As you know my 4-week-challenge this week is positive post-it notes. They are everywhere! On my mirror, my wall, my kitchen cupboard and my computer. Everywhere I look there is a smiley face, positive statement or just a funny silly drawing. I wont go too much into it as this is next weeks’ blog but its been really interesting.
The reason I started this 4-week-challenge is because I know how much writing down my negative thoughts has helped me.
When setting up this blog I was initially really excited thinking of all the different topics I wanted to talk about, mind mapping my ideas and having a really creative surge of energy. I was almost skipping around on cloud nine and just couldn’t wait to get my first one published. That all came crashing down only a couple of weeks before I published my first blog when a thought popped into my head “you’re going to look really stupid”!
That was it then, I literally went through the next couple of weeks thinking “how the hell can I back out of this” in fear of what people would think of what I wrote. These thoughts literally consumed me for those few weeks feeling sick at the thought of putting myself out there.
I felt anxious, sad and really low in mood. I would call friends and family blatantly searching for some positive validation that would kick my arse into gear to do it. This would ease the fear for a short while but then these intrusive negative thoughts would continue again!
I get that whilst I’m writing this I sound a little melodramatic or that I went into a state of crisis but I’m actually being tame in the description of my thoughts, seriously, If I wrote down for you all of my negative thoughts at the time I can bet you would find them shocking.
We will all go through times when we have quite a negative internal dialogue. It can happen over a short period of time but it can also spiral into being a daily part of our lives. Its not necessarily very conscious thinking but it can be extremely damaging to our self esteem if we don’t recognize it and deal with it constructively.
One of the things that helped me was writing these negative thoughts down on paper. When I looked at them they almost became insignificant and brought that mountain in my head back to a molehill. I actually felt quite foolish reading them back that I had ever allowed myself to think these horrible things about myself.
Once I had written them down, processed why I felt the way I did in that moment I then got rid of the paper I had written them on. I believe that sometimes when we read these negative statements it can give them power but by throwing them away afterwards we are taking back control by saying that this is not what we want to think about ourselves.
I recently read a book called ‘love yourself like your life depends on it’ by Kamal Ravikant.
A short book written by a man who went through a severe period of depression that lead him to feel suicidal. He wrote about the importance of positive mantras which he says to himself daily, things like looking yourself in the mirror and saying ‘I love myself, I love myself’. After reading this book I tried this for myself. I felt completely stupid for the first few times and I made sure that this was done when my housemates where not around but after the initial internal embarrassment it actually really helped. I do still do this regularly, especially if I start to self doubt again.
This experience has made me appreciate the words that I say to myself. Even just in jest when I tell myself that I’m stupid. These are often times when I have made a completely ditzy comment, forgot something important or I’m late… again!! The other night was a prime example when I told my friend that I wouldn’t ever want to hold a tarantula as I hated reptiles, or the time when I burnt my fingers on hot burning coal because I thought that someone really nice had elaborately placed two toffees on top of the shisha for me. Or even yesterday when I couldn’t understand why my coffee hadn’t dissolved in the hot water, drank it anyway only to then realise I had put the filter coffee granules in my cup!!!
My list of ditzy moments could be made into an extremely entertaining book and granted these are things that I will fail to live down for a long time but just because what I did was a little silly doesn’t make me, as a person, stupid. I catch my thoughts and re-think them.
I’m also very aware when I listen to people talking to about themselves to me and I will pick up on their negative self chat. Its important for people to recognize what they have just said about themselves as often they will be completely unaware of it. It can be extremely damaging and at the end of the day we are our biggest cheerleader. How we treat and view ourselves gives others that standard for how to treat us. We need to be kinder to ourselves.