From starting to stalled. Excited to deflated. Passion-filled to filled with self-doubt.
You see, my thoughts and I… we don’t have the healthiest of relationships.
For all my life, I’ve been everyone else’s cheerleader. Helping others realize their potential and feel good about who they are is a real passion for me.
But what happens when the same voice that encourages everyone else discourages her own self?
That’s my story. I’ve often allowed my fears, doubts, and suffering self-esteem to override any good sense I’ve been blessed with.
Those fears began to produce unhealthy patterns, thoughts, and behaviors. I got into abusive relationships, stopped taking care of my health, and allowed my identity to become who everyone else said I was.
Over time, these sneaky, self-defeating lies and patterns become so familiar to us that we get comfortable with the dysfunction, even if it’s killing us.
If your inner critic is a loud, obnoxious, constant talker like mine, all hope is not lost.
So, what do you do when your own worst enemy is you? How do we break free from the lies that hold us at arm’s length from our dreams; always hoping but never actually achieving?
Joyce Meyer says it best, “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” Believing everything you think can set you up to fail before you even begin.
We can challenge our ‘stinking thinking’ by becoming more mindful of what we allow to aimlessly wander through our hearts and minds.
Settling for less than we deserve and accepting lies as truth, is not something we have to put up with anymore.
We all have a story to tell. Some are darker and more painful than others with more twists and turns. In my case, there was a lot of dysfunction and emotional abuse, lacking in love and acceptance.
Your story may be different from mine, but I’d be willing to bet most of us have experienced some difficult days that have shaken our confidence and trust.
If you see yourself in any of these lies, I invite you to face the lie for what it is so you too can grow into a life you love.
I’m not ready.
Healthy caution when making most life decisions is a good thing. Rushing into marriage, a career choice, or a business partnership without weighing the pros and cons could end in disaster.
However, there are times in our lives when our hesitancy is no longer healthy. Truth is – if we wait until we are “ready” for many decisions – we will never start.
If you find yourself stuck in a rut of overthinking; could it be you know what’s right, but are just afraid to go for it?
As a woman of strong Christian faith, I like to ask myself this question as I pray over it, “Do I have peace about it?” If something in my gut/spirit feels off, there’s probably a reason.
Let’s be honest, though. How often is, “I’m not ready,” or “I can’t, because…” just a cover-up for “I’m afraid to…?”
What I’ve discovered in my own life is that sometimes I just have to do it afraid. When we are doing something we’ve never done before, it’s going to feel uncomfortable and uncertain. That’s why it’s called, “getting out of our comfort zone.”
I’ve just decided that I’d rather try and fail than look back 10 years from now and mourn for all I didn’t do. What about you?
I’m not as good as them.
I’ve struggled with this one a lot throughout my life. The more I compared myself to others, the more I lost sight of what makes me one-of-a-kind. Instead of focusing on what I do have, my fixation became on all that I didn’t have or couldn’t do.
Because my focus was wrong, I ended up doing nothing at all.
We humans tend to have a bad habit of looking at someone else’s best and comparing it to our worst.
What would you say if I told you that when the person you look up to considered your strengths against their weaknesses – they’d feel exactly the same as you do?
Truth is, no one has all the answers. No one has it all figured out. There’s not a “secret formula to success,” that the person you admire has the monopoly on.
Most likely, they’ve just put in the work that it required to get where they are — which means you can too.
You weren’t designed to be a carbon copy of anyone. It’s fine to be inspired by others, but just remember, there is something you offer that no one else can.
It is good to be different. What makes you unique is what makes you shine.
They’re not smarter, better looking, the “right” age, or more talented — they’re just different from you. And you are different from them. My friend, that’s a truth worth celebrating.
I am learning to show up as my authentic self, no matter what others think. Guess what happens next? We begin to form real relationships with people who actually like who we are and what we offer.
The needs of others matter more than my own.
I’m a recovering people-pleaser. Far too often, my value was tied to how well I served others and what they thought of me.
If you can relate, then you know the end to this story: burnout, frustration, emptiness, exhaustion, and unhealthy habits.
Self-love is not selfish. In fact, it is the very opposite. If you love those around you and want to be there for them, taking care of you is the perfect place to start.
Consider these examples for how to show yourself some love today:
- Take time out to rest, even if only for a moment
- Practice saying no when something doesn’t work for you and don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for it
- Let go of toxic relationships
- Heal from unhelpful mindsets through coaching or counseling
- Find time for health-and-happiness-boosting activities
- Be mindful of the foods you put into your body
- Forgive yourself for past mistakes and wrong turns in life
- Boundaries are good. Don’t forget to use them wisely
We really do teach people how to treat us. As I learned to treat myself with kindness and respect, I realized what was and wasn’t working in my life.
Anyone who doesn’t respect your boundaries doesn’t respect you.
I have to be perfect.
Perfectionism is a poison that many of us, including myself, drink every day and wonder why we aren’t well.
May I ask you a question?
Would you rather be friends with, and learn from, someone who is humble and shows their struggles; or someone who seems to never struggle with anything?
Most of us long to connect with the stories of others who have been where we are. It makes us feel less alone in our mess.
The world doesn’t need more phony, filtered, “perfection.” What we need are people willing to be real – sharing the good, bad, and the ugly.
You have the power to make someone else see the hope in their own story. What you’ve been through can serve a purpose. Your pain doesn’t have to be in vain.
Choose the power of authenticity over the illusion of perfection. We are all growing and learning. We will make mistakes along the way, hopefully, learn from them, and be better for it.
I’ll be happy when ____.
Ever said this lie to yourself? I sure have. We convince ourselves that when we have a certain thing, reach a certain weight or goal, suddenly we’ll be happy.
It’s okay for us to have goals and to work toward growth in our lives. These are healthy, but it becomes unhealthy when we get so future-focused that we miss the gift of here and now.
No, we may not be where we want to be, but look how far you’ve come since last year, or even a few months ago! Celebrate that with a heart full of gratitude and notice how much happier you instantly feel.
Gratitude is a weapon. Use it.
I re-visit that quote from Joyce Meyer about being unable to have a positive life while thinking negative thoughts.
It’s not easy, but little by little, I’ve been training myself to take those lying, mean-spirited thoughts, out to the trash where they belong. You can too.
In my office, there is print art that reads, “The past is your lesson, the present is your gift, the future is your motivation.”
Let’s choose joy right now. In the simple things. It could be the smell or flavor of your favorite cup of coffee, the way a fresh breeze feels against your skin, or the way your pet makes you laugh and feel unconditionally loved.
Whatever it is for you, how about we determine that “I’ll be happy when___” turns into, “I’ll be happy now because this moment is a gift not everyone was given.”
Letting go of the lies.
By no means do I intend to make letting go of these lies sound easy. A lie must be replaced by a truth. Changing our minds is a process.
It is possible, though. One step, one day, one thought, at a time.
Challenge yourself to think about what you’re thinking about. You might find patterns in your thinking that are holding you back out of fear, and keeping you stuck in limitations that you may not have even created.
As you work your way through those cobwebs of lies, you’ll begin to see possibility where you only saw problems. You are worthy.
What lies do you tell yourself? What is the best piece of advice you could give others who are struggling in the same way?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Great conversation helps everyone!