Have you ever been mindlessly surfing through Facebook and saw a post that just made you stop and rub your face and audibly guffaw in irritation? I am so very over seeing the women in my feed post things like, "I know I'm not pretty, and I've accepted that" or "I'm just a mess and no one will ever love me" or "I'm a waste of space and my life will always be trash". The first response of many is to attack these posts as attention seeking or fishing for compliments and while, in some cases this may ring true, for the vast majority, we are just seeing their internal voices blasted on social media. And, the more important thing we should be asking ourselves is why are our inner voices so damn mean?
Trust me, I've been there. I still struggle on the daily to shut down those negative, criticizing voices in my head, but it takes practice and vigilance and can absolutely change your life. Growth Mindset will set you free if you let it.
Growth Mindset is a buzz word I picked up from my last years as a high school English teacher. It's the idea that instead of investing in the notion that learning and growth are fixed, unchangeable, and often negative that learning and growth are positive and fluid experiences that we have the power to shape.
So, for example, the next time you try something new and it is an epic disaster, instead of thinking "I'm a failure" replace the thought with "I'm learning". When you feel like you don't have it all together, instead of saying "I'm a mess" say "I'm human". You are absolutely worthy of good things. Yes, you. And the universe isn't punishing you for being worthless or bad or stupid. Trust me on this. My name actually means bad luck, and I've spent the better part of 30 years arguing with myself on this, so I can confidently tell you that no matter what your internal voices are telling you - you are amazing and worthy and capable.
If there is someone in your life who makes you feel that you are less than, someone who tears you down or makes you question your worth or your sanity, cut them out. You do not need fuel on a toxic fire (if you feel trapped or threatened and need help, call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233).
Retraining your inner voice is work. And some days will absolutely be harder than others. Surround yourself with people who lift you up - in your life, in your social media feeds, in the music that rolls out of your phone. Find positive and inspiring groups like Conk's Community: Women Empowering Women. Go out of your way to make room for what makes you feel good and worthy. Stop putting yourself down, and second guessing yourself. When your head tells you, "You can't do this" answer back with, "I can, because I can do hard things".
Every time I see a woman tearing herself down, I want to grab her and hold her so tight. I want to climb on top of the tallest building I can find and yell at the top of my lungs, this is why I fight for women - for women's empowerment. I have been where you are. I still wrestle these demons, and I am here to tell you once and for all that you are enough.
Chase your dreams, find what makes you come alive, because you deserve to feel whole and fulfilled. You deserve to love yourself and your life. So, grab a pen and paper, and write down every negative thing that your internal voice tells you and then shut it down, weed it out, and plant something beautiful in it's place. "I'm ugly", no "I'm beautiful and I deserve to be around people who see that in me." Or, "I'm just a mess and no one will ever love me", no "I'm a work in progress and I deserve someone who loves me through all the stages of my journey." Or, "I'm a waste of space and my life will always be trash", no, "I'm a worthy person and I can build and shape the life that I deserve."
Teach your inner voice to be kind, to be supportive, to help you grow. One step at a time. Think of all those negative thoughts as weeds. Root them out and plant flowers, and eventually, the weeds will be less and your garden will thrive. Go out there and grow, now that you know anything is possible and you deserve everything you dare to dream.
I'm a blogger and educator breaking through stigmas and helping women find their voice.