I used to have a very bad habit of beating myself up. If I didn’t meet a goal I’d set for myself or if I didn’t perform as well as I had hoped, the negative voices would start. “Goodness! And people actually think you’re smart.” “You can’t do any better than that?” “Just look at you!”
Then, I was talking to a friend after a particularly bad day and she said something remarkable. She said something that literally changed my life. She said, “If you talked to your friends the way you talk to yourself, you wouldn’t have any friends.”
She was right. I go out of my way to be positive and kind to my friends, co-workers … and even strangers, but I was unable to extend that same basic courtesy and kindness to myself.
It was at that point that I started really observing how I talked to myself. It was shocking and I knew it had to change. So when the negative self-talk would start, I’d start talking back. “No, I’m not an idiot.” “I made a mistake, these things happen.”
On several occasions, I even broke out the pen and the pad and wrote out what I liked about myself or all the reasons why I wasn’t an idiot. And it took some time but it began to work.
I can’t say that I never have a negative thought or that I never throw myself a good old fashioned pity party, but it happens now a lot less frequently and when it does happen it doesn’t happen for as long.