You are unworthy.
You are unlovable.
You are a horrible human.
What? Why am I saying those things? Because those are the things that we tell ourselves every single day.
It's not ok for me to tell you that. And yet, we're quite happy telling ourselves those things. Who else knows that inner critic I'm talking about?
So, I have this bowling ball in my hand. And there's a group of friends behind me, teenage girls, a few boys that are older than us. And I'm just going to go for it. Bowling isn't my strength but what have I got to lose. So, I take a swing, and rather than the ball heading forwards where I'm expecting, it flies out of my hands backwards. And I turn around and there's that split second and the whole group burst into laughter. And I die inside. I have no choice but to laugh and join in, but actually, in that moment that situation has just confirmed everything that I was feeling anyway. Those stories that prevent me from showing up and doing that kind of thing again. That boy that I was interested in, it didn't go any further.
The same stories that until this point has stopped me showing up on social media and sharing my message. And I bet a lot of money a lot of you tell this same story to yourself.
These are the stories I tell myself:
I am unlikeable. I'm not the person who has big groups of friends. I'm the person who will sit in a big group and quite happily just fade into the background.
I am unattractive. I look at some of my friends out on social media absolutely killing it. They fit the societal beauty norms and they take a gorgeous photo. Unless I'm grinning like a maniac, then my photos aren't photogenic. It'll take me 20, 30, 40, 50 goes to get a good photo!
I am insignificant. I compare yourself constantly. And on social media, I'm thinking why should I bring my voice when the message has already happened. Other people have said it and they've said it much, much better.
I am unrelatable. I am different from you. When actually, if we're having this deep seated feeling of 'I am unworthy, I am insignificant', then are we different? No. We are the same you and me. We have that same connection. That same deep root of unworthiness that brings forth this behaviour that doesn't serve us and stops us showing up in our lives.
Ok, so what do we do? 4 simple ways to start to improve this. Today. This week.
Bring an awareness to the situation. Throughout your entire day, keep noticing when this voice crops up. If you can't see what's going on, you can't change it. So observe it first of all. Don't bring a judgement to it, you don't need to do that, you don't need to make life any harder for yourself.
Notice when it's happening in your day. Does it tend to happen morning/evening? Notice who's around you. Or are you on your own? Notice what the triggers are. Is it a mirror in a certain place in your house? Is it a certain person? Is a certain thing happening in your job or in your commute?
Be curious and see what's going on.
Once you have noticed you have a choice. It is not an unconscious thing that is happening any more.
You have a choice in that moment whether you go down that rabbit hole again. Remember, that rabbit hole might feel quite attractive. Once you've noticed, and you think, 'right ok, disrupt', you might still take that action anyway. Because that rabbit hole of self-hate, or a lack of self-worth, or whatever it is, feels comfortable. It feels safe.
When we choose to disrupt and we choose to say no, we choose some uncomfortable action because we don't know what's going to happen if we choose to interrupt that narrative. It starts to question that part of our identity that actually we do a lot to protect. Humans like identity, we like boxes and stories about ourselves. Lean into the discomfort.
You have a choice.
You can choose not to engage with those thoughts, those feelings, that situation.
Implement means do something. Once you've noticed and you've decided STOP, then implement a different strategy.
Don't rely on willpower. Your willpower is finite and at some point you're going to go down that same rabbit hole because it's the easiest thing to do. Find a tool, a strategy, that you're going to implement, that you're going to do in that moment, to divert your thoughts; to divert that self-talk into something more positive
You might choose something like, smile. Literally the physical act of smiling starts to send messages to our brain, the little muscles around our eyes, the corners of your mouth. It puts the body into a more relaxed state. Smile. You might choose that moment to take one deep breath. Create some space. You might list one thing that you're grateful for. You might say one thing that you're good at.
And do you know what, that is going to feel uncomfortable. You might not believe or invest in those different things you're telling yourself.
And that's ok.
The point is you're still choosing to do something different.
Do NOT miss this one out. If you go through these 4 steps just once, then you're right back in this situation! You have to keep repeating this every single time that it happens, in your day, in your week, in your month, in your year.
Because guess what? That self-talk, that nagging negative voice, doesn't go away.
No matter how positive a person you are, no matter how amazing things are in your life, no matter how fulfilled you're feeling you still have that nagging feeling of self doubt, that inner critic. And so therefore every time that that inner critic speaks up, repeat the process.
You have to practice this, and embed the new messages that you want to believe in in your life. Day after day, week after week, year after year - repeat those four steps
And those voices in your head will change to:
I AM WORTHY
I AM SIGNIFICANT
I AM LOVABLE