I wish I had a nickel for every time I've said this to myself over the course of my life.
Thankfully, because of the work I've been doing to change my brain, I almost never do anymore but it's still something I hear other people say about themselves every single day.
If you're one of them, two things:
I'd be willing to bet there's something (or many things) not working in your life right now and...
It's precisely because you're telling yourself things like this that it's not working
The things we tell ourselves about ourselves, determine our results and our lives.
Let's look at weight loss attempts since that's my niche.
You start trying to lose weight and it's really hard. You struggle, you "fall off track" every second day, maybe you even binge.
I've never met a single person who has struggled with their weight and that endless cycle who has a nurturing self-narrative running in their heads. When we struggle with things like that, we're not compassionate and kind to ourselves.
Nope, we pick up the metaphorical whip and start beating the hell out of ourselves for it.
And how do those thoughts make us feel? Do they inspire change? Do they make us want to "do better" next time and magically make us confident, sure of ourselves and successful?
Ha. Nope! Just the opposite.
They make us feel terrible about ourselves and usually consumed with shame. They make us believe we're bad and not worthy of goodness or success.
And that makes us self-sabotage.
Try this little experiment: go to a mirror, look in it and just listen to your thoughts for a second.
What are they saying to you about the image you see staring back at you? Write them down.
How does it make you feel? Write it down.
What do you typically do when you feel that way? Write down some things you can think of that you've done in the past when you feel that way. (Eg. when I feel like I suck, I go straight for the bag of potato chips)
I guarantee if you do this little experiment and start noticing the pattern between the words you speak to yourself, the emotions those words create and the actions that follow, you'll almost never notice yourself wanting to be good to yourself or make a productive choice for yourself.
It's really hard to value ourselves when we're criticizing ourselves all day and it's really hard to make nurturing choices for something we don't value.
When you're done that exercise, walk away from the mirror for a minute. No matter how badly you felt, go have a glass of water with the intention of being kind to your body. Take a deep, intentional breath, smile, congratulate yourself for getting the glass of water and then go back to the mirror.
Now smile again and find one thing you like. Tell yourself that you're amazing, you're winning at life, you're talented, brilliant, capable of anything, and you deserve all the goodness life has to offer, including love (from others and yourself). Write down as many positive, self affirming statements as you can muster.
How do those thoughts make you feel? Write it down. (Note/disclaimer: you should feel good and notice a big difference in how you feel when you make this switch but that's not always the case. If you notice those thoughts make you feel weird and uncomfortable, I feel ya. That was me. I struggled for years to find good things to say to myself and when I first started trying, it didn't feel good, at first. It felt forced, wrong, stupid and like I was lying to myself. But that was a huge indication of just how damaged my relationship with me really was. It took me time to get to the point that it felt good to be nice to myself in my head so if this experience feels weird, rather than good, don't worry. It's a sign of how badly you need to heal your relationship with yourself.)
Compare the difference in how you felt which each experiment and from now on pay attention to the things you're saying to yourself, how they're making you feel and what actions you're taking when you feel that way.
We create the outcome we believe we deserve.
You don't suck. It's just a story you're telling yourself based on an old (destructive) thought pattern and it's a pattern that's creating your results.
This is about more than just deciding to "think positively" -- that's kind of naive and incomplete advice. It's about evaluating and analyzing the impact your thoughts and stories have on you, learning which ones are contributing to your growth and success, and which ones aren't so you can decide which you engage and which you allow to simply float past without having any affect on you.
Need some help navigating exactly how to do all that? Reach out to me here.