Everyone gets a little down on themselves sometimes. I think I do it more than the average person. I have a habit of being pretty hard on myself about even the smallest mistakes. When I feel like I have failed or let someone down in some way I think some of the worst things about myself but I am learning to treat myself better. I’m learning to treat myself the way I would treat my own friends and loved ones if they were to make a mistake.
By that I mean I’m trying to show myself a little more care and be a little more forgiving toward myself too.
I’ve recently made a little a list of things to I remind myself of when I feel like I’ve messed up in some way. I want to curb the harsh thoughts, build up my confidence, and learn to move forward faster. I thought I would share that list with you all in the hopes that it might help someone else with the same bad habit.
1. You are a good person.
This is the bad thought I struggle with the most. I always feel like deep down I am a “bad person”. Not bad as in evil. Everything I do comes from the best of intentions, but some times I hurt the feelings of the people I care for the most. Some times I let them down too. I never mean to but it happens and when it does i feel like I must really be a bad person inside.
I remind myself that I am trying my best and that’s all I can do. No matter how hard anyone tries we all hurt someone’s feelings sometimes without meaning to and we all let someone sometimes too. It doesn’t mean we are bad people, just means we messed up. It just means we are people. Good people are the ones recognize when they have done something wrong and who try to make things right.
I definitely always try to do that.
2. You are smart.
I am the kind of person who lies awake in bed at night thinking of every embarrassing thing I have ever said, or every time I thought I was right and I was wrong, and every time another person has told me that something I did was dumb. I often feel like I am smart in all the ways that don’t matter and stupid in all the was that do.
But all of us have our own strengths and weaknesses and there has been many times when the ways in which I am smart have helped someone. I’ve had many people tell me that they think I am very intelligent and they wished they thought about the world the way that I do. They wish they could write, or liked doing math, or could even read as much, or as well, as I can.
I may not be smart in all the ways a person can be smart, but that doesn’t make me stupid.
3. You matter
I think it’s common to every once in a while wonder if the world would be a better place if you weren’t there, especially during those days when we are especially down. On my bad days I feel like a hinderance or burden on the people around me and worry I am not contributing much to their lives.
To put it simply, I feel useless.
But one thing I’ve come to terms with is the fact that wa I actually don’t matter to everyone I know. I’m just not that important to the lives of every person I meet, and that is ok.
Because for each of us there is a small group of people, our closest family members and friends, who are glad to have us in their lives. They are people for whom you make life a more enjoyable experience. They are the people who can cry on your shoulder, or go have a drink and a good talk with. They are the people who laugh at your jokes and who make sure you do something special for your birthday.
For some of us there might only be one person who feels this way about us, for others it could be a lot, but we all matter to someone. We are all lucky to have each other and I remind myself there are people who are lucky to have me here.
4. Your feelings matter
I have always had a hard time interacting with people who have strong personalities and I have an even harder time if I have an issue with one.
I am a woman and I am small so there are a whole lot of people who don’t take me seriously just based on that. On top of that I’m quiet, my voice is often as small as I am, especially when I am upset. This means that when I am trying to voice my opinion or advocate for myself I get drowned out if not ignored entirely. To make matters worse I am also “people pleaser” and sometimes I end up getting pushed into things I’d rather not be pushed into.
I am left feeling like what I think and what I feel are not at all important. I have to remind myself that no matter how small and quiet I am I’m still just as entitled to have my say as the tall and loud mouthed. I remind myself that no one should ever to try to silence another person and I will not let other people silence me.
5. It’s OK to cry, It’s OK to be mad, It’s OK to feel however you want
The thing that sets me off more than anything else is having my feelings invalidated. I hate being told I shouldn’t be mad about something, or that I am being too sensitive if I cry, or even that I am too happy or that I have nothing to be frustrated about. I hate being made to feel as though my personal feelings are wrong. It makes me feel like I am crazy or that I am weak, neither of which is true.
But instead of getting upset I remind myself that it is okay to feel however the hell I want about anything I want. I also remind myself that no other person can decide whose feelings are right and wrong, especially not the person who your feelings these feelings about. This is because people who have hurt you or made you angry will try to change the situation so that nothing they did was actually wrong. The easiest way to do this to to convince you that your emotions are wrong, not their actions.
But no one gets to say how I can feel and no one gets to say if my emotions are right or wrong. They just are, and that’s ok.
6. You don’t have to apologize
I’m working on this one. Whenever I have upset someone in any way I immediately apologize, then I immediately feel like I have lost something. There is nothing wrong with apologizing but I feel like when I do I take on all the blame of whatever went wrong even when I may not have done anything wrong.
Sometimes people will be mad at you for reasons that have more to do with them then with whatever you did. People who can’t take constructive criticism, people who don’t like to be wrong, people who are mad at themselves but choose to blame you for their actions, these are people who I am learning not to apologize to.
Instead I am trying to say things like “I didn’t mean to upset you” or “I may have said it wrong, here is what I meant”. This is my way of recognizing their feelings without having to reinforce their perception that I am the one to blame for their problem. I will always apologize when I have done something to really hurt someone but I remind myself that I can hold back a little and take some time to figure out if I really should, or want to, apologize.
It’s been incredibly empowering so far.
7. Just take care of yourself right now
I have a bad habit of pushing to fix a problem for another person before I begin to figure out what I need or how this can be fixed for me. Like the issue of apologizing too much it leaves me feeling like the bad person every time, even when I am not.
Not only that but I have realized that I do this for selfish reasons. I do it because having someone be angry or disappointed in me makes me very uncomfortable. If I can make that other person feel better, then my uncomfortable feelings go away.
But this isn’t the right way. Pushing too hard to resolve a problem before the other person is ready can make matters worse. If I don’t figure out what I need and then resolve the problem I am left with unresolved feelings and resentment. Nothing about that is good.
So now when someone is upset with me I give them space and I remind myself that there will be time to talk it out and work through it but for now I should go calm down and think about what I feel and why. Then I should think about what I need to feel better and why. This way when it comes time to work it out I can do so with a clear head and the right intentions.
I remind myself that self-care is important and is better for my well being than working to fix someone else to make me feel better.
Usually after I repeat these things to myself and take some time to think about them and about the situation in a rational way, I feel much better. And the more I do it the less I have to is all starting to sink in. It’s hard to admit that I have to pep talk myself as much as I do, and that I am as hard on myself as I am, but I doubt I am alone in this.
If you find yourself saying or thinking some of the same things I do in those moments when you let someone down or when mistakes are made, I encourage you to make a little list of some things you can say to yourself to remember who you are and what you need.
It helps in the moment, and over time. You will start to think better about yourself, and you will start to treat yourself better too.