Enough With Self-Deprecation

Woman looking in mirror smiling

There are big white fluffy flakes of snow falling and I’m sitting in the coffee shop writing. The weather calls for jazz and the piped in music today is definitely not jazz, so Diana Krall is crooning through my earbuds while I sip on my steamed milk over a chai tea bag. There I’ve set the scene.

Woman looking in the mirror and smilingEven as my work hours increase I’m sticking to having at least one date with myself a week to write a blog post. I’ve also done quite well with my daily habits for the past couple of weeks.

This morning was the 15th day in a row that I meditated using the Calm app. I’ve been doing the 21 days of Calm, which guides me through a progression of meditations with ideas that build upon each other. This mornings meditation focused on catching yourself before self-defeating thoughts take hold. This might be thoughts about others that often lead to negative reactions like yelling, storming out of the room, gossiping, etc., or self-deprecating thoughts about yourself.

I’m accomplished in my career, I think I’m a pretty good parent most of the time, I’m fit, yada yada, but confidence often alludes me. Sometimes this is just confidence in particular situations, and sometimes it’s more of an overall crisis of confidence, something I’ve been struggling with the past few months. My logical side can tick off all of my accomplishments, I can even go back to a post  I wrote about six months ago on this very topic and see what I wrote then, but there’s also that nagging feeling that tells me I actually suck at X, Y, and Z because I was either never good at them or I may have been good at them at one point and I’m not anymore. Honestly, we all have both those smaller and larger experiences with a lack of confidence, where we tell ourselves that we’re not good at something or have some overall faults that mean we’re just not good at anything. Some of you are probably even nodding along as you read this.

Getting caught  up in these thoughts are anything but useful so I’m trying (trying being the key word here) the following things:

  • As the meditation lesson taught this morning, it’s important to try to catch those thoughts before letting them take hold and ruminating on or believing them.
  • As my therapist recommended, confront those self-deprecating thoughts and pick them apart to smaller bits that can be refuted or dealt with in some constructive way.
  • Finally, there is the widespread advice that if you won’t say that shit to your friends or loved ones, do not say such things to yourself.

For more than a year I’ve had a section in my daily planner where I write down my “wins” for the day and my “lessons”. Notice that they’re lessons, not losses, or screw ups, but lessons. Okay, so I made mistakes, this is what I need to learn from them. Oh, and I designate a bigger space for my “wins” and try to list as many things, even small things as I can, which I think is a good habit.

I am by far my biggest critic, which is fine. It keeps my ego in check, but when that critic gets too harsh, too mean even, it needs to be knocked back to an appropriate, healthy perspective.

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