Bad Habit #18 ~ Negatively Self Labeling
Everybody talks to themselves. Are you polite when you do? Are you kind to yourself, as kind as you are to other people? Or are you your own worst enemy?
When you think of yourself, what kinds of self-descriptors do you use? Do you have a drawer full of negative labels that you use on a regular basis – tags like I’m disorganized, or unattractive, or clumsy? Our perception is our reality.
So many of us have the destructive habit of using labels – extreme black-or-white categories – to evaluate their personal characteristics, sometimes at the rate of dozens of times a day.
Each time you apply the label becomes one more “proof” to you that you indeed ARE inferior or inadequate in the ways the label suggests. The label itself also designates you as a “finished product,” destined to remain as you are all the days of your life, with no room for growth or change.
Perhaps it’s time to take Don Drapers advice (Mad Men). Don’s famous line is “When you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation”. Perhaps it’s time for us to change the conversation.
Yep…guilty. I don’t do this all the time, but I do do it on occasion. My negative labels come from a place of self-doubt. And usually the labeling has to do with not being as good at…smart as…that kind of thing. This was a behavior I developed when I was much younger…who knows exactly when…and the vast majority of the behavior has been analyzed and worked on.
When I catch myself doing this – and I wasn’t able to catch myself years ago – I stop and take a breath and mentally push away from what I’m doing. If I’m with somebody I trust, I discuss what’s going through my head to clear out the cobwebs. Again, like other issues I’m working on, once the thought and anxiety are exposed in the clear light of day, they have less power to distract me and make me doubt myself. I look to determine which way it’s coming from: is the thought triggering anxiety or is anxiety triggering the thought. In any case I pull up my bootstraps, take a breath, calm my mind and think about the things that I do well. Yep…working hard on being less stressed and more happy!
What’s the saying? You can never be rich enough or thin enough? Please! I spent a lot of years thinking I was fat…I look back at pictures of me during that time and think, Oh man, you wasted a lot of thin years thinking you were fat. I spent a lot of time comparing myself to others, why didn’t I have what they had?
Although, I’m not guilty of labels, I’m more guilty of negative thinking…about myself. Not believing in myself. Caring too much about what others think. My new resolution is to develop positive affirmations when I slump into this thinking. Not giving myself enough credit for what I can do is as bad as self labeling….I’m working on it!
“I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough and Doggone It, People Like Me!”
Remember this quote by ”Stuart Smalley” who was portrayed by Al Franken on Saturday Night Live? This comes into my mind when when I have moments of self doubt…and it puts a smile on my face.
It makes me wonder if SENATOR Al Franken ever uses this affirmation to keep himself “on track.”
Ha! I do remember Stuart Smalley! Any time I use the word affirmation I think of him. And if he can be voted into the Senate, I certainly can get through the grocery store!
Sue – I remember “Affirmations” with Stuart Smalley very well. It was always a good skit and somewhat rooted in our own personal insecurities and crazy self talk. Thank you for a trip down memory lane!
I’m not convinced on this one. I walk into furniture and door frames rather frequently and trip over cracks in the sidewalk. If I thought of myself as graceful, how would I reconcile that to the bruises all over my legs? I don’t think being clumsy makes me a bad person. I’d rather embrace my quirks than try to convince myself I don’t have them. They’re part of me, but they don’t define me.
Ginger Kay recently posted…Passport to Dream
Ah, but you see you are already embracing this idea…You have just decided to love that part of your being – instead of criticizing it! This, I believe, is the most healthiest of all!
Ok – this cracks me up…because I can relate. The difference is realizing I’m not one of God’s most graceful creatures, however, after I’ve run my shin into the open dishwasher door twice in 15 mins, I don’t self-talk with “you big, big dummy! you’re a clod and not too bright since this is the 2nd time you’ve run into that!” I realize it for what it is….an oops with no self condemnation. Thank you for your comment…I loved it!