The most important words you will hear or say are to yourself.
You are your biggest critic and you can be your biggest supporter.
If you leave something at home do you say things such as, ‘I’m so stupid, I can’t believe that I forgot it. I’m such an idiot.’
Or do you say, ‘I’ve made a mistake. I will learn from it and remember to bring it tomorrow.’
A lot of us will do the first and automatically call ourselves names and verbally beat ourselves up when we make a mistake. We are our own worst critic.
But these words stick with us. If you label yourself negatively, you will feel negatively about yourself. It will lower your self-esteem and reduce your confidence.
Imagine if a friend had made a mistake, maybe they had been late to a meeting, answered a test question wrong, or said something in the heat of the moment that they regret, and then they call themselves names in front of you. Would you agree with them and join in or would you reassure them that everyone messes up sometimes and it doesn’t make them a bad person?
I think most of us would tell them positive things to make them feel better.
So why don’t we do it to ourselves when we make a mistake?
The next time you find yourself having negative thoughts about yourself, realise that everyone makes a mistake – it’s how we learn – and change it around.
Here are some examples:
‘I can’t believe that I forgot what time it was and now I’m in trouble for being late. I’m such an idiot. Why can’t I ever learn?’
Change it to ‘Relying on looking at my phone isn’t working for me. I’ll set an alarm next time so I won’t be late again.’
‘I’m so stupid that I didn’t revise for that test. I didn’t know any of the answers and now I’m going to fail. I’m so dumb.’
Change it to ‘Not revising for a test didn’t work, so next time, I am going to use a revision planner so that I can get the marks that I know I am capable of.’
You made a mistake, not make a choice. Choose to learn from it and improve things in the future, or put yourself down, don’t change your behaviour and reduce your self-esteem.
Your words are powerful. Use them to build yourself up, not put yourself down.