If your best friend was dealing with a breakup, a rough patch at work, or some other crisis, you’d be supportive and full of compliments. “You’re smart! You’re talented! You’re focused! You’re funny!” and the list goes on and on. Perhaps you’d order a girls’ night in complete with wine and a cheesy movie to remedy the situation. You know that if roles were reversed, she’d be there returning the favor.
Yet somehow this same kind of behavior is difficult to do for ourselves. Think about how many times per day you review your flaws without even realizing it. When you pay attention to it, you see it happens a lot. Today, for example, I thought: “I’m breaking out. I don’t work out enough. Why don’t I keep my papers organized? I keep forgetting to return that phone call, what is wrong with me?” Flaw. Flaw. Flaw. It’s like these sentiments are just a normal part of my thought process, and don’t even get flagged as negative. But when it comes to positive thoughts, it takes much more of a conscious effort. “I’m smart! I’m deserving of a good relationship! I’m a loyal friend!” When you do think these things, it can feel sort of cheesy, like an exercise your fourth grade teacher makes you do when you’re learning about self-esteem.
It’s far too easy to be hard on yourself, and way too easy to beat yourself up all day every day. Welp, I vote that we change that. You would never go to dinner with a friend and start picking apart all her imperfections. Why spend the day doing the same for yourself? I have to believe that eventually all of the negative thoughts that you allow to flow through your brain (whether you’re fully aware of them or not) are going to do some lasting damage. I also have to believe that a lack of positive self-focused thoughts can cause serious harm too.
It’s okay to want to want to get better at things you’re not great at. It’s not okay to ONLY focus on your flaws without giving yourself some credit every day. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, stop thinking it to yourself.