Through life, you’re going to meet people who will knock you down. Sometimes, they are good people, and sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes, they are angry and quick to judge, or sometimes you just caught them on a bad day. Sometimes, they just suck in that moment, and you were an unfortunate bystander. No matter what, they will take it out on you, they will tell you that you aren’t good enough and tear you down.
When I was just a kid, I would take in these situations on emotional, physical and intellectual levels. I believed almost everything what was thrown at me. That’s different now. What has changed? Now, I would acknowledge it — I would allow it to sting, but I would not accept it as my truth. I stopped putting myself down with negative self-talk.
And do you know what drove me? People telling me I’m not good enough. There is something about when people telling you can’t do something. It just lights my competitive fire, drives me to take risks, and opens me up to new opportunities.
“At your absolute best, you still won’t be good enough for the wrong person. At your worst, you’ll still be worth it to the right person.” — Karen Salmansohn
However, the mind can be very convincing sometimes. Here are three reminders that I remind myself of whenever I find myself in a state of negative self-talking.
1. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
I believe I stopped comparing myself to others around the age of 20. I was reading the book ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle, at my favorite café at that time. This book, which is about wanting to increase one’s personal happiness and decrease one’s tendency towards self-destruction, changed my life completely.
I wanted and decided to increase my personal happiness by being more open about my insecurities with close friends, which I sometimes compare myself to the qualities they have. It felt good to acknowledge my insecurities and I was relieved my friends understood me. In return, they caught me by surprise by opening up to me too about their insecurities. They compared themselves to others as well and even with my qualities.
It was then I knew, we all compare ourselves to other people. There’s an infinite number of qualities and a nearly infinite number of people to compare ourselves to. Once we start going down that road, we’ll never find an end. Especially when taking a strength of someone and compare it to your weakness. How do you think you’d size up?
When I started looking at my friends and other people through a lens of equality and understanding, instead of jealousy and judgments, I was able to see them for who they are as a human being. And this might not sound what you wanted to hear, but I learned to love being enough.
If you always want to be who others are, you’ll never be good enough. You’ll always want more. That’s an endless cycle, and it will never lead to personal happiness. Instead, realize that who you are and what you have is already enough. If you have people who love you for who you are, why can’t you? You are enough. Be good with that and you’ll find personal happiness like I have.
2. There Is More Right Than Wrong With You
It’s easy to lose sight of what’s right with us. In my case, when something good happened, I didn’t celebrate it and so I don’t take it in. And if I did, it’s often just momentary. And yet I was obsessed about things that bothered me. It was the looped thought of wanting to change that became a habit of mine. That was until I got inspired by this quote:
“As long as you are breathing, there is more right with you than there is wrong, no matter how ill or how hopeless you may feel.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn
For me, this is such a powerful reminder, and I hope this will also be one for as well. I sometimes tend to zoom in on all my perceived flaws. This quote helps to remember that there’s a lot of things I like about myself too. And the reality is, that there is often more right than wrong with our lives. It’s not a perfect world, but there’s a lot of beauty, if only we’re willing to see and appreciate it.
Just look around you and choose to see the good things. Don’t let the small things that went wrong distract you from your pleasure. Pleasure and joy are what happens to you when you allow yourself to see how good things really are.
3. Change Happens After Accepting Where You Are Now
What I learned about making changes and reaching that next chapter in my life, is that I cannot fully feel satisfied with where I was going, until I can accept and appreciate where I am now. Traces of the past will keep lasting in the back of my mind, which keeps me chained away from making any changes.
When I left the responsibility of change to my future self in order to feel safe now, I was storing up more and more problems for me to deal with at a later date. For change to take place and to start living the life that I wanted, I had to start living for the today.
“What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to something that already is?”– Eckhart Tolle
When I released resistance towards the way things are, I created space for many more opportunities. Letting go of my “should” is the most powerful way how I changed my life.