“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
~ Louise L. Hay
My self-love journey is an ongoing process. On more occasions than I like to remember, my mind imprisons me. I get trapped in all the thoughts. Fear, guilt, shame, anxiety and depression whirl around like a hate hurricane in my head. They’re up there with all the happy thoughts too. But just one little jittery feeling, small doubt, or beautiful Instagram post easily puts me in the throws of these thoughts:
“Why does her life look better than mine?”
“How is it she is so photogenic and I look like an awkward boob when I snap my self-portrait?”
“I’m just not good enough at this writing and blogging thing. I should just give up.”
“I’ll never get my finances in order. I’m hopeless. I’m not worthy of the stuff I do have.”
You get the idea. And I’m sure you have a few of your own that you threw in there after reading my list.
It’s hard to believe that we willingly allow this to happen. I mean, who in their right mind enjoys berating themselves? I’m wagging a finger at myself right now. Life is a miracle, and yet, we choose to wallow in negativity. It becomes such a bad habit that you start to wonder if you’re ever going to see the light again.
You wonder when the last time you treated yourself nicely was. Then, you realize you don’t want to be like “those people” who take their miserableness out on others.
But it’s easy to allow our thoughts to go on negativity autopilot. What you need to remember is that your thoughts are sacred. We are blessed with free will. Every thought we have is a choice. It’s our job not to allow our thoughts to go into a negativity autopilot.
Your thoughts create your reality. They are sacred and powerful.
“The only thing keeping you from what you want is the story you create about why you can’t have it.” ~ Tony Robbins
I’m not new to the “I’m not good enough” thought train. In fact, they pop up a lot more often than I’d like them to. But I’ve defeated them before and know I can do it again. As they say, things get easier the more you practice. So here’s to practicing ditching the “I’m not good enough thoughts.”
Here’s how I deal with thoughts of not being good enough:
Choose your thoughts with purpose and intention.
Keeping your mind from wandering takes effort and intention. I get it. It’s not an easy task keeping your mind in the moment and not on what you’re eating for dinner, or how you’re going to make it through your hour-long spinning class. Thoughts are like a rowboat on a stream. If you’re not mindful of where you’re rowing, you can easily row yourself from a calm stream into raging whitewater rapids. And by that, I mean going from 0 to 60 self-critical thoughts faster than you can snap your fingers.
When my mind is wandering, I do one of two things:
- I’ll bring my awareness back to my surroundings and choose one thing around me to be grateful for. Let’s say I’m driving to my part-time job and my mind is racing on everything I have to do for my blog when I get back home. I’ll bring my awareness to the sunrise and tell myself how grateful I am for a beautiful and sunny day. Instantly, I feel uplifted and connected.
- I stop myself. Yep, this works. I pause the stream of thoughts and ask myself, “Does this really matter?” And, of course, the answer is usually no.
Progress instead of perfection.
This one is for my fellow recovering perfectionists. All too often we get focused on what something should look like. We have a vision for our lives all painted like a masterpiece in our minds, and when one little thing goes off the rails, we burn everything down to the ground.
We forget the beauty in the journey. We forget that progress teaches us so much more than the actual destination.
I’m a visionary, a big picture thinker; it’s the way my mind operates. So it’s natural that I focus too much on the destination. And it can be hard on you. I certainly find it hard. The trick that I’m embracing now is the small steps. I always know the destination and where I want to be, but I find it difficult to plot the small steps in between. It’s one of my weaknesses.
So I make a point of sitting down and focusing on nothing else but figuring out what the small steps should be. Then, I embrace every single one of them with full focus.
Keep an open heart and open mind.
When we open our hearts to curiosity and new ways of thinking or doing things, our minds expand. Potential becomes our power.
I learn this lesson every time I’m at my part-time job. Every time I think there’s only one way to make a drink or put something together, someone I work with shows me a new way. And it works and makes sense.
When I find myself in a moment of “no, no, no, you have to do it this way,” I stop and tell myself: this person has something valuable to share, I’m going to let go of myself and my thinking, and see it from their point of view instead.
Try this next time: get out of your own head and way of doing things and value the other person’s opinion or what they’re trying to show you. Don’t interrupt. Don’t think about what you’re going to say next. Let them fully share their idea.
Be bold and truthful.
If you’re depressed or in a fear-based mindset, it can be challenging to let go of that pattern. When you’ve been berating yourself with a negativity parade for so long, it can be hard to accept the truth, or when well-meaning family and friends try to tell you things will be okay or that you are enough. Your mind struggles with that reality. When you feel as though everything has crumbled, it can be hard to accept people trying to change you or trying to make things better for you.
It’s at these low points when you need to tell yourself: I am willing to change. You have to be ready to be honest with yourself and open the door to change. When you’re locked in a mindset of fear, guilt, anxiety or that you’re not good enough, others (and you) can tell you to change night and day, but until you’re ready to be bold and step up to the truth, not much will change.
The best thing I’ve done for my depression, fear, anxiety or feeling like I’m not good enough is to tell myself, “I am willing to change.” I get bold in the face of fear or not enoughness and transform it through knowing I have willpower, discipline and the ability to change myself and my thoughts.
So the next time you’re facing down depression or comparisonitis, tell yourself these two things: 1. I am willing to change and 2. I am grateful for my ability to change my life and my thoughts.
Choose the hard path, not the easy one.
Mindfulness, living with intention and embracing minimalism is not easy. They are the hard path. By choosing difficult, you live your life on purpose. You’re choosing what is important to you. Misery, mediocre and boring melt away.
Say it with me — I AM FEARLESS! Sure, I get it, when you’re in a place of darkness or feeling less than, it can be tough to tell yourself that you’re fearless. After all, fear has taken over your thinking. That’s how you got to that place of feeling you’re not good enough.
But by telling yourself you’re fearless; little by little, you’ll begin to believe it. And the simple act of believing it will make it happen.
When I get stuck in a place of fear, comparisonitis, or feeling as though I’m no expert at anything, I say to myself; I AM FEARLESS. I AM LIVING MY OWN LIFE. And when I say it, I put belief, strength, and faith behind it. It’s like giving yourself an “I’ve got this” pat on the back.
Always be curious.
Always know that there is more than one way to do something. Question everything. Being curious keeps you humble. And instead of feeling less than, it focuses your mind on learning something new.
When I’m feeling a moment of being less than, I’ll ask myself: what can I learn from this?
You’ll go from feeling inadequate to knowing you can learn whatever you need to.
Be the unconventional you and revel in your authenticity.
Every day we’re bombarded with how life should progress, what to wear, what to say, and essentially who to be. For lack of a better word, a mould. Or conforming. But who says you have to do that? Especially if doing so makes you feel like you’re not living authentically.
When I hold who I am back from others, I feel off. It’s a hard feeling to explain. It’s like my gut is telling me I’m in violation of an internal value I hold dear. When I feel uncomfortable, I know it means I have to speak up about something or that the person I’m with is making me feel that way.
When I feel as though I’m going against who I am, I remind myself that we all have a unique way of speaking. We have our own voice and set of values. I’ll pause and listen to my mind. I’ll internally ask myself: why is this bothering me?
I hope these steps will help you if you’re in a place of feeling less than. I want you to know that I’ve been there and I’m going through it again now. I understand what it feels like to lose faith and feel as though you’re not good enough. But what I do know is that you can and will overcome it. You will come through it one small step at a time. Go easy on yourself and love who you are. You weren’t put here to be anybody else but you.
Believe in yourself and have faith. There’s only one you.