You’re too hard on yourself. I know you are, because if you weren’t, you wouldn’t even be reading this right now. Sometimes in our lives we come across sources of negativity that spew hateful thoughts onto us constantly. That negativity comes in the form of people in our lives who shine a light on our flaws, the media-driven image of perfection, and our own imperfect tendency to talk down to ourselves. We take in all of this and let those thoughts manifest into this jerk inside our heads. This jerk tells us when we aren’t good enough, reminds us of our failures, and likes to kick us when we are down.
What really sucks about the whole thing is that we allowed this jerk to move into our heads—in fact, we created it. We run around and beg for people to see us perfectly, desperately trying to prove ourselves to anyone who will give us the time of day. All the while, there is this voice in our heads telling us everything we don’t need to hear.
The truth is that your inner voice can be a massive liar. It is a reflection of what we allow. If we allow someone close to us to point out our mistakes and bring us down, our inner voice thinks they are right. If we allow ourselves to compare our lives to what we see on TV and social media, our inner voice thinks we are inadequate. We train our inner voice daily based on our actions and what we allow ourselves to dwell on. Taking criticism very personally and believing every negative thought about ourselves just feeds negativity into our inner voice. Before we know it, we can’t see the good in ourselves.
It’s important to cut yourself some slack. We have to consistently try to replace negative self-thinking with positive ideas. For example, your inner voice might say, Hey, remember that time you failed in front of everyone? They probably still think about it all the time. Instead, try to turn that thought into something more like, I’m so glad I finally learned my lesson from that. People have probably moved on from thinking about it, so I should too. It’s definitely easier said than done. However, it’s not some overnight switch that will fix everything right away. It’s a gradual change that takes a lot of work and self-awareness.
We also need to take an honest look at the people around us. When you accomplish something, make note of who is happy for you, and I mean genuinely happy. There are always going to be outside influences that disguise themselves as friends. Really, though, if someone isn’t cheering for your success, they’re not your friend. If you allow people into your life that are waiting for you to fail, your inner voice is going to take their uncertainty and turn it into more hateful self-doubt. You are absolutely not doing yourself any favors by keeping fake people close to you, so cut them loose.
Another way we can help our inner voice is by being totally realistic about the world around us. When we see so-called perfection everywhere, dig deeper and realize that not everything is what it seems. That body you are comparing yourself to is likely highly photoshopped. That “perfect” couple you envy might be really great at taking photos, but they might not be great at making each other happy. Stop trying to make yourself measure up to every influence that you see. If a picture is worth a thousand words, most likely at least one of those words is “bullshit”. You are smart enough and capable enough to see through the facade and realize that you are enough. If necessary, cut out extra exposure to all of the nonsense. Social media can be a trigger, so if it is just that for you, limit your time online. Watch something else besides reality TV. Invest more time into yourself and less time into seeing what everyone else is up to.
There is not a single person on the planet that you will speak to more than yourself, even if it’s not out loud. The way we speak to ourselves has a huge impact on our own happiness and success. So with that in mind, let’s try to be nice to ourselves for a change. Despite all the negativity in the world, we can be our own safe haven that builds up more than it tears us down. Mute out all of the noise and know that you are doing just fine, regardless of what anyone else says, even yourself.