Your inner dialog is a powerful thing. If you had a friend who constantly told you that you weren’t good enough, that you were going to make a fool out of yourself, and you were never going to be considered for that promotion you’ve been working so hard for, you would “unfriend” them real fast. So why is it that we allow ourselves to repeat these things in our head all of the time and simply accept it?
Your thoughts influence not only how you feel about yourself, but they directly relate to the way you portray yourself to the world. Telling yourself that you aren’t good enough to be promoted will cause you to portray a lack of confidence in the workplace. Telling yourself that you’re terrible in social situations as you walk into one may cause you to be shut off and become unapproachable. Being critical of yourself is normal and unavoidable, but being able to develop a proactive dialog with yourself rather than a self-destructive one will help you grow!
We get so used to that nagging voice in the back of our mind that it’s easy to forget we’re the ones that control it. Take notice of what you’re saying to yourself. Mindfully discern the difference between the positive criticism you’re giving yourself and the negative exaggerated thoughts. For example, if you’re at a networking event and find yourself letting conversations die and not confidently speaking up, it’s okay to think, “I should have asked another question there and I will next time.” However, it’s harming to think, “I just came off like a complete idiot and no one else is going to want to talk to me.”
Be Your Own Friend
When your best friend asks you for advice, you give them honest and encouraging feedback. You don’t tell them that they’re worthless, unlovable, and stupid. This is because you respect and love your friend and above all else, those negative things are simply untrue. The same goes for you! You are awesome, brilliant, and worthy. You need to treat yourself the same way you would a beloved friend, even when you make mistakes and fall short.
Keep It Real
We all mess up, have off days, and make a blunder or two. We’re human beings and mistakes are just a part of life. Learning to view the reality of those mistakes rather than exaggerating them in our minds to the point of madness is necessary for growth. Rather than allowing yourself to listen to a broken record of “I never do anything right,” be honest with yourself about what you’ve done wrong so that you can correct it. Being more rational about your mistakes will help you overcome them quickly and minimize any negative effect they may have. If you quickly skimmed over your daily schedule and ended up missing a meeting you were supposed to attend, learn from the mistake and take your time so you do not repeat it. Judging ourselves harshly and blowing our shortcomings out of proportion doesn’t help us to fix them in the future.
There’s always room for improvement. Telling yourself that the work can be better and that you could have given a little more effort is an honest evaluation, and it’s an evaluation that you can grow from and use to fuel yourself on your next project. Definitively telling yourself that you’ll never be good enough leaves no room for improvement. Be honest with yourself so that you can accept your flaws and work to better them. It’s okay to accept the fact that you aren’t entirely comfortable in social situations, as long as you challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone and work on it. Honestly acknowledge your imperfections so they don’t own you. Your inner dialog can be incredibly powerful or detrimentally damaging, and you’re the only one with the power to decide which it will be!
featured image credit: Stock That Rocks