I did all the things I was supposed to. I was quick to cheer others on. I could look at someone and find a dozen things to compliment them on in under a minute. I smiled a lot, said yes a lot, and embodied the kind of person that I’d want to meet.
But behind closed doors? In my own head? It was a different story. Because here’s the thing – I was so focused on wanting to uplift the people around me and be the change that I wanted to see in the world and all that that I didn’t always remember to check myself.
If you’re super ambitious, then you’re probably hyper focused on your goals and know that every day counts, which also means that failing to do enough (whatever enough is) in a day can result in some serious self flagellation. When I screwed up, I didn’t start bashing myself in the middle of a group of my co-workers. I didn’t even cry in the bathroom during my lunch break like a normal person. I’d smile, look to all the world as if I were the most well-adjusted person ever, and then inside I’d beat my own ass. So while you’d easily find me clapping people on the shoulder and gushing about their work ethic or other skills, I could just as easily slip into negative self-talk for hours at a time and never, ever check myself on it.
Being a positive person when dealing with myself was a choice I had to make. I had to decide to be gentle with my own heart, to be forgiving of my own mind, and to be the type of person I needed in my life – loving, kind, and understanding.
When you’ve gotten into the habit of being hard on yourself, it can be very, very easy to forget that you’re “someone” too. Making negative comments still counts even if they’re in your head and the comments are directed at yourself.
When you find yourself going down that path, ask yourself if you’d talk like that to your mom, your best friend, your spouse. If the answer is yes, then you’re probably an asshole and I don’t know what to do with that, but if the answer is no, I wouldn’t cuss my mom out for burning the brownies or something else that won’t matter in a week, then I’m gonna need for you to go ahead and chill out on that when it comes to yourself, too.
I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t check yourself when you mess up, but just don’t go overboard. Don’t chew all day on your mistakes and don’t lay awake at night obsessing over how stupid you were that one time. It’s over, it’s done. Take it apart, find the lesson in it, and throw the rest of it away.
So here it is, a reminder, if you need it: be nice to yourself. Forgive yourself. Uplift yourself, and whatever you’re working on, move towards it with love – and patience – for yourself. That’s the only way to go.