We seem to be harder on ourselves than anyone else. We judge our actions and hold ourselves up to unrealistic expectations. And we often use that negative judgment to hold ourselves back from becoming our best selves. We may not even know we are doing it, it can be so ingrained in how we speak to ourselves, that inner dialogue, or quick comment after we make a mistake or don’t get something right away, that we don’t realize the little jabs we constantly take on ourselves. We call ourselves an idiot, stupid, brain dead, and worse. Those words are absorbed into your bodies, our tissue and cells, they don’t go away, they become a part of what makes up who we are, and what wears us down. But they are untrue. We may have bad days, or not get everything right or done perfectly each time, but no one does, those negative labels we place on ourselves stick and push us back, preventing us from moving forward and growing from the place we are. We need to be careful about how we speak to ourselves, we are always listening.
Before I began my journey in recovery I constantly judged myself. Nothing I ever did was good enough. Even when I succeeded at something I would still find something wrong with it, or pass it off as luck. I would never give myself credit for a job well done. And, typically I would set my expectations so high that I was sure to fail and not meet them. The chatter in my head was a constant negative voice that held me down and not only held me back from doing my best, it dragged me lower the sicker I got and told me there was no way out. I, for most of my life, truly believed I wasn’t good enough, and though I would have bursts of self-confidence, my unrealistic expectations would quickly quash that burst and the negative chatter would start again. I felt like I was stuck in a doorless room not able to get out. I wanted to get out, and would search for the door but would get caught up in my negative thinking that would keep me there. When I made the commitment to myself to seek out the help I needed to get better I began to look at my thinking. I realized how my judgment of myself had held me back and had become a form of self-abuse. I would have never let anyone say the things to me that I said to myself, and yet I allowed myself for most of my life to continually say them. Stopping that behavior took some work. I had to learn to forgive myself, first for doing it, but also for all of those things I had judged so harshly. No one gets it right every time, making mistakes or falling short of expectations teaches us, we learn to do things differently and we may learn that we need to look at our expectations and work on preparation instead of just throwing ourselves into things. I began to live myself focusing on progress, not perfection, and I celebrated each bit of that progress, looking for positive affirmations I could say to myself each day. The more I was able to celebrate myself the quieter those negative voices got, and, those harsh things I used to say to myself began to fall away.
We are what we focus on. When we judge ourselves we don’t allow ourselves to grow past where we are. It’s fine to have goals we want to obtain, but make sure you aren’t setting those goals so high that the most likely outcome is that we will fail. Look to set realistic goals and give yourself room to learn and when you don’t get it right, know that it is part of the process to fail on the way to success. We are all works in progress, be kind to yourself and encourage yourself to keep trying, that in itself is a win every time. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you judge yourself harshly? How do you do that? What do you judge? What do you tell yourself? How does that help you? How does that hurt you? How has that held you back? What can you do to stop yourself from doing that? How can you bring more positivity into life? What can you do today to encourage yourself? Celebrate who you are and how far you’ve come. Look for the successes in your life and continue to focus on realistic goals you set for yourself. Go make today a winning day!
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you