You are not good enough. You did it wrong. You keep failing. Why do you even try?
These are some common statements that tend to creep up in my mind when something doesn’t go as planned, whether that be not doing as well as I hoped on a test, missing a workout, or not reaching a career goal in my desired timeline. I find myself feeling alone, isolated, embarrassed, and loathing myself. Unfortunately, this can turn into a sort of vicious cycle that can be unhealthy and ultimately, does a lot more harm than good. However, as I grow older, gain more experience, and learn more about the world in which I live, handling failure has become a bit easier (thank goodness.)
Coming up with an easy 5-step path to self-love would be nice, but really, it’s just 100% unrealistic. We are all going to have bad days, expected or not. The best we can do is work on ourselves daily. Here are a few tips that have helped me on my journey to self-love and productivity.
Be Humble (While Sitting Down?)
In the wise words of Kendrick Lamar, be humble! And by humble, I mean be modest and accepting of others.
In today’s day and age, it can be so easy to get caught up in ourselves: our own goals, dreams, worries, and doubts. But once you step outside of yourself and see the world and other people as an extension of ourselves, I think it is easier for us to not only connect to other people but also our own sense of humanity. This allows us to hear other people’s problems, worries, and failures, which is important for many reasons: 1. We can relate to other people and learn from their experience. 2. It allows us to take a break from our own issues. (This may sound weird, but mental breaks are SO important.) 3. It makes our own issues/failures seem smaller and less burdensome.
It can really put things into perspective when we talk it out, and hey, this is the perfect excuse to go grab a cup of coffee with a good friend, which is always a good idea!
Balance is Important
I’m all for having a goal and working hard to achieve that goal, even knowing that there are high costs. I get it, really I do. We all have dreams and want them to come true. However, there comes a point, a line, a wall, where I think it is incredibly important for us to take a step back.
This “barrier” separates two areas: productive and healthy versus self-harming. This can apply to small and large goals, which is why I think balance is important in our daily lives. Everyone is different. We all have different schedules, careers, beliefs, and priorities. However, we all need to give ourselves time everyday to find a sense of peace.
For example, instead of sitting in the library for 9 hours straight studying for an exam, split it up into two 4 hour sessions and go to a cycling class in between. Personally, every morning I give myself 15 minutes where I make a cup of coffee (which is something I really enjoy consuming) and delve into self-reflection mode. This can vary from reading a devotional, doing some yoga, or walking my dog, Bella (she is a golden retriever & practically perfect in every way.)
Understand that Everything is Temporary
I think knowing this and reiterating it to myself daily helps me see things clearer and with a more open heart.
You may have days where everything seems to be falling apart, you are being knocked down repeatedly, and you just can’t see that light that is suppose to guide you. But, guess what? It’s temporary. The moment, the hour, the day passes, and you use your strength to pick yourself back up. Heck, you may even fly over that mountain that you thought was WAY too high to hike the day before.
Understand that you are in control of how you live your life, but not everything is in your control. I think this is one of the more difficult things to believe because we as humans are always living in the moment. It is difficult to think that “this too shall pass” when we are stuck in a thunderstorm, but just remember, the sun always rises (sometimes with a beautiful rainbow if you are lucky!)
LET IT GO (Cue Frozen Soundtrack) & Try Again
When we put so much work into something, we are depending on that outcome to be our reward. Our expectations are high. We are longing for that “A” grade, that promotion, or maybe just some recognition, and when we don’t get it…well what does that mean?
Here is the crucial part. Our outlook on the situation needs to be focused on looking ahead instead of dissecting the reason behind the poor outcome. This would be the easiest time to give up and throw in the cards. However, giving up won’t get you any closer to your desired outcome. It’s only going to make you wish you never gave up in the first place later down the road. Tell yourself you are worth it (because you are), and that you no matter how long it takes or how many more obstacles you have to climb over, you are going to do it. You may fail again and again. However, SOMETHING good will come out of your efforts, and that is better than the nothing that would have come out of giving up.
The world rewards good work, and as my main man Walt Disney once said, “all our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Be Proud of Yourself as a Whole
I realize this may seem like a contradictory statement to “be humble”, but here is where I think balance again comes into play.
For anyone who has a dream in this world, there are many factors that go into play when making those dreams a reality. Dreams take hard work, passion, confidence, desire, love, sacrifice, time, patience, will, and even luck. You can imagine how difficult it can be to have all the stars aligned in order to make your dream come true, but yet, it happens everyday. This is because we are durable human beings with hopes of a better tomorrow.
If you are a dreamer or a dream achiever, be proud of yourself. You have come a long way and are worthy of your dream. You are a gift to this world. If you have failed, try and try again, and most importantly, don’t forget to love yourself along the way.
Sooo, technically those were 5 “steps” that I told you earlier were impossible to follow, but really these are more of mantras or beliefs that I try to instill in my own life to live a happier, healthier, and more productive lifestyle. Of course, I still make mistakes all the time. I’m not perfect; no one is. Failure still can mess with my confidence, but when I hear that voice creeping back, I know what to do now. I don’t let it define me. I know who I am and what I am capable of. I am strong. I am worthy. I am a dreamer…and so are you.