I’m having a bad day. Things just aren’t going well. Or should I say more accurately, things aren’t going my way. It’s difficult, and can set my whole life spinning. So what do I do in a situation where I’m having a bad day? I notice my self-talk. Self-talk are the messages I tell myself or that little voice inside my head that is telling me, in this case, “You’re worthless. Look at how people have treated you poorly in the past, obviously they know you’re not good enough. If only you could be perfect, then people would love you.” Lots of truths are being misconstrued by my self-talk, here are few of them:
- First, I’m finding my worth in what other people think of me. This is called perfectionism. If I was perfect, then other people would see me as good and I would become a person worthy of love. This is a lie. I am a child of God and that makes me worthy. I’m not perfect, but I am chosen by Him, and that is enough. Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes and, if I am doing the best I know how, that makes me good enough. Brene Brown describes this process as recovering from being a perfectionist into a “good-enoughist”.
- The second thing going wrong with my self-talk is that I am looking into the past at only the bad ways people have treated me, and disregarding all of the good. If I was to be fair, I would need to weigh the good with the bad. If I was honest, the good would win out every time, despite my outlook in the present moment or how I feel about it right now. Feelings are fleeting, and do not tell the truth.
- I made their bad decisions about It is often good to self-analyze in order to decipher the truth about a situation. For example, thinking about “What was my part in this exchange, how did I contribute to this outcome?” It can be difficult to see (considering my present stormy mood) but the reality is that usually I did have some part in the situation. Finish up by asking, “What can I do to change my part?” Then let go of what their part was. I can’t control the other persons’ actions, and I do not want to live in a stormy mood my whole life, so I need to let their part stay theirs! Then I am free to do the next right thing.
Finally, when things just aren’t going my way, I choose what the next right thing is. Maybe all I can do today is get out of bed. Then, after I get out of bed, I choose to show up for the next right thing which might be brushing my teeth. After that I show up for the next, and the next. One baby step at a time. That is all that’s required of me right now.
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
– Anna Quindlen