As I sit here, ready to write today’s empowerment article, I’m having a tough one. A really rough day. It started yesterday and continues on, despite my trying to get it to go away. I hear my internal dialogue and no matter what anyone else says, that is what is sticking with me. I don’t use this word in everyday speech, but since I’m writing, I’ll share it with you. Every time I begin to pick myself up since yesterday, I remind myself that I’m a loser. Why am I a loser? I can’t really tell you. There are things going on – tough things, challenges, pressures, things that hurt – but things that I have dealt with before and will continue to deal with throughout life. Usually I can handle it. Usually I can pick myself up by the bootstraps and keep on kicking. But these two days it’s been tough. It’s been tough because I have nothing nice to say to myself. Why? I’m not sure, but when I figure it out I’ll let you know.
We all have these moments where our internal dialogue is painful. Sometimes it lasts for a day or two and sometimes it lasts much longer. But there is one thing that we truly need to remember to help us along on this journey – the most important person you talk to every day is yourself. What you say to yourself is unbelievably influential – more so than anything anyone else says to you.
Let’s be clear – what other people say to you is significant. The good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes things go in one ear and out the other, but sometimes words stick inside you. Something that your 2nd grade teacher said that hurt your feelings. Something that your cousin said that made you feel worthless. Things that may have happened when you were 5, 6 or 7. These things stick inside you, on your internal pegboard, and rear their ugly heads from time to time. Remember, that person is no longer saying the words – you are. You are the one who has picked up that piece of information, internalized it, and continued to hold yourself hostage with it since the day the words arrived. If you are currently an adult, that means you’ve been holding yourself hostage for many, many years. It has been your choice, your sustenance that has continued to perpetuate their negativity.
So what do we do about it? How do we change all of the garbage that is lying in wait inside of us? It’s a good question and one that there may be no permanent solution to, but here is my suggestion. Write a list of who you REALLY are. The things you’ve accomplished, the good things that you’ve done, the amazing qualities that you have. Every time you hear yourself say that you are something THEY said you were, remind yourself of two good things from that list. If that isn’t enough, consider going to therapy. In my 40 years, I’ve seen four different therapists for different lengths of time. It is absolutely nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. They are sounding boards and YOU are doing the work. I promise you, if you give it a go – and truly put your heart into it – you’ll come out the other end with some clarity.
If I was you, I’d be wondering who called me a loser. Now, I’ve been called a lot of things in my lifetime (we all have), but loser is actually not one of them. I think I gave that one to myself and I’m not entirely sure why. I think it’s because there’s a part of me that knew it would hurt a lot. I try unbelievably hard in life. I want to be the best mother for my kids, a good wife, a compassionate friend, kind to strangers, a good tipper at restaurants (it’s HARD to be a server) and someone who smiles at everyone. And I do my absolute best. So when I tell myself I’m a loser, it’s kind of the biggest slap in the face that I can provide for myself – which isn’t cool. And I know that I’m not alone – you are doing it too – whether it be some days or every day. We need to stop. We need to see the value that we bring to the world and stand in it. We are worth so much more than these words and we deserve to believe in our strengths every day of the year, every hour of the day.