Pictured Above: Asian American TV personality and fashion expert, Jeannie Mai
Apr 26, 10:51 AM
Whether it’s about your career, a relationship or your body image, we all live with a self-critical voice. It’s how different people deal with that voice that separates those who become effective in life and those who become paralyzed with fear. Here is how to move past self-destruction the next time you’re tempted to use yourself as a punching bag.
1. Reality Check.
When you hear that inner voice start to cry “You blew it!”, take a breath and focus in on the reality of the situation. Instead of repeating “I’m such a failure,” think of yourself like a news reporter and get to the bottom of what really happened, like “I wasn’t prepared”, or “I was hungry and couldn’t concentrate.” Forcing your voice to be grounded in reality will prevent you from shutting down and encourage you to grow from your experiences.
2. Seek Improvement.
People will tell you to “stay positive” and ignore negativity, but this rarely works in practice. Research shows that people who force themselves to be positive when they actually feel the opposite, leads them feeling worse in the long run.
Instead of forcing positivity or wallowing in negativity, focus on ways you can improve what you feel bad about in your life. Giving yourself an opportunity to change the negative is more realistic and relieving to your nerves than pretending everything is peachy.
Ask yourself : “What would friends/family say?” Or better yet, call one of them. An objective voice from someone you trust will put the situation into proper perspective, and allow you a moment to step back from self-destructive monologue.
4. Think Big.
Remember in high school when you thought an A- was the end of the world? In retrospect, it seems pretty inconsequential. When something in life goes wrong, try placing that event on your life’s timeline. Visualizing the bigger picture will prevent you from exaggerating the weight of every misstep, and allow you to roll with the punches. In life, there is never any one mistake or event that can ruin your life.
5. Make Mistakes.
Accept yourself—faults and all. You didn’t roll out of the crib with all of the skills you have, so why do you expect perfection now? Allow yourself room to grow and develop as a person by recognizing that even elite people in their field make mistakes. Can you imagine what would happen if no one allowed herself a mistake every now and then? Everyone would be too petrified to make any progress! View mistakes as what they are: as a necessary learning tool.