presentsThe Evolving Self
When growth is the only option...

The Evolving Self is an e-newsletter that reflects the belief that growth is a choice that can bring an ever deepening and expanding awareness of who we are and what we are here for. The reader can expect affirmations, quotes, book reviews, insightful commentary and tips that support the growth of the individual.

Affirmation: I choose to focus on the positive.

Quote: "I never thought I was a bully, until I listened to how I speak to myself. I think I owe myself an apology." Unknown

Newsletter archives:

January 2019 - Repetition Compulsion/Making Conscious Choices

December 2018 - Currency of Needs/ A Healthy Relationship with Needs

November 2018 - Command Presence/Are you being a leader in your own life?

Certified Aromatherapist

As a Certified Aromatherapist, I am qualified to make custom blends to address various health concerns and skin issues. Many aromatherapy blends also have a quality of emotional support.

I am in training again for more knowledge on aromatherpay mainly because I think they are so incredibly powerful. I gave a blend to my friend yesterday to address a muscle issue in her hand. She rubbed it in and a few minutes later said, "Am I just imagining that it feels better that fast?" Not at all, there are oils that have a local anaesthetic effect so you would absolutely feel a different in a matter of minutes.

If you are interested in custom blends to support your physical and/or emotional health and/or coaching along with aromatherapy solutions, please email me at

Contact me to get your own custom blend!

Tortured from Within

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me." This childhood chant was intended to help bolster courage against verbal attacks. They are only words afterall, how we respond to them is what matters. The truth is however, words can hurt, especially if you are a sensitive person. But possibly nothing is more painful that the ongoing, pervasive barrage of critical self-talk going through the heads of many people.

In the classes I teach, I often ask if anyone can relate to "being their own bestfriend." Every now and then a person will raise their hand, but nearly everyone in the room raises their hand when asked if they can relate to "being their own worst critic."

Studies show that everyday we have between 5K to 50K thoughts going through our heads. That's a whole lotta of ouch if your inner self-talk is negative and self-critical. How did we get this way? Well, there are a few things to blame it on...

First of all, the default thinking of most human beings is biased to negative. This is simply for survival reasons. To survive as a species, we had to be prepared and aware of anything that could go wrong. Therefore, we had to be looking and watching and assessing what was ok and what was not ok and potentially dangerous in our environment including ourselves and others.

Secondly, and perhaps more relevant is our inner voice(s) are simply repeating the pattern of parenting we experienced as children growing up. If you had nurturing parents then your self-talk is likely to be more supportive and compassionate. If you were on the receiving end of a lot of criticism, then your self-talk is likely to be more critical. The truth is: the voices of our parents are alive and well and living in our heads!

In addition, your parents didn't even have to use words for you to develop negative self-talk. As children, we often see ourselves as responsible for what is happening around us, especially if no one is helping us to be objective in our conclusions. We pick up a lot from the non-verbal language people use, how we're treated and the feelings of others. The end result is we tend to be unforgiving and sometimes relentless in beating ourselves up for not being "perfect,"

Finally, just observing how our parents interpreted events and what type of self-talk they demonstrated influences the pattern we develop for ourselves.

Interestingly, all of these influences on our self-talk are environmental and experiential. We aren't born with negative self-talk, we develop it in response to our life circumstances.

Managing the Brain

In addition to this ongoing self-talk filling our inner space with constant chatter, we also have thoughts driven by our brains.

Interestingly, our brains are kind of like computers. When we encounter problems, the brain works to solve those problems. It can only solve problems based on its experience and if the problem doesn't have a clear solution, the brain can get stuck like a needle in the groove of a scratched record (if you can relate to that older technology analogy.)

Unfortunately, there are a lot of problems in our society today that fall into the category of "unsolvable problems." A lot of relationship issues, family challenges, health challenges and financial issues are not so black and white as say, what to have for dinner or what movie to see. When a problem is perceived as interfering with your well-being and ability to function in the world, it becomes a top priority and our brains will constantly try to solve it. Especially in the wee hours of the night, when we're not distracted by work and daytime activities.

Modifying critical self-talk and our brain's tendency to obsess about problem solving can both be addressed by learning to manage the brain. Recognizing these tendencies as patterns of thinking can raise awareness and bring an opportunity to re-direct thinking (distraction,) and reframe thinking (aka CBT.)

Distracting the brain is often a temporary solution but can make the difference between getting a few hours of sleep or not at all. It starts by taking some deep abdominal breaths while counting silently to yourself. The breathing helps your body relax and the counting helps to re-focus your thinking. If you maintain this for 64 seconds, studies show that you can pop the needle out of the groove and choose your next thought. Have something to think about ready for that moment or simply focus on your breathing.

Reframing involves choosing a different interpretation. This can apply to negative self-talk or really anything that has you upset. There's always another way to look at a situation. For instance, the person who didn't respond when I said "hi" may not have heard me because they were deep in though, not because they don't like me.

Finally, using positive statements to affirm ourselves, known as affirmations can help direct the brain to the positive rather than the negative and can relieve anxiety. It is important that the statements be close enough to your beliefs about yourself so that you don't completely reject them. It can lead to a better relationship with yourself in which you are more gentle and loving with yourself. "I'm doing the best I can." "Today, I can begin again."




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Jaqui Duvall works as a coach, mentor, trainer, facilitator and public speaker developing and delivering workshops, leading mentoring groups and working with individuals to help them identify and express their inner spirit and live a life of consciousness and intention. •  San Jose