Gabi Garcia, author of Listening to My Body, just published another book that is a great addition to any counselor’s shelf! I recently had the opportunity to do a book review of her newest title. It is truly a wonderful book for exploring self-compassion and positive self talk with elementary school students!
Listening with my Heart is a heart-warming story about Esperanza, a girl who is great at showing kindness to others but sometimes isn’t so kind to herself. She is quick to take in a lonely cat and befriend a new student, but she has critical self talk for herself when she misses a big goal or makes a mistake at school. Esperanza learns that it while it’s important to be kind to others, it’s equally important to be kind to herself!
The author expertly manages to describe physiological experiences associated with emotions and provide concrete ways to show kindness to others while maintaining a focus on self-compassion. The examples she uses of experiences in sports, academics, and theater are relatable to a multitude of students.
This is a great text to use with students who demonstrate perfectionist behaviors and negative self talk. If you have students who need to learn to cut themselves some slack and understand that mistakes are a normal part of life, this text will be a great addition to your counseling bookshelf!
Positive Self Talk Activity
Gabi Garcia includes several activities to do with your students after reading Listening with my Heart, and you’ll find one additional activity below.
To give students a chance to explore positive self talk, download this free activity. Students create pockets with a happy heart and a sad heart. Then, students practice listening with their hearts. They will read statements and pay attention to how their hearts feel as they read the words. Their hearts will help them to decide if the statement is something that would be kind to say to a friend or not kind and sort the statements into the appropriate pockets. Explain that statements that aren’t kind enough to say to a friend are not kind enough to say to ourselves! Like Garcia’s book teaches: we should treat ourselves like friends!
From this activity, students can begin to identify negative self talk patterns they currently have. The positive self talk statements included will help students begin to combat the negative pattern. Blank rectangles are also included for students to create their own positive self talk statements as they begin to treat themselves like friends!
- Review the statements that are too unkind to say to a friend. How many of these statements have you said to yourself?
- What feelings do you have when you say these things to yourself?
- How can viewing yourself as a friend change the way you talk to and about yourself?
- What is one way you will show yourself compassion today?
- Name 3 reasons you deserve self-compassion.