How often do you tell yourself “I am doing the best I can”? It’s all too easy to fall into the habit of talking to ourselves in negative manner or publicly putting ourselves down. This fuels self-doubt and gives rise to the self-critic in each of us. The self-critic serves a purpose but it cannot rule us. It’s there to keep us in check. It can be the catalyst for positive change, but on the other hand, it can rob us of our light. It can pull us under in a downward spiral of low self-esteem, concern about social acceptance, dislike of ourselves, and fuel the belief that “I am not enough.”
No-one in the world is exempt from the “not enough” phenomena. Everyone who has a dream or a desire to become the best they can be, will compare their lives to others and think they are not enough, on some level at some stage. Everyone who has faced rejection may wonder “Why not me? What did I do wrong? Why am I not enough?”
When I was in Scotland two things happened, and this not enough belief hit me hard.
Firstly, I decided upon the biggest, wildest, loftiest and most intimidating dreams of my life. I then put a huge amount of totally unrealistic pressure on myself to start making them happen. Secondly, I fell deep into the trap of comparing myself to other people through social media.
Thus begun a downward spiral of negative self talk and doubt which robbed me of my motivation – the most important thing to me!
I lost myself a little and I had a good hard look at myself. I decided it was enough!!
These are the three steps I put into action to find my joie de vivre, ignite my motivation and get cracking with my goals!
1. Give yourself a break
The sweet spot in the quest for personal and professional growth, I believe, is being happy and accepting of exactly where we are today, whilst at the same time striving for more. The strive has to create precisely the right amount of pressure to be inspiring and motivating, without it tipping the balance to becoming overwhelming, demotivating and intimidating. The latter is what happened to me in Scotland.
What did I do? I gave myself a break, accepted that I was putting too much pressure on myself and that it was having a negative impact on me! If life is getting a bit much with all your commitments, ask yourself do you really have to do all the things on your plate? Adjust the level of pressure and give yourself a break.
2. Review and accept today
There are a million things I used to do that I can’t do today. I once ran 100km with two days notice and having only trained to 10km. Do I let that lower my self-esteem because I can’t do that today? No. I am a different person on a different part of my journey and so are you.
Don’t compare yourself to who you were at anytime in the past or anyone else. Comparison is good to inspire and motivate us, but we all need to rely on our own inner barometer to measure self-worth, happiness and success. Accept where you are today and move forward from there.
3. Positive self-talk
Tell yourself “I am doing the best I can”. I know I am a motivated person, so if I am not motivated to do something I try to uncover why. Instead of the self-critic having a go at myself, I flip it around and remind myself I am doing the best I can to figure out how to do life.
I know am doing the best I can and I’m pretty sure you are too.
Each time you catch yourself hanging out with your self-critic, tell yourself that you are, and see the positive impact it can have with this one simple change in internal dialogue.
The self-critic serves a purpose, but we have to manage it before it manages us.
All photos in this blog taken by me on GoPro Hero5 with the 3 way tripod/selfie stick.