If you’re a living, breathing person today, you have without a doubt experienced some negative self-talk.
Even if you’re some hot-shot CEO, more successful than you ever dreamed, you’ve had moments where you doubted yourself. Everyone has those moments. They are normal. They are okay.
What’s not okay, is the Negative Self-Talk we spew at ourselves sometimes day in and day out. I’m not talking about the occasional “ugh, stupid” thought you have when you leave your coffee on top of your car (like I did today). I’m talking about the consistent, resonating, “You’re not good enough. Why are you even trying. You can’t do this,” that some of us experience.
I have no better example than my journals I kept in high school. Riddled with angst, and learning how to handle some depression and anxiety, I journaled each and every day. I have quite the in-depth recollection of my sophomore and junior years, and during which, I was flat out mean to myself. Pages and pages of I’m not good at anything. There’s nothing that makes me special or different. I’m average. I’m not smart, I’m not beautiful. Even the things I like to do, I’m not good at.
Seriously horrible stuff.
I look back and read those now, and my heart aches for my 16 year old self, who refused to see the good in anything. I’m in a completely different headspace now; focusing on finding the lesson in sadness and turmoil, and inviting positivity and abundance into my days.
A happy life does not mean the absence of sadness. It does not mean the absence of doubt, and negativity. The last two weeks or so, I’ve been stuck in this attitude of ugh. I’ve been thinking about myself, my life, my goals, career, dreams, and just raining on my own parade.
Between my recent attitude and my old journals, I really got thinking about the way I talk to myself. And not just me, how we ALL talk to ourselves.
Odds are, you’re a lot harsher on yourself than anyone else will ever be.
There was a video I watched on facebook (and for the life of me I couldn’t find it – when I do, I’ll link it in here). It was a woman interviewing all of her friends who have children, asking them to describe themselves as mothers. These women started rattling off words like:
They started saying that they weren’t doing as well as they should, and that they are ashamed of their house always being covered in toys and most of their dinners being left-overs.
The interviewer finally asked, “Would you ever say any of those things to me?”
The mother’s responded:
“Of course not, that would be horribly rude!”
“I’d never tell you you’re not doing a good enough job.”
“I’d never judge you for having a messy house.”
And so, the interviewer asked, “So why are you saying those things to yourself?”
The women fell silent.
The interviewer reminds them that a messy house means a safe place for children to play, and a hub for the family. Leftovers don’t mean lazy, they mean home cooked meals. Everything these women were critical of, were signs of a happy, healthy, thriving family.
Why do we say such awful things to ourselves, that we would never say to others? Why is that such a norm?
I want you to think for a moment, about some of the worst things you’ve thought about yourself.
Would you ever say that to a friend? A stranger?
I sure as hell wouldn’t.
I could never tell a friend of mine that they are talentless, unoriginal, and going to achieve nothing. I’d never say how boring they are, that their looks are sub-par, or that that hobby they love so much is stupid.
If there’s one thing you should focus on this week, it’s being nicer to yourself. Every thought you have about yourself, your abilities, your image… stop and think for a moment if you would say that to someone else.
If you’re having critical thoughts, make them constructive. Understand that someone out there is proud of you for what you’re doing, or envious of the things you call insecurities, or impressed by your talents. You may feel low sometimes, but to someone else, you could be their motivation and inspiration.
So, quit being mean to yourself. I’ll try to, too.