to the curb, I need a more concrete plan of action. I need to do something.

So I’m pulling out my ultimate weapon: Little Katie.

That’s me, circa 1988.

To show myself – in a very concrete, tangible fashion – just how inappropriate my vicious self-talk is, I’m implementing a new rule: any time I’m tempted to call myself ugly or fat or whatever, I have to tell it to this Katie.

That is, if I can even bring myself to do that. Can I really look at this precious girl and tell her she’s worthless?

Probably not. But that girl is still me. And if I wouldn’t say it to Little Katie, then I really shouldn’t be saying it to the Katie of today either, you know?

But apparently right now I need to be reminded of that. So in preparation for my next fight against that negative inner voice, I’m placing these photos of Little Katie in strategic places: my bathroom mirror, in front of the Bathroom City vanity unit, inside my purse, etc. I’m hoping that the simple act of hanging them up and looking at them regularly will help me remember that I deserve the same kindness and compassion that I would show a small child, or any other human being. If I can’t say it to Little Katie, I won’t be saying it to myself.

Have you ever struggled with negative self-talk, even when you KNEW the thoughts weren’t true? How did you deal with that voice?

AND

What do you think of this idea? Do you think that using baby pictures in this way will help me show myself more kindness and compassion?

**This idea is not mine originally. It comes from the book Life Without Ed, by Jenni Schaefer.

51 Responses to “Loving Little Katie”

  1. I’ve always dealt with that inner voice by telling it to shut up. I regard it as the devil on my shoulder, and I feel like paying attention to it validates it and makes it worse.
    I think the picture idea will help you. If nothing else it’s going to make you stop and really think about the things you are saying to yourself and you’ll be able to see what it is that is triggering the negative talk. I hope it helps!

  2. Lauren says:

    Awww, Little Katie is so sweet! And current Katie is even sweeter! :) Oh my goodness, I think we all struggle with negative self talk and I KNOW it’s never true. It’s funny how we convince ourselves to feel a certain way even though we know in our hearts it’s not how we really look or should feel. :)

    Love you Katie.

  3. amanda says:

    I also struggle with negative talk and I just started a “me” book the past 4 days now. In this book I write down ONLY positive things about me and also accomplishment throughout the day. I have noticed an improvement in my mood and my self image. I know it will take more than a few days to change around a lifetime of low self esteem and negative thinking.

    • Katie says:

      I really love that idea! I think that could really help me. Thank you for sharing!

    • Great idea! I was going to suggest keeping a journal of all the things you like about yourself on your nightstand to write in and reflect at the end of each day. A gratitude for you journal if you will.

  4. Melodie says:

    Katie, this is a great idea. It brought tears to my eyes just thinking of saying those things to myself as a little girl :/ I think I am going to do this exact same thing!

  5. Negative self-talk is a huge problem of mine. I’m trying to now stop it in its tracks — don’t let it in…don’t create the problems and drama. Life is easier without it. Its only your own life, your own body, your own head. You’re only gonna risk wasting away your own life…you don’t want to be 90 years old lying in bed and thinking about that.
    May as well just live and let live.

  6. Candice says:

    Katie, you’ll move past this. You are a confident, beautiful woman! Just tell yourself that instead of the negative talk.

  7. Tina says:

    I like the idea of having to tell it to a kid. Someone on my blog mentioned something along the lines of would she say what she says to herself to her children. That really hit home for me.

  8. i think it’s probably helpful to see you at a time in your life when you were completely happy, full of joy, and the way your body looked meant nothing at all. you are beautiful sweet girl, hang in there!

  9. Katie you were such a cutie! Not that you aren’t now. I never thought about talking to my younger self. It’s also sort of strange being a gen-Y who was told that I could be anything and do anything and now have doubts about myself.

  10. Katie, what an awesome idea! How did you come up with that? :)

    • Katie says:

      You probably didn’t see it because I snuck it in at the very end of the post, but I got the idea from Jenni Schaefer’s book Life Without Ed. A very helpful book! :)

  11. Aww Little Katie — how precious!

    I tell my “mean Katie voice” to be quiet.. to take a nap.. to think about things in the morning and how I know my thoughts are just silly and that I’ll think clearly in a few hours or after a good rest. I like the idea of talking to your younger self — I’m gonna try that too!

