My good friend was speaking the other day about repeating positive mantras to herself, to feel stronger and more capable. She had listened to someone online who feels that the words, ‘can’t’, ‘need’, and other similar phrases are not healthy to say to ourselves.
I felt annoyed, initially, when she brought this up. I suppose at one level it seems to me like extremely basic stuff.
Yesterday evening when I went to bed, I was pondering her words. I know it sounds silly, but I repeated to myself about 100 times, that I am enough. I wasn’t spontaneously healed from my depression, or my CFS. However, I did feel a slight shift in my psyche, from very, very down, to just plain down.
All of us learn to speak to ourselves in particularly unhelpful ways. Would you ever say to your friends, what you say to yourself throughout each day? Are you aware of that voice inside your head that rips you to shreds moment by moment through your lifetime?
I know that some of us are more self-critical than others. I would get an award for this, if they existed. I can get very critical about being self-critical, too. It’s a vicious cycle.
I believe that no matter how messed up you are, or how many flaws you have, you have multiple strengths as well.
It takes effort and practice to notice when we do something well. It takes patience to retrain ourselves and our thinking.
I’ve spent decades in therapy. I know.
My mind follows a well worn rut of condemnation and judgment of myself. When, on occasion I catch myself, and cut short the inner dialogue, I feel a sense of relief. When I congratulate myself for a job well done, or pay attention to some trait that I actually like about myself, I can make myself cry. Not because I’m sad.
I used to think that I was supposed to change myself, to be a better person. To be different from who I am. I’m not saying that a focus on self-improvement is entirely bad. When it gets to the point where you absolutely don’t like yourself, though, it’s time to drop it.
These days, I more focused on gently shifting my thinking in a manner that makes life slightly easier for me. I’ve seen progress in myself, in this area. This is encouraging, to say the least.