When I meet with parents raising gifted kids with learning differences (aka, Twice Exceptional or 2e), and when I mentor twice exceptional adults, I’ll typically review a strategy called “Positive Self-Talk.” This mode of adjusting one’s attitude, motivating oneself and reminding oneself that they can handle what is put before them, typically includes inspirational quotes and ideas based on the person’s struggles. For parents I give them quotes like “Anxiety is not an accurate predictor of what’s to come. Anxiety is just an unpleasant feeling,” or “What would someone who wasn’t scared in this situation think and do?” In fact, I suggest that parents and kids cut out the quotes and paste them on 3×5 cards so they can have the handy at all times.
In this article, “Why Talking to Yourself is a Superpower,” the author suggests using the third person to depersonalize fears and to kick in natural empathy to encourage yourself to persevere. I like this idea of a) sanctioning self-talk and b) playing a trick on your brain to say “Susie is worried about…” so that you start to think to yourself, “Yeah, but Susie has been in this position before and has handled it fine” or some other motivational response.
Bottom line, self-talk is important and powerful. It allows us to have awareness of our feelings, it gives us an opportunity to respond and look for positives. Especially for gifted folks with learning differences (twice exceptional or 2e), self-talk is a powerful tool for motivation as they manage their complex brains. At the end of the day, you get to be with yourself – complicated brain and all – so enjoy who you are and trust yourself to be your own best friend.