Raise your hand if you have been personally victimized by Regina George.
Okay, now raise your hand if you have been personally victimized by YOU.
Your hand is probably up by now.
I know for sure mine is.
We are seriously all too hard on ourselves. Every single day. Scratch that. Every single minute. From our clothes to our make-up, to second guessing what we said to someone three days ago, we all spend too much time obsessing over what we could do “better.”
So what does better really mean anymore? I have a feeling that we will always be too hard on ourselves, and that once we achieve this said “better,” we’ll just keep pushing for even better. So there will always be another “better.”
The key word here is “better,” if you didn’t catch on yet.
We have a lot of trouble with being proud of ourselves, let alone being even just content with ourselves. And the truth of the matter is, it really doesn’t benefit us in the long run to constantly be telling ourselves that we aren’t living up to our own expectations.
It’s always good to push yourself. It’s always important to have goals, dreams, and aspirations. These keep us going in life! They keep us motivated and excited. They energize us. But the problem comes when we push too hard, and when we keep moving our destination point to something more.
The problem comes when we nitpick ourselves on little details of life. It comes when we put ourselves down for unnecessary reasons. The problem comes when we forget to compliment ourselves, and forget to have pride in all of the great things that we do every single minute of every single day.
Essentially, we all really need to learn how to be content with ourselves. We need to pay some respect to how many things we are doing; how many accomplishments we are reaching all the time. And, As corny as it sounds, we honestly need to learn how to befriend ourselves. We need to learn how valuable we are as people, despite our successes or shortcomings. We need to learn how to like ourselves every single day, without basing it on what we do or do not accomplish, on how we look that day, on how many friends we have or on how many coworkers we get along well with.
The truth is, we are SO much harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. We are our own worst critics, but not our own best supporters. And because we don’t celebrate our victories, or just celebrate being alive, we forget to value ourselves We forget to be on our own team. And we don’t even realize how many people admire us, or how many people care about us because we are so insecure and are so used to putting ourselves down.
I mean, think about it. If your friend comes to work with a few zits scattered across her face, do you really, truly care that much? If she’s distressed by them, you will probably feel compassion for her. But if you just see some zits on her face, you probably barely even notice. But when you spend an hour putting on your foundation and concealer to carefully hide your blemishes, you may go to work feeling ugly and small, and not want anyone to look closely at your face. Or when you get one of those big mountainous zits right on your chin, one of those zits that almost shouts about its presence to make sure noone misses it, you might seriously feel like your whole day is ruined. You’ll feel like doing your hair and makeup and trying to look cute is barely even worth it because you have this giant zit and that’s all anyone is going to notice. NEWS FLASH: no one cares about your zit. Sure, they might notice it, but it doesn’t change their perspective of you. It doesn’t affect their day. It barely draws any of their attention.. Yet you, on the other hand, obsess over it all day, feel bad about yourself, and feel insecure. This doesn’t seem right, does it? It doesn’t seem fair!
Same goes for your bloated stomach. You look in the mirror and see a baby bump. You change into 10 different shirts, settling with something black to hide your bump. Then all day, you feel self conscious that others will notice your bloated stomach pudge. NEWS FLASH: no one is looking at your stomach, let alone caring about what your stomach does or doesn’t look like. No one is that critical of you…except for you.
Maybe you’re also the type of person who has social anxiety and literally who literally obsesses over something you said nonchalantly to a coworker 2 days ago. That’s over 48 hours ago. You’re still being hard on yourself about something trivial that you mentioned that they probably didn’t even pick up on. And if they did pick up on it, they didn’t say anything. So they probably weren’t that offended, unsettled, uncomfortable, or shocked by whatever it is that you said. You’re holding yourself to impossible standards.
The moral of these situations is that you are being WAY too hard on yourself. You’re caring so much about things that are trivial in comparison to how valuable you are as a person. You’re beating yourself up over very tiny factors of your day or life, and you’re letting them ruin your day and bring down your self esteem.
And we all do this. You’re not alone. We think the little things are SO important. We hyperfocus on anything that causes us anxiety, and we put ourselves down for things that don’t even impact who we are as human beings. We become so concerned with being the best that we can, that we end up constantly insulting ourselves. And this leads to negative self esteem. And sadness. And anxiety. And more anxiety.
This brings me to believe that we all need to be a little more gentle with ourselves. We all need to start to realize that we are doing the best we can, no matter what it looks like to us or to others. We are all trying to succeed. We are all trying to be good people. And we all want to be liked and admired – that’s just the truth. But I think we have to understand that our “flaws” or our “mistakes” don’t mean that we aren’t living up to our greatest potential. They don’t hold us back nearly as much as we think they do.
We need to start complimenting ourselves. We need to start keeping track of all of our accomplishments rather than focusing solely on our shortcomings (which probably aren’t even shortcomings).
Next time you have a zit, brush it off. So what. It’s no big deal. It’ll go away in a few days. Your friends won’t mind it. Your boyfriend or your girlfriend or the guy you’re trying to impress aren’t going to suddenly stop liking you because you have a zit. It’s a zit.
And if you gain or lose a few pounds, who cares? No one besides you will even notice. If your hair is a mess or your makeup looks a little off, do you really think anyone is going to comment? Or think any less of you?
And even more importantly, stop pushing your goals even further and further into the distance. Stop making them bigger without valuing the successes along the way. You are human. You can’t always be superhuman. So appreciate the small stuff. Celebrate the accomplishments as you go, rather than constantly moving towards the next step.
And next time you experience limiting beliefs, get out a piece of paper and write down all of the good stuff. Write down all of the things you are capable of, all of the things you admire about yourself. Make a list of all of the little accomplishments you’ve achieved this week, and remember that the small things are important. The should be valued. When you’re not so critical of yourself, you’ll soon start to realize that you really aren’t doing all that bad in life. And in fact, you’re actually probably doing pretty good.
So no more of this unnecessary nonsense – no more belittling yourself. Fight back against your limiting beliefs. It’s time to be proud of yourself. It’s time to finally befriend yourself.