I’ve strived for perfection my entire life and just realized it this year. I still don’t believe I purposely had to be great at everything, and not to sound presumptuous, I was just always told how exceptional I was at the things I could do. From being in the top of my class in elementary and high school to cooking. There was that one time I was ranked 2nd in the class (not 1st like every year before that) and I went home crying, like the hyperventilating type of crying lol. I was book smart and never got into trouble in or out of school. I didn’t fail and because I didn’t, no one had to tell me that it was ok to fail, that it was not the end of the world, that it is a part of life and growing up.
I knew what I liked and stuck to it. I never tried to play any sports, and that one time I ran in the relay race I was in the hospital a few hours later for “breathing troubles” so I never tried to do that crap again. I knew how to braid hair, I knew how to cook, I read books every chance I got and I was always patted on the back for doing those things.
Then I became a woman and the smallest sight of imperfection would cause a panic attack. I got fired from my first job, “it wasn’t working out” is what they told me but all I heard was that I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t excel at something. I found myself sleeping on the floor of my cousin’s apartment making trips to the library to look for jobs on craigslist. At this point I barely had anything left in my savings so this was the bottom for me.
That’s when it all started. When I started belittling myself and blaming my circumstances on what I thought were my horrible decision making skills. It’s been years now and I still speak poorly of myself when I make an error or if I’m not perfect and something I try to do. I don’t even read as much as I did before and I curse myself every time I notice I’m doing something trivial that’s time consuming and I could be reading a book. Negative self talk takes over and if I don’t take the time to realize and work through it then it will consume me.
Negative self talk is your inner critic that causes you to blame yourself, causes you to doubt yourself and what you are able to achieve. You think that you’re not good enough. You don’t believe that you can do something so you don’t even bother trying. If not managed it can cause a tremendous amount of mental stress. I’ve learned to manage my negative self talk by noticing when I’m being a “Debbie Downer” or “Negative Nancy”. When I notice it I take a minute to breathe and remind myself that it’s just life and I don’t have to be perfect at everything. It’s easier said than done but with consistency I can attest that it helps.
Practice daily by speaking positivity into yourself. Remind yourself of your beauty, your strength, your resilience, your passion. Look back to how far you’ve come and remind yourself that if you made it through that then you can make it through anything. Life is what you make it so make the best of it because tomorrow isn’t promised. Love yourself everyday no matter how hard the day may seem. Negative Self Talk is something we can all kick out of the door of our lives.