I used to be much harder on myself than anyone else. I tended to beat myself up over the smallest things, tell myself that I wasn’t enough, and compared myself unjustly to others.
I ended up carrying resentment over my shoulders and became my own worst enemy over time.
I often would find a way to bring myself down... Whether that was worrying about not being far enough in my career or stressing out about money after a long weekend or vacation.
Sometimes it was when I was doing my makeup and thought no amount will make me feel confident that day, or when I was waiting for a text from a guy that never came and thought I must’ve done something wrong.
They say awareness is the first step towards positive change, and it was crucial that I recognized my self-destruction. It wasn’t always gloomy, but I tended to forget the good things far quicker than the bad.
Deep down, I knew that I deserve great things, but I also knew that I was the only person standing in the way of getting them. I knew it was time to make a change.
Even now, I write a lot about self-care but sometimes I still struggle with giving myself enough credit. Does this internal struggle sound familiar? If it does, I want to invite you on the journey I used to help eliminate negative self-talk and invite more positivity into my life.
Gratitude has been scientifically shown to open doors to new relationships, improve physical and psychological health, improve sleep and self-esteem, reduce aggression, enhance empathy, and increase mental strength.
Doesn’t that sound amazing? I noticed quickly that acknowledging all of the wonderful things in my life felt so much better than focusing on the negative.
One actionable way I did this was by journaling every day. I specifically used (and still use) this best-seller: The Five Minute Journal. The journal is even used by stars like Brett Eldredge and Tim Ferriss - which goes to show that everyone benefits from more gratitude in their lives!
In order to hinder negative self-talk, I decided to replace it with powerful affirmations that reaffirm the qualities I am most proud of.
“I am” helped me define how I saw myself in the moment and how I wanted to see myself in the future. The more often I did this, the more I started to believe that these statements as unquestionably true. I am awesome, and there was (and is) no shame in telling myself that!
These I AM Affirmation Cards are one of the simplest ways I discovered to help speak about myself more encouragingly - and it worked.
Absorbing Knowledge & Advice
I’ve become strong enough to admit that I can’t do everything alone. Sometimes the best thing for me was spending time with friends or family who helped remind me of who I was and who I could become.
Alternatively, it was speaking to a professional, like a therapist, who helped me navigate the deeper source of my negativity.
Lastly, sometimes I found the best advice came from books that are meant to encourage growth and change. I used to feel uncomfortable about buying these types of books, but now I know that there is nothing embarrassing about wanting to better myself.
Instead of dragging my failures, I decided to reward myself for my accomplishments more often. Practicing gratitude helped me be more aware and then I made it a point to celebrate my milestones.
This was as simple as having a slice of pizza after a week of healthy eating or was as big as booking a dream vacation after diligently saving and working hard for months.
I used to think these types of rewards were overindulgent and selfish, but I’ve come to know that it’s crucial I recognize the accomplishments I’ve had and the work that went into it. So cheers to me, guilt-free.
The biggest thing that was holding me back from letting go of negative self-talk was my bad habit of carrying guilt around. This guilt was by far the hardest part of being kinder to myself. Self-forgiveness wasn’t easy, but it’s something I’m still actively trying to get better at.
Thus far, I’ve come to see that it’s more constructive to learn from my past and my mistakes than to drag them around with me. I know that it was this very guilt that was what was holding me back from being my best self.
I started by writing a letter to myself of everything I want to let go, forgiving my thoughts during meditation, sweating the guilt out during yoga, and making a daily promise to go to bed with a lighter heart.
Slowly, I shed the blame I was refusing to let go. Slowly, I let go of the darkness and chose to live in the light. Slowly, I got to know myself… and decided she was so much better than who I once thought she was.