When things go wrong, or we are feeling low, an automatic tape plays in our heads telling us some of these seemly true diatribes about ourselves. There are the lies we tell ourselves to stay low, feel defeated. Here are the lies and the truth you can instead begin to say to yourself in order to lift yourself up to experience the full glory of who you really are.
Lie #1: I am not good enough/not as intelligent or capable as others
As children we may have heard our classmates, siblings and sometimes even our parents say that we are not bright enough or worse yet, that we are stupid. This information that we get as input, growing up, becomes so internalized that we begin to believe that we are in fact stupid. The situations where this kind of a lie creates a problem are when we make small mistakes and label ourselves stupid, when we worry about people noticing these mistakes and worry that they will think we are incompetent, when we are asked to give an opinion we freeze and then berate ourselves as stupid.
So how do you overcome something like this that becomes second nature to you? How can you stop berating yourself and start looking at the facts?
It is important to tell yourself that you may not be a genius but that you are not stupid either. That it is normal to have strong qualities and abilities and have areas where improvement is needed. In moments where you find that you are beginning to berate yourself, it is best to:
- State what is happening: Remind yourself that you are triggered by the situation and pulled back into a time wrap (your childhood) where you were made to feel stupid many times. You could tell yourself that you are getting hooked into an old way of behaving.
- State what's real: Tell yourself that you are not stupid or incompetent. That you are valued as a person at home and at work and gently begin to tap into the strong points about yourself. You can also say to yourself that you simply believe a lie about yourself in childhood (that you are stupid) and that you can stop now.
Lie #2: I am not Valuable
Here again, this lie crops up in childhood. Growing up we may have heard to very critical remarks about ourselves that we come to believe that we are not valuable and that only if we DO something are we valuable. This ofcourse is a lie.
So how do you overcome this lie? How can you stop feeling like your value rests about DOING something worthwhile?
Here are some ideas:
1. Equating worth with achievement is an arbitrary value system for which there is no objective support. The fact that you exist is just as important and is different from how you feel and what you do. While what we do may or may not be valuable it does not add or subtract from your value as a person.
2. How you live is important than what you do. It is important to acknowledge that what you do to improve yourself because it brings joy and fulfillment not because your value will increase somehow.
3. Who you are is important than what you do. Think of your positive qualities.
Lie #3: I HAVE to be a perfectionist
We learn about this lie as children too when we were rarely told that we did something right. We grow up knowing that we ourselves and those around us will only accept us if we are perfect. Anything less will be met with ridicule.
Some of the situations where this "need to be a perfectionist" can be a problem are:
- When we constantly complain about others and our situation.
- Where we made a mistake of some kind and cannot let it go.
- Where we don't understand something or someone's behavior and we go on and on about how the situation should instead be.
The Truth: Perfection is a trap. It keeps us unhappy, procrastinating and stagnant. It is impossible to achieve. Humans never do anything perfectly. Remember: Perfection is a direction, NOT a place.
What you can do to break from this lie?
1. Focus on the positive aspects of others or the situation.
2. If you find that you are nit-picking tell yourself that 100% is a trap to be constantly unsatisfied.
3. Practice seeing positive in others and things that you do.
4. Practice giving compliments. Be an encourager not a discourager.
I invite you to look into your own life and see how these lies actually persist in your every day thought patterns. Try some of these techniques to free yourself from the burden of these lies.
Sources: Overcoming Anxiety by Reneau Z. Peurifoy.