It’s difficult to admit, but we are our own worst critics. Even when I successfully complete a task, I am often unable to enjoy my accomplishment. I focus on the mistakes I made and I use my energy to get angry about things I missed out. If by chance that task (you know the one with the mistakes that I just mentioned above) was done publicly, the self-beating will be on another level. Why in the world do we do this to ourselves? These empowering words will make you question your thinking.
Turn down your inner critic
For years, like a broken record, society has sternly taught us not to care what others say or even think about us. But what do we do when our greatest enemy is within? How do we kill or reform that over zealous critic taunting our efforts? How was this voice that never seems to be satisfied even brought into existence?
Did it have anything to do with the lies many of us accepted as children? You know the ones that were spoken over us by other children on the playground, in our youth, or even by adults. Lies telling us that we were bad, fat, ugly, not smart, etc. The ones that we ultimately took to mean that weren’t “enough.”
Take a walk down the aisle of your local grocery store and you’ll see that Hollywood and all top magazines are constantly redefining beauty by their standards. Honestly, you don’t even have to leave your house to see it. Just simply turn on your nearest TV and within moments you’ll experience these same standards. Many of us have already taken the bait and fallen for it too. We do this by trying every “loose weight fast” diet that’s trending, investing into plastic surgery, or buying the latest fashion in effort to “keep up with the Kardashians”
On the contrary, there’s nothing wrong with losing weight, enhancing your appearance, and treating yourself to nice clothes. The problems start when we do these things as a mask to cover up the pain, low self-esteem, and self-hate inside.
Right now, (and I do mean this very moment that you are reading this) is the time for us all to take back the right to defining our own beauty, self-esteem, and self-acceptance by force. It’s time to really speak to the hidden places of our hearts and minds and invest into our self-worth. This is the time to truly learn to love every part of ourselves again; the exceptional and the flawed. Let’s always strive to be better people in every area of our lives but let’s forsake the voice of condemnation while we do it.
The Production Effect is a scientific theory that states that we as humans are more likely to remember words that we speak aloud verses the ones we read silently. This theory also takes it a step further by suggesting we have an even higher chance of remembering words that are odd or unusual because they’re distinctive. In other words, we are, obtain, and believe, what we speak! This is extremely vital because if we are going to establish new belief systems, governed by the way we speak, we must become the authors of life spoken words. We will execute this by making our statements distinctive, life-spoken beliefs, that will take root in our minds and hearts as we confess them aloud.
Step 1: Sticky Notes of Hope
When we execute “Sticky Notes of Hope” it will always consist of three steps- Affirm, Challenge, and Reward. Start by purchasing several packs of Post-Its. Next, write yourself an encouraging message about something you’ve been battling. This is how we are going to make it distinctive. Try to think about an area you don’t normally encourage yourself in and start there. Write yourself a note with empowering words on it.
For instance, if you’ve been struggling like me to lose weight and you’d rather bypass the scale or a mirror- this is your area to start. When you write, always start by affirming yourself. When you write your first sticky note it should look something like this: “Here’s your morning reminder that you are AMAZING and I’m so grateful to have you in my life.”
Step 2: Invest in YOU
Now to some that might look or even sound super cheesy but there’s nothing cheesy about making time to invest in yourself. We invest countless hours into our spouses, children, careers, favorite sporting events and reality shows. We spend so much time doing these things that we’ve made it a complete crime to invest where it truly counts, ourselves. When is the last time that you told yourself how significant your contribution to this world is, or even showed yourself real gratitude? You matter. You are important.
On the second sticky note challenge yourself by setting a daily goal related to the same topic that you just affirmed yourself in. So it may read: “I challenge you to a 15 minute brisk walk before 8 pm today, do you dare to accept?” By giving yourself a deadline for your challenge (and also reading it aloud when you accept it), you will keep yourself accountable for accomplishing it.
The third sticky note should be a reward. Write something like this: “*HIGH-FIVE* You went out there and completed that walk like a PRO! Now Celebrate with your favorite ice cold drink.”
Stick them in places where you spend the bulk of your time
Make it fun, simple, and be as creative as possible.
Read them ALOUD
Another empowering belief that we must hold on to is forgiveness. No matter how painful, betraying, or awful the circumstances are of another’s offense or trespass towards us, we must use it to make us better and not bitter. We do this by exercising forgiveness.
As I mentioned before, I am nowhere near perfect, and because of this I don’t need anything blocking God’s continual flow of forgiveness towards me. How many times have I stuck my foot in my mouth, made mistakes, or have offended others without meaning to or even knowing?
“Unforgiveness” is categorized in medical textbooks as a disease? Or that statistically, 61 percent of patients with various cancers have forgiveness issues? Dr. Steven Standiford, a Chief Surgeon at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, says, “Refusing to forgive makes people sick and keeps them that way.” Hospitals have even introduced “Forgiveness Therapy“ to help patients dealing with all types of diseases and illnesses.
When we forgive others, we release ourselves from being held hostage by pain. When we forgive- we set ourselves free.
Release worry and fear
Let’s be honest, how many of us are worriers? How many of us have allowed fear to play a larger role in our lives than its supposed to? Me- I definitely have.
Peter 5:7 (the New Living Translation) in the Holy Bible says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
The constant fear and worry in our lives are not only blocking many of our blessings, it’s preventing us from being our true selves.
The Mayo Clinic even reports that anxiety can play a role in high blood pressure. Sometimes, we have to shut off the news and reports of constant international terror and breathe. Many of us don’t even know what it means to relax. When is the last time you had a nice deep massage or just soaked in a relaxing warm bath? Have you meditated recently?
I have found that I do most of my worrying at night before I go to sleep. This makes me anxious, antsy, unable to sleep, and I find my thoughts racing about any and everything it can. To silence it, I’ve created a “Casting My Cares On You God Box” and keep it on my nightstand beside my bed.
At night, I write out my worries, fears, and concerns (or whatever is on my mind) on small pieces of paper. As I then insert them into the container I do it with the commitment that I’m giving it over to God for Him to handle. Therefore it becomes His responsibility to take care of it, not mine. After doing this for weeks, I’ve found myself resting more peacefully and having an outlet to release the nervous tension built up inside.