Constantly beating myself up was holding me back from what I wanted to achieve. Berating myself was taking more time and energy than actually getting in and completing the work.
Not to mention, the more you repeat negative thoughts to yourself over and over again, the more they tend to sink in and take hold.
Early on, my coach realised she had to get me to nip this bad behaviour in the bud. With my coach’s help, I improved remarkably.
On my recent trip overseas, I had the ‘beating myself up’ monster raise its ugly head.
So what got me all riled up? I let a good writing opportunity pass me by, simply because I had not been thinking outside the box. I was angry with myself and I could not shake the feeling. I started to dwell on my mistake.
Before I knew it I was name-calling. When you think about it, it’s pretty silly. I was calling myself names. If someone (outside of my head) called me names, I would be sticking up for myself and giving them a polite earful.
So how did I move past this episode of self-ridicule. Here are some tips that worked for me.
Realise you are being hard on yourself
The first step is to realise you are beating yourself up. You need to recognise the negative self talk as soon as possible.
If you have exposed yourself to a lot of negative self talk in the past, it might take a while before you realise you have fallen back into your old pattern. Once you realise you are putting yourself down, it is time to act.
Make yourself stop
This is obviously easier said than done. But do it. Stop yourself from thinking negative thoughts. Okay granted, it may only work for a brief time, before the negative thoughts pop back into your brain but it is a start.
If you can banish the negative thought straight away and move on quickly, all the better.
Live in the moment
I always remember my Mum using that saying ‘Don’t cry over spilled milk’. It was annoying at times but she had a point. The past, whether it was 20 years ago or 10 minutes ago cannot be changed. What matters is the present, what happens right now as I tap out these words on the keyboard. That is the only moment, I truly have control over.
As well as focusing on the moment, remember the positive. When I having my negative meltdown, I was actually in the middle of an amazing, positive, uplifting experience. The moment I reminded myself of that, it helped immensely.
Focus on the important
I was overseas on a writing assignment when this happened. Putting it bluntly, I had work to do. I quickly realised that if I dwell on one missed opportunity, I would be missing out on other great opportunities that were coming up in my day. Moments that I needed to write and report back on.
Basically, I reminded myself it was time to get back to work.
Don’t let it influence your decision making process
In my case, I didn’t make a mistake. I simply didn’t make the right decision.
When I was working for an employer, they made a lot of the decisions. I mainly did what I was told. Now that I am working for myself, decision making has become a massive part of my everyday work life. It has involved a major mental shift. Making the decision what writing jobs to work on and which ones to leave alone is paramount to my survival.
To be honest, I am still working on being a better decision maker. What I am getting better at is making quicker decisions, so that is a step in the right direction.
What I don’t want my negative self talk to do, is affect the confidence I am working on and growing in the decision making arena.
Remember it’s not the end of the world
Sometimes we simply blow our mistakes or missed opportunities out of proportion. Since I was overseas and slightly out of my comfort zone, I am sure that played a role in my negative thoughts hanging around slightly longer than they should have.
If possible put it on the list for next time.
This isn’t always possible but if it is something that you can put on your list for next time (which thankfully mine is) than by all means, put it to the top of your to do list. Admittedly, I have no idea when that next time might come along but I have a firm belief that it will indeed happen and when it does – I will be there with my bells on.
Practice self love
Being hard on yourself, being mean to yourself – simply isn’t healthy. It is not part of growing as a person. It is not part of a self love philosophy.
So stop beating yourself up – focus on the positive and look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.