It’s easy to let negative, self-effacing statements slip in from time to time
Are your words giving you a negative self-image that’s spreading to – and being adopted by – others? If yes, then ask yourself the following questions…
Is it really true?
Are you really “useless” at the task your boss has asked you to take on? Could it be more accurate to say that you don’t have as much experience in that area as you would like, or that you might benefit from a little guidance as you start out? And are you really out of shape because you feel slow walking to the bus stop, or are you just feeling tired because you’re in need of a break? When these little phrases come to mind or to your lips, try to catch them and ask yourself if they’re actually correct – and if not, what is the real truth?
If not, why not?
Ask yourself why you’re making these comments about yourself. If you’ve put yourself down when asked to take on a challenge at work, is it because you don’t want to do the task, and hope that by putting yourself down you’ll get someone else to take it on for you? Or are you trying to manage expectations so that people don’t demand too much from you? Or is there another reason? In any case, are these the impressions you want to broadcast to others?
What would a stranger think?
Imagine hearing someone you don’t know saying some of the statements you make about yourself. What would you think? Would you have any reason not to believe what they say about themselves? And if you did suspect that the person wasn’t being completely honest about themselves, what conclusions would that lead you to?
What would a true friend say?
If you feel comfortable doing this, get together with a close friend and tell them some of the things you say about yourself on a regular basis. Do they believe those words to be true? What is their response to you?
What would you tell a friend?
Now imagine your best friend is saying these things about themself. How would you react? What would you tell them? Write down what you would say and, when you’re tempted to say negative things about yourself, remind yourself of what a best friend might say.
How much is too much?
Try keeping a note of all the negative throwaway comments you make about yourself. Note down what you’ve said, the circumstances, any reactions by others and what thoughts and feelings you had at the time. Do you notice any patterns, or anything you would like to change? If possible, add in a reminder of how your best friend might respond – and how you as a best friend might respond to yourself.