“God I’m such an idiot”, you think to yourself as you get an email back from your boss pointing out the things missing from your weekly report.
“Of course I can’t find my way there! I’m so stupid”, you worry as you finish giving directions to a friend.
Do these thoughts sound familiar to you? Whether they happen every once in a while or more often than you care to admit, thoughts like these can be very destructive and unhelpful.
Most importantly, thoughts like those above are often wholly inaccurate. If you check the facts of the situation, it is likely you are not an idiot or stupid. If we define intelligence by IQ, as long as you have a certain IQ you are in fact, by definition, not stupid or an idiot. Sure, you may make mistakes more often than you would like. It is also possible that you get a negative review at work. However, even in the face of these circumstances, perpetuating the mindset that you are something that is literally, factually wrong is completely unhelpful. Common sense tells us that if you walk through your life with such a negative view of yourself, it is going to be very difficult to feel good about yourself and to feel positive about your life.
So what do you do about it?
Well the first step has to be to believe in your heart, even if you struggle day to day, that you are not what your negative mindset tries to tell you that you are. This can be a hard one as it means you have to challenge your basic perceptions of yourself that may have existed for quite a long time.
The second step is just to notice. How often do you think you have these thoughts? My guess is it is much more often than you think. Once you learn to notice when these unhelpful thoughts creep their way in to your mind, you can use that awareness to start to empower yourself to think differently.
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