There is one thing that I have been notoriously good at throughout the years and that is being hard on myself; judgmental, critical, mean, deplorable, hurtful, and downright nasty – you name it, I have internally uttered the most destructive things. My inner voice has ribbed:
You’re a mean person.
You’re not smart enough.
You’re not good at this.
You deserved that.
Nobody likes you.
As you can imagine, it has been one big ugly mess and that kind of thinking leads to a pessimistic outlook and dipping the toes back into the pool of depression. I had formed an opinion of myself that was completely unfounded and therefore untrue.
How did this come about? A habit formed. If you can imagine being offered a large bowl of lollies, and there is only one dark one, so you pick that. The next time there are more dark ones, so you pick those too, until you are only consuming the sombre ones and are not even noticing all of the brightly-coloured candies in the bowl.
What I was hearing and taking on board was totally different to what was being said. If you can imagine a group of people in a conversation and you were all told the same thing, each person can take what has been said, differently. This is dependent on who they are, how they are feeling at the time, and their previous life experiences.
I realised from the lollies that I was eating and what I was picking out from what was being said in conversation, that I was consumed by negativity. This is not part of my lifelong goal, to maintain happiness and be true to myself. Instead of treating myself like I would a best friend, I was brutally critical of myself all of the time, and I was nit-picking everything else around me- the carpet was even looking at me funny and intentionally tripping me up!
The only way for that to not happen anymore was to change; a change for the better.
It’s hard, hard to transform when you are knee-deep in ‘sh*t thinking’, but it is possible. Just like a habit is formed negatively, it is completely achievable to do the reverse and form the habit of positively thinking about yourself and your environment.
I realised and did this a while ago and it has been a great work in progress. But things happen, life throws curve balls, and it’s easier to slip back into old ways. Recently, I knew that I hadn’t been true to myself, because I got to the point where I couldn’t even smile at myself in the mirror, I was in a groggy fog of ‘kick-yo’self-in-the-ass’ thinking. When I implemented the change, and worked my way back to being awesome and loving me for me, I knew that the adjustments that I’d made were the best decision for me. I even spouted an impromptu long love letter-esque monologue to self, in the mirror.
Another thing is that this deeply rooted love and adoration has to come from self, not from elsewhere. If I get given compliments when I’m sinking, they are nice to hear and can give some pep for a little bit, but I find that I inevitably brush them off thinking that they aren’t true. Ultimately what I tell myself is what I’m going to believe, and that becomes who I am.
A little while ago, I asked some of my good friends for some confidence boosters because I was feeling a bit low on my efforts to fulfil my dream career of becoming a motivational speaker and publish guides to life. They responded with wonderful emails about what an inspiration I am, and what they saw as my strengths. But because this was not coming intrinsically, I didn’t trust in what they had sent me. I had to work on that myself. I had to believe that I was a worthwhile human being.
Fortunately I have recognised this pattern during the years and I am getting better and better at realising my own value, that now, I believe in me. When you are truly happy with who you are, the things that used to irk you, the things people would say that you’d wear as a heavy cloak, don’t matter anymore. They don’t factor in because you don’t even notice.
I am really proud of how I’ve grown and who I have become. I know that when I tell people that I am happy, that I actually am joyous from the bottom of the ventricles in my heart. When I give myself compliments and smile, I know that they are the real deal because I can feel it right through my bones.
I am NJ – I am happy, I am free, I love me. I know this, because I tell myself this every single day. I hope that you know how awesome you are too, X