You’re not good enough.
You’re not smart enough.
You’re not wanted.
There’s a mean girl living in my brain, and all she does is speak negativity on repeat. There are times her voice is louder than others, but try as I may to ignore her, she doesn’t seem to go away. Even one of my girlfriends who I view to be one of the most confident women — who holds her head high and makes decisions without second-guessing — has admitted to me she has her own personal Neuro Negative Nancy. These voices of negativity are holding us back, it’s time that we figure out how to quiet them.
I have recently heard a buzz about people using positive self-talk to improve their confidence and self-worth and that it was actually quite effective. So the LIY team and I [this is Becca, by the way] decided to give it a try. Below you will find the experiences of three women, taking three different approaches to self-affirmation and honest thoughts on how practicing positivity affected our mental spaces. It’s our hope that you will take a look at our experiences and that it might inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and give a new mental health habit a try. Mental Space: High Expectations
I hold myself to inordinately high standards. I expect myself to do the right thing in all situations, and any falling short of that means beating myself up for weeks, months or even years to come depending on how big I fail. I expect myself to succeed at work, at home, and well, actually in all situations. And when I let others down, it is an extra hard dose of self-loathing. My head knows that everyone makes mistakes and it’s impossible for me to expect perfection out of myself, but still I continue to hear that inner voice of “Why did I do that?”, “How could I say that?!”, “I am such a failure” or “I’ll never be good/smart/pretty/disciplined enough.”
I wrote some mantras, so to speak, on post-it-notes and stuck them to my bathroom mirror. Each day when I found a moment to myself, I would look myself in the eyes and tell myself out loud that my loved ones don’t expect me to be perfect, and that I can’t expect myself to be perfect either. I would sometimes say something that I was currently kicking myself for and verbalize that I forgave myself. To be honest, this was pretty uncomfortable, especially at first. I felt a bit like I was an actor memorizing lines because I am so uncomfortable with saying positive and encouraging things to myself.
I’m Steph, and I’m a self-rejecter. That’s right, SELF-rejecter. I am so blessed to be surrounded by loving, supportive people yet constantly in social situations I feed myself lie after lie of not being accepted. “Don’t offer up your ideas, no one will like them.” “You’re not as _______ as everyone here, you don’t fit it” [You can pretty much fill in that blank with anything, unfortunately, that thought happens a lot!]. The only person treating me that way is me. In fact, if someone else said things like that to me I would respectfully yet emotionally distance myself from them because I don’t deserve to be treated that way – No one does. So why do I allow myself to treat me that way? The self-rejection stops now.