When we tell ourselves we can’t do something, we are usually right. Not because we are not capable, but because we have convinced ourselves that we can’t. We are usually our harshest critic.
My daughter was the victim of bullying in middle school. I was shocked and appalled at the cruel things that some of the girls in her school were saying. I did not understand how anyone could speak to another person that unkindly. And then one day, I caught myself “being mean” to me. I was struggling with a project, had missed a deadline and started berating myself for not being smart enough, driven enough, organized enough, blah, blah, blah. Of course, once I started the negative self-talk it quickly spiralled out of control. If only I was taller, younger, older prettier … well, you get the picture.
At that point I realized that I had spent way too much time and energy finding fault with myself and instead needed to start giving myself the pep talks I regularly gave my daughter. I needed to learn how to shut off that negative voice and replace it with positive messaging.
Negative self-talk is by far a larger contributor to failure than lack of knowledge or experience. The next time you find yourself doubting yourself, calling yourself down or focusing on the reasons why you think you can’t … stop …. and toot your own horn.
“What we think, we become.” – Buddha
NOTE: This is a slightly revised re-post of one of my first blogs. In the last week, the theme of positive self-talk has come up in so many conversations, with so many different people, that I thought I would bring this back up again. I encourage you to shut that negative voice down, to be kind and gentle to yourself. Go ahead and work hard to enhance skills, but don’t devalue the skills, the knowledge that you have right now.