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4 Reasons to Stop Beating Yourself Up

4 Reasons to Stop Beating Yourself Up

We all get down on ourselves once in a while. It is a natural human instinct and can serve as a good motivation booster. Unfortunately, there are many who live daily with the notion that they will never be good enough. It is a crippling feeling that can affect any type of person from the most unsuccessful to the most successful. And why?

There are a million and one answers to that question and it varies from person to person. Much of the time, it is probably the way an individual learned to organize and filter their existence from a young age. It could have developed later after much failure and hardship. Who can say? It also doesn’t help that we live in a society that glorifies excessive beauty, wealth, and power. We are bombarded with a constant stream of media that tells us we need to be better in every way.

In the face of such powerful forces, it can be difficult to learn how to counteract the inevitable negativity those forces instigate. However, I think it is important not to view it as a struggle. Instead, we must examine why we feel such things. So without further ado, here are some things to think about when coping with negative self-worth.

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1. You are a super intelligent being

being intelligent is sexy

    Maybe some of you are thinking, “No that’s not me, I didn’t go to college, I didn’t even go to high school. I don’t know anything about anything.” Pish posh. Education is no measurement of intelligence. Even the most “unintelligent” (I use that word grudgingly) human being is smarter than any other creature on this planet. The point is that every person has the capacity to learn. Furthermore, it is not the things you learn, or even the things you are good at that make you intelligent. It is the ability to choose to do those things. It is human will. We all have it.

    So maybe you’ll never be an astro-physicist. My guess is there is something (or many things) that you enjoy; something that no one else can do quite the way you do. Maybe you don’t know what that is yet. So start looking, and don’t stop until you find that thing. Then, it is up to you to use that incredible gift of intelligence and make the choice to pursue your endeavors.

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    2. You are your own worst enemy

    own enemy

      Those of you who immediately doubted your own intelligence while reading number 1, this one’s for you. Who said you’re not intelligent? Who said you can’t do this or that? You did. Sure, somewhere down the road we’ve all been told by one person or another, whether by suggestion or actual words, that we are not good enough. So what? At the end of the day, you get to make that call, and only you.

      Too often, we forget that we are in charge of our existence. We let ourselves be swayed by the opinions and biases of our parents, friends, partners, and sometimes even strangers. Understand, I’m not endorsing delusional behavior. Sometimes we want to have or do something so badly, but for the wrong reasons. It is up to us to reflect upon and examine why we want the things we want, and why we do the things we do. Only then do we see that we can in fact be our own worst enemies by letting ourselves get pulled into what others want for us, rather than what we truly desire.

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      3. You’re all you’ve got

      Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 11.20.33 AM

        Of course I don’t mean that you are alone in this life. We are all in this together. Yet, when it comes down to it, only you, the individual, have the power to give meaning to your life. Yes, there can be people, things, and endeavors that bring you great joy and value, but you are the one who chooses to bring those things into your life. And ultimately, it is your reaction to, and what you learn from those forces that ascribe meaning to your existence.

        Your reality is your own. The way you experience things is a manifestation of everything that’s going on inside. It all comes back to the individual. In acknowledging our patterns of thought, emotion, and action, we get to know ourselves better. We learn to be friends with ourselves, and realize that we are the only ones who can change our reality for the better.

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        4. The pains of youth are not your fault

        Sometimes all of the above thoughts don’t quite cut it. Sometimes we need to dig a little deeper. An unfortunate fact of life is that many of us harbor feelings of extreme inadequacy based upon things that happened (or didn’t happen) when we were growing up under our guardian’s roof. Many may not even realize that their anger, sorrow, and anxiety stem from this incredibly pertinent time in their lives.

        If you are still living with childhood pain, it must be acknowledged and worked through. Maybe you’ve always blamed yourself for your parents’ divorce. Maybe you’ve lived with the notion that you don’t deserve love or attention because you never received any from your guardians. Maybe it’s much worse than either of those examples.

        In any case, you must understand that whatever it is for which you are blaming yourself, it is not your fault. How could it be? A child knows no better. Our little minds are only partially developed then. We only want one thing: the love and affection of our guardians. If we don’t get what we need and deserve, how else are we suppose to feel but unimportant and worthless?

        If you are an adult dealing with these issues, remember that it is not about casting blame. It is about acknowledging that you are responsible for your own well being now, and that you deserve to take care of yourself. Of course, we don’t just wake up one day and start doing this. It will only happen with intense therapy, self-reflection or a combination of the two. It is up to each of us to take that step.

        Final Thoughts

        The next time you are feeling the pangs of self-loathing, try to think or, better yet, feel your incredible potential as a human being. It may not work the first time or even the tenth time, but make a habit of shifting your thoughts from the negative to the positive, and you will begin to alter those patterns.

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        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        The Gentle Art of Saying No

        No!

        It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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        But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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        What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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        But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

        1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
        2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
        3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
        4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
        5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
        6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
        7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
        8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
        9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
        10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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