  12. Jill says:

    That’s a very powerful idea! I love it! :)

  13. Erica says:

    Wonderful post. Beautiful insight, as always ;)

  14. Holly says:

    What a GREAT post and an absolutely wonderful idea. I hate how we are all our toughest critics. We don’t deserve to be treated that way! :-) I have a hard time with self-talk – it kind of comes and goes. But I’m going to steal the idea of reminding myself that if I wouldn’t say it to small Holly, I shouldn’t say it to adult Holly, either.

    What a compliment that you were voted friendliest female of your class! I can see that, without a doubt. :-)

  15. I love this idea! Whenever I find myself struggling with negative self-talk I try to push it out by finding something positive to say about myself.

  16. Mo says:

    What a lovely post, Katie! I think more people should employ that idea. :)

    It is kind of weird how super nice people can be so harsh and cruel towards themselves. Sometimes I just want to slap them and tell them how awesome they are. ;)

  17. Hope says:

    Little Katie is a total cutie! We all have weeks where we say stupid things to ourselves, but I think you have the best idea that I’ve heard so far to stop the negative self-talk in its tracks. I don’t think I could say anything negative to little Hope. Great idea, and good post, as usual. :)

  18. Sarah says:

    Little Katie is just as adorable as big Katie :)

    What a fantastic idea! Have you read all of Jenni Schaefer’s books? I haven’t read any of them but I’ve listened to an interview with her via a podcast from Mentor Connect (which is a mentoring programs for individuals strugglings with ED) and she seems amazing. The majority of what she said resonated with me.

    This post comes at a fantastic time for me. I often struggle with believing the positivity I tell myself and I think this method might help.

    • Katie says:

      I have read both of Jenni Schaefer’s books, and I got a lot out of both of them. The first one, Life Without Ed, really hit home for me; I think anyone who has ever struggled with food issues could learn a lot from her!

  19. Katie I totally struggle with negative talk and I love your idea here. I will forever think of Little Holly when I talk badly to myself. I would never call her fat, ugly, worthless, stupid or boring, but I tell myself that now, so I am calling her that. This really puts a new spin on this for me, so thank you for that!

  20. I really love the idea of putting the pictures up where you can see them! It will definitely make you think twice before you let The Voice start in on her! While I have never used photos of Little Karen, I have learned that there are times when I need to be gentle and loving with The Voice, and other times when I tell it to shut the F%#K up. Sometimes I use humor and sometimes I am sarcastic.

    I believe that success in this area is NOT that we never hear The Voice again, but rather that we learn to disengage from it…quickly! :-)

    • Katie says:

      I completely agree. I think the Voice will always be there, I just want to get better at ignoring it! :)

  21. I think that’s a wonderful idea. I too struggle with negative self talk sometimes and just have to take a minute to really think about what I’m doing and how to change it:

  22. McKella says:

    I love this idea! I’ve struggled with negative self-talk all my life. The next time I have a bad day, I’ll pull out pictures of my lacey-dressed, pigtailed self. Thanks for the great tip!

  23. Kate D says:

    Awww, little Katie is so cute.

    I found my baby book which had been missing for 15 years. (Don’t ask how that happened.) I was so sweet in the early pictures, then you could tell something happened and the weight began creeping on.

    I think posting pictures of yourself at a young age is a wonderful reminder to be gentle with yourself and to help stop negative self talk.

  24. First of all, Little Katie is super cute! I love these pictures!

    Secondly, this is such a great idea. Something I’ve never thought to do when I’m being hard on myself for whatever reason. But I love the concept! You still are the same person — just because your looks have changed and you’ve grown up a bit, it doesn’t mean that the person inside is gone. I hope your new strategy helps get you out of this recent bout of negative self-talk. You are a strong, wonderful person, and hopefully Little Katie will be the daily reminder that you need to believe it! :)

  25. homecookedem says:

    What a cutie!! And such a fabulous idea to think of our younger selves when we start to think those horrible negative thoughts. I love it, I’m totally gonna do this!!!!!

