“You’re so stupid.”
“You’re never going to accomplish anything.”
“You’re too awkward.”
Would you say any of these things to your friend or even a complete stranger? No. So why do we think it’s okay to say these things to ourselves??
In our results based society, we’re encouraged to be the best, have a successful career and a perfectly curated Instagram feed. With all of these unachievable goals projected upon us through social media, it’s so easy to compare yourself to the girl next door or even a woman who lives in another country.
These comparisons and insecurities can cause the root of the self-talk problems we face every day. It’s estimated that we have up to 51,000 thoughts in a day; some are said out loud, but most are communicated subconsciously in our heads. The majority of these thoughts, for me, are negative.
In a book my small group is reading, our self-talk is metaphorically described as the closet in your home. When you outgrow clothes, they no longer fit you or serve you well, you simply get rid of them. With thoughts, though, you can never really get rid of the ones that aren’t meaningful or kind to your psyche.
I never realized how negative my metaphorical “thought closet” was until I was asked to relay the 5 thoughts I had about myself. I quickly came up with: controlling, hardworking, stressed, sensitive and small. Only one out of the five was kind to myself, and somehow I wonder why my attitude remains negative by default.
Most likely, because the thoughts that fill my head are those of unworthiness, self-doubt and vulnerability. If you’re not kind to yourself, how can you expect to lead a truly happy life? It takes real, intentional work to dispel the lies we tell ourselves day after day, year after year. Recognizing when you’re being unkind to yourself is the first step to realizing just how large of a problem our self-talk is.
When you can pinpoint when you’re making comments to yourself such as, “She’s so much prettier than me,” “He has it all together,” or “I’m such an idiot,” you can flip the script and focus on the positive. Our paths were not designed to follow each other. Each of our journeys serves a separate purpose in our individual lives. When you look at another person’s life with envy, you’re discounting the journey your life is supposed to be following. I can assure you that your path will be meaningful and bring you joy, even if it looks different than what you thought it would be.
When you’re feeling down about your appearance, realize that you are made to look a certain way because you are part of an ingenious design, and God does not make mistakes. If you’re feeling less than, realize that your worth doesn’t fall in earthly materialistic goods, but in the love you share with yourself and others. If you think you’ll never accomplish anything, remember where you are and how you got there. “‘You all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you, that’s why you’re here, in college. I want you to know that it’s okay if you only save one person, and it’s okay if that person is you.'”
Cut yourself some slack every once in a while. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt like you do for everyone else. Realize that everyone makes mistakes and failing that test does not define you or the course of your life.
Healthy self-talk is so important in the role of taking care of yourself, but it’s the easiest to overlook or belittle. You might not even realize how much damage you’re doing to yourself, but know that you can always transform your thoughts and treat yourself more kindly.
You are worthy. You are beautiful. You are kind. You are important. You are not stupid. Your life is not meaningless. You are not the opinion of others. Your story is your own, whatever that might look like.
Please, be kind to yourself. If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, don’t feed yourself the same lie.