It makes me so sad to hear people insult them selves with such nonchalance. I realize that often it’s just a protection mechanism. Regardless it never ceases to amaze me when someone says something jaw-droppingly nasty about him/herself – things they would never say to anyone else.
It’s such a jarring moment. For example, I was at a party Saturday night talking with a beautiful woman. Her hair was long with perfectly flowing waves and the ideal amount of thickness. It framed her face in a way that highlighted her features effortlessly. I’m talking TV-commercial-for-a-shampoo-product kind of hair. I have fine hair, and thus have special admiration for those with lovely quaffed locks. I complimented her, and pointed out how fantastic her hair looked. Since I considered her a confident, well-traveled, smart, strong, career woman with exceptional interpersonal skills, her response surprised me. It went something like this: “Oh no, it’s such a nest.”
What, oh beautiful haired woman? Even you feel the need to react to a compliment with a dis to yourself? I felt empathy for her. What has she experienced that made her instantly jump to the negative? I wanted to shake that response out of her. Instead, I said “Oh no! How can you say that about yourself – your hair is amazing” (a statement immediately reinforced by those who overheard the conversation)? We all discussed the grace of accepting and internalizing a compliment going forward (instead of using the opportunity to put ourselves down). Unfortunately the former is a very common and instinctive reaction!
Why is it so hard to smile and say, “thank you,” or even go so far as to give yourself a pat on the back for something you have been working on such as a health goal, career achievement, improved look or new style?
What is it in ourselves that makes us immediately jump to the negative instead of graciously accepting a positive? What is this self-loathing and where did it come from?
I have a number of friends going through career transitions. Instead of using phrases like “exciting time,” “exploring opportunities,” “transitioning to a new role,” and “evolving,” self-assaulting words dominate the conversation like “stuck,” “old,” “slow,” “unable to learn,” and “unfocused.”
The importance of this distinction is literally the difference between fulfilling a goal and spinning endlessly in what I call “our own chaos.” We create it. We reinforce it. To some degree we need it, but the trick is to control it. By taking control of the conversation in your head, you steer the course of the ship.
The way you think and talk about yourself not only impacts your self-esteem, but also has a direct relation to how others perceive and respond to you, most importantly the universe.
The universe can be an amazing alley, as I’ve written about in previous blogs discussing the “power of positivo”, as well as “activating your angel.” So, for example, if you keep telling the universe that you’re stuck, well guess what happens: yup, you get and stay stuck! If you constantly reinforce how much you hate your thighs (even though they are powerful, help you dance, walk, run, sit, hug, round out your clothes), they will continue to disappoint you.
Instead, approach the conversation with an optimistic and constructive hat on that fabulous head of hair, and note the doors that swing open.
So, right now, please take control of one negative statement that you’re currently reinforcing. First, recognize what is it and acknowledge it. One way to do so is to fill in your blank, such as: I’m stuck/fat/not qualified/too slow/unlovable/distracted/etc. (you get the idea).
Now that you’ve chosen one (self sabotage warning: please do not undertake all at once!), take a moment to reframe the conversation. So instead you might replace the above with: I’m in transition/strong/great at xyz/thoughtful in my approach/full of lovable qualities xyz/excited by many things/etc.
Whatever statement you settle on, make it clear and positive. Share it, say it out loud, write it down – whichever way you choose, just be sure to repeat it to yourself throughout the day. You’ll feel just a bit lighter, happier and definitely be more likely to succeed.
If you need help, feel free to reach out for guidance. In fact, I’m going to work on one as well: Instead of focusing on the things I don’t get done today, I will emphasize all the amazing accomplishments I fulfill instead. Business, personal and social all count! I will reflect every few hours and emotionally pat myself on the back for moving the dial.
Just a slight adjustment in the conversation in your head will change your outcome, and be one more small step toward making a big difference in your life.
With positivity (and a pat on the back),
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™