Monday, October 18, 2010

You Are Your Worst Enemy

"You are good for nothing!" Sounds familiar?

You feel discouraged when someone criticizes you. The feeling is hardly a nice one even when the criticism is given constructively.

Ironically, you are usually your own worst critic and very often you are being nonconstructive. Sometimes, you would condemn yourself based on the slightest flaw and sometimes, without any reason at all. All these could be done while you are having inner dialogs with yourself.


All of us have our unique mannerism when we talk. This is because we have developed certain habits over the years. Similarly, when you have negative inner dialogs with yourself, you are 'talking' in a manner that you have shaped over the years. Put it simply, it is a bad habit that you have acquired and most likely, you are unaware of it.

The problem is, this critic in you can be very damaging. You would not want to let it take control over you.

There are a few things you can start doing:

1. Be Aware

Many people are not aware that they have been talking in a harsh way to themselves. Pay more attention to the way you talk to yourself from now on. Start noticing the main triggers for such negative inner dialogs.

2. Accept

Accept that you have negative thoughts. In fact, there is nothing wrong with having such thoughts. The point that we are trying is address is managing the frequency of having such thoughts compared to positive ones.

3. Associate

Once you are able to recognize your negative thoughts, connect them to your behaviors. Take notice of how such thoughts lead to negatives emotions and actions. Do you feel nervous? Do you stammer? Do you become a person you like less?

4. Replace

Ask yourself what is the behavior you prefer whenever you think negatively. Instead of shouting at someone, what should replace that? Instead of feeling butterflies in your stomach, how should you feel?

5. Pause

The next time you have the same negative thoughts, learn to pause between your thoughts and actions. When you are 'practicing', count to ten if you like. Give a brief thought over it and replace your behavior with the one you prefer.

6. Neutralize

It is alright to have negative thoughts so long as they are not the predominant ones. Each time you have one negative thought, have more positive ones to neutralize your state of mind. Be prepared to challenge your negative thoughts and ask if they are rational, objective and fair.

 7. Practise

Practise, practise and practise. Just like your bad habits, you can also turn good behaviors into habits.  During this time, you might occasionally slip into your old self. Let it be. Do not condemn yourself for doing that and continue to practise. Practice makes perfect.

8. Check

Even when you have acquired the right habits of managing your inner dialogs and behaviors, do not stop there. Good habits require 'maintenance'. Do check if you continue to behave in the manner you prefer. Keep your awareness in check so that you do not become who you were unknowingly.

9. Improve

Everyone can always do better. Ask if your preferred behavior can be improved. Look around for 'better behavior' and attempt to emulate. Continue to maintain your awareness and continue to improve.

10. Celebrate

Finally, each time you find yourself doing well, do not forget to give yourself a pat on the shoulder. Encouragement does not always have to come from others.

Mark Twain once said "I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." He is right. Our negative thoughts are often futile. They almost never bring about anything useful. It is the positive ones that would propel you.

Be realistic. Good habits do not come by overnight. See this as a form of training, one that will eventually translates your thoughts into confidence and resilience.

If you are having negative thoughts about what is said so far, go back to point 1.

"Worry is like a rocking chair,
It gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere." 
~Glenn Turner~

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Ms Demeanour said...

You are so right - we are our own worst enemy and need to constantly keep our mind trained to make sure it doesn't get the better of us!

Quotes weird witty said...

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