This series is here for vulnerability and openness. Welcome to Anonymous #1. If you’re interested in posting your truth, drop us a line on our Contact Us page. In this week’s Anonymous, one of our lovely ladies discussed how she found out that her inner self-critic had been working against her, affecting her self-confidence and how she learnt to start being nice to herself.
I recently decided to sit down with me. I hadn’t done that in a while and I missed myself. I’m not sure what provoked this longing for inwardness, I guess I was feeling a bit out of touch on the inside. I was in need of a self-hug. A tight one.
I decided to take out my journal, my favourite pen and load up google. I hovered my mouse across the search bar, proceeded to type and then deleted it. I began to type again and then…you guessed it, deleted it! I was finding it really difficult to articulate the way that I was feeling into a searchable phrase. On the inside, I was a lost child, in a supermarket, crowded by stuff, items, feeds, likes, posts, people, conversations, wants, needs, expectations, regrets…Basically all of the things. Ultimately, the point of my search, was to find little old me again, amongst all of the noise and distractions.
As I surfed the web, I came across, an article called “How to Overcome Insecurity: Why Am I So Insecure?”. I was intrigued, so I clicked. The article discussed insecurity and its effects on our happiness and wellness. It also noted that 60% of women experience hurtful, self-critical thoughts on a weekly basis!
At this point, I was more than intrigued, I was fully invested! I had always been super self-critical, but I never really acknowledged these thoughts as being positive nor negative. This got me thinking. I began to question if my inner dialog was one to promote self-confidence or breed insecurities. I certainly didn’t feel very confident at the time.
I decided follow through on the articles suggestion of writing down all of my potential insecurities. Essentially, the task required me to list all of the negative things that I would say about myself, to myself. By the end of the exercise, I was truly astonished. I started writing and I couldn’t bloody stop. My list was on-going. It included mean comments, such as “you’re ugly”, “you have no friends”, you’re not good enough” “nobody likes you”, “you’ll never find a partner”, “If you do find a partner, he’ll probably cheat on you”. I honestly couldn’t believe that this is how I had been speaking to myself on a regular basis. If I was my own friend, I would definitely think “what an absolute cow!”. But here I was, talking to myself in that way, every single day. No wonder why I had such a lack of self-confidence.
The article went on to discuss various exercises to help challenge these negative behaviours and rearrange thought patterns. Now I’ll be honest, usually this is where I’d shut my laptop off and call it a day. The reason for this is partly due to the exercises seeming pretty serious business and also because I use humour as a coping mechanism and nothing about being intentionally vulnerable sounded amusing or fun to me. But I knew it was something I need to do.
One of the exercises involved me answering back to my inner-self critic in a rational and realistic way, expressing my true feelings and point of view as a response. This would be the first time I had ever internationally challenged my thoughts before. It might sound a bit silly, but I didn’t know you could actually do that or that it was an option, ha! I kind of just took my thoughts as thoughts. The point of this exercise was to respond to your inner voice attacks the way you would, if you heard a good friend saying the same negative things about themselves.
I’ll be honest, this exercise broke me. I felt sad… It almost reminded me of a friend trying to pay me a compliment and me going out of my way to reject it because I didn’t believe I was worthy enough to have such nice word being said about me. But I stuck with it and completed the task, although difficult. By the end of it, I began to feel a smile arise in my heart. It felt good to actually hear myself say nice things about me, even though I didn’t believe all of it, yet.
Once I had finished all exercises, I closed my journal and sat, taking it all in. I felt good, not great, but good. These small tasks were practical and effective and completely out of my comfort zone, but I get it and I get why it works. Thinking patterns can be challenged and changed through daily practices. I decided after that, to include this routine as part of my daily self-care tool kit. I wanted to experience this everyday. I look forward to loving on myself a bit more and seeing my progress in a months’ time. I’ll tell you something, I definitely got that tight self-hug that I was after and then some!
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