Bad Habit #18 ~ Negatively Self Labeling
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!