  26. Janelle says:

    Cute Little Katie Pictures. :) The idea is used by lots of great folks out there and it makes sense. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron suggests talking to yourself as your younger self. So kind of a little different, but still powerful. What would Little Katie say to big Katie? When I did this exercise in this way I really lightened up with myself because Little Janelle would totally think my life is cool right now. lol I have a HOuse, a DOG, a husband! Wow!!! lol :) But, yes, doing it this way you suggested is powerful, too. I will take time to ponder on that. I find your blog to be most inspiring. I wish you the best! Janelle

    • Katie says:

      Thank you, Janelle! I really appreciate your support and encouragement! I also love the idea of talking to myself as my younger self – that would definitely help me be more gentle and compassionate.

  27. LeanneRBF says:

    What a fantastic idea!

    You were cute then and your cute now madamm! ;)

    Also with all the negativity, I know for me at least that it helps when I’m feeling down to just get moving… whether its a walk, run, boxing class, weight lifting, etc. It’ll get those endorphins going and youll feel better about yourself.

  28. I’m with on this struggle. I can say awful things to myself that I would never say to another person! It’s been worse lately because everything has been new – and I’m of course making mistakes. Very hard for me!! But your idea of looking at pictures of yourself as a child is a great idea! So hard to tell that cute little girl anything mean!!

  29. I am in awe of your honesty and your creativity in using this strategy! I’ve used a similar strategy in terms of trying to help others connect with various body parts and what it must feel like to be spoken to (as the body part) in such cruel and insulting terms. It is truly amazing how much we can tear down ourselves when we wouldn’t THINK of speaking that way to another person.

  30. Katie, I love this post! Your posts are always so eloquent and thought-provoking. And your pictures are just wonderful! It’s so nice to see you when you were little. Seriously, too cute! :)

    Throughout the years, I’ve had a very loud negative inner voice, for sure. And when I think about myself when I was little, I’d never want to berate that little girl. That’s a great reminder.

    Thank you for a beautiful post!

  31. Nicole, RD says:

    Then you were adorable, and now you are beautiful! I think everyone struggles with self harshness during the downs of life – which I think we all have. I hope you pull out of your rut and find lots of love for you! You deserve it!

  32. Emilee says:

    Maybe you could think of what your future self would say to the “little Katie” you are now. She might look back and say, you are sooo beautiful,glowing with youth and so much going for you. You really are beautiful. Know it.

  33. [...] I posted about Loving Little Katie (I can’t thank all of you enough for your supportive comments and emails! It means so much to [...]

  34. [...] also encourage you to read Katie’s post “Loving Little Katie”. She wrote about how she does not treat herself as her own best friend. In that post she [...]

  35. Simply Life says:

    Thanks so much for the honest post and showing us how you’ve creatively decided to tackle this!

  36. What a sincere inspiring post. Negative self talk is so destructive yet common that often we aren’t even aware of it. I like the idea of posting pictures and talking to your younger self. It is important to remember that you are she and just as deserving as loving kindness at this stage of your life as a younger one. Whatever works to reinforce that is useful.

    I took a wonderful 20 week Psychology of Eating course a couple years ago that included several suggestions for connecting with yourself in a loving compassionate way. One of my favorites was a mirror exercise where you were to really stare into your eyes each morning, connecting and sending love. Another was to show kindness to parts of your body you are less than thrilled with with positive self talk, massage, etc. They key is to find what works for you.

    • Katie says:

      Those are both really neat ideas! That course sounds extremely interesting.

  37. Adorable pictures! My favorite piece of playground equipment when I was young was a duckie just like the one you’re riding!

    I love the idea of loving of loving little Katie, and think that it sounds like a very affective way to stop negative self-talk. We do NOT deserve self-inflicted scrutiny! It’s in our power to STOP it, starting with reminders like this.

    I’m going to print out a few photos of myself and do just what you’re doing. Thank you so much for sharing the idea!

  38. [...] reminder to treat yourself well, and that we need to not talk negatively about ourselves. Check out Katie’s post from Monday if you didn’t get a chance yet. When I was searching for the perfect photo to post, I also found [...]

  39. Dev says:

    What a great post, Katie. I too am guilty of negative self-talk and can so easily relate to everything you said. Well done!

  40. [...] Katie, who writes a stellar healthy living blog, Health for the Whole Self, wrote a post this week where she talks about about a really powerful [...]

  41. [...] from Health for the Whole Self, a healthy living blog, also wrote about the importance of directing kindness to yourself by reconnecting to your inner child – and looking at pictures of yourself as a little [...]

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