9 self-defeating things we say to ourselves

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AloneI called myself names the other day. It didn’t happen on purpose but I was a repeat offender. This wasn’t my first time. This time, something was different: I was conscious about it. I heard myself say it and it made me feel funny. I remember thinking: Why did I just say that? Being more self-conscious about it made me realize that I actually self-defeat often! I realized it was triggered by the smallest mistakes. For instance, if I forgot the grocery list when I got to the store I would say: “How dumb?!” If I dropped my morning cream (which splattered on my mirror, my sink and my floor the one day I am late for work) I’d say: “Ergh. I am so clumsy!” The winner of them all is the one day of the week I can’t find anything to wear and everything makes me look “Fat”.  Then I thought, deep down inside, do I actually believe this about myself? Nope. I don’t believe I am dumb, clumsy or fat. Yet, day to day, I still find ways to call myself names. Why do I do that? Why do WE do that? Realistically, I wouldn’t allow anyone to criticize me but I do it to myself? Weird!
I am glad I was conscious about it because it made me think a lot. I mean, all these years, I was subconsciously persuading myself of negative things that are not even true.  See the brain is a powerful machine. Every negative word you say is recorded and results into negative action. See, every time I said “I am dumb” my brain made me do dumb things. “I am clumsy” translated into doing clumsy things. “I am fat”…although I appreciate the preferred customer status at the Gap, made me throw out a bunch of pants I actually really liked. Might sound cliché but it is actually really powerful stuff.
To help you see if you do it too, I have put together a list of the most commons self-defeating things we say to ourselves. Hopefully you are more conscious about it.
Here they are:
  1. I should be a better (more competent, etc) person.
  2. I can’t do it.
  3. I’m a failure if I don’t get there within X amount of time.
  4. I’ll never be any different.
  5. The classics: I’m not (smart, thin, pretty, outgoing…) enough.
  6. It’s too stressful to handle.
  7. I’m such a pig.
  8. I’m not good enough yet.
  9. I am alone.

Love myselfWhat should you do about it? 

1. First step: Realize that you are doing it. Catching yourself is the first main step in stopping the automated behavior.

2. Second step: Realize what you just said. What exactly did you say? Was it something about your physique or your skills? Label it so you can understand the patterns. This will help you notice what triggered it.

3. Third step: Say it loud but with less importance. For example: “I just said I am so clumsy” …. ” By realizing it and revisiting your negative comment your brain will automatically label it as a thought and place less importance on it.

4. Fourth step: Breathe and proceed with your day.

To worry about your future. To feel strong emotions after a breakup. To want to just throw everything out the window and start over. To be afraid to take risks and chances. Those are all normal things that anyone can relate to. It doesn’t mean you are alone or incapable of overcoming new challenges, it just means you are human and you need more time. That’s YOUR way of doing things and its OK.

If you are asking yourself: Will all this do any good? The answer is YES. Ok fine, you won’t be a positive thinker overnight because it takes time and practice but in the end, you will treat yourself better. In the future, this will lead you to better relationships with not only yourself but with others. Soon enough, you should notice you have better energy and how it impacts the people around you.

Think about it: If you don’t love yourself, how can you love others?

Be good and do good to yourself.


P.S.: Care to share? What kind of negative self-talk do you engage with yourself?

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