Years ago I had to do one of those personality tests as part of a team building exercise at the job I had at the time. Each person in the office had their results reviewed by the session leader in front of the entire group (much to some of my colleagues chagrin!). When it was my turn, I was told that I was my own worst enemy. At the time, I was a bit taken aback – what was that supposed to mean? It was explained that while I was quite capable of doing any task assigned, I didn’t have the confidence in my own abilities and it was holding me back.
To be honest, this should not have been a surprise. Self confidence and self esteem had not been strong characteristics for me. It has taken a lot of work and learning how to quiet the steady flow of negative self talk for me to rebuild my belief in myself.
I know that low self esteem and self confidence were not always issues for me. When I look back at pictures of myself striking a pose and loving the camera I wonder how it is possible that I now don’t want a camera pointed in my direction, and no picture of me is a good one! When I take the time to reflect, I am amazed at how much I allowed the opinions of others to affect me in such a deep and long lasting way!
Wayne Dyer has a quote that I love to paraphrase: “The opinions of others are none of my business.” How true is that? It is so easy to blame the words and thoughts of others for how we perceive ourselves, but the reality is we have a choice as to whether or not we allow those things to affect us.
I can’t even blame my low perception of myself on how others thought of me. I was also my own worst critic. My negative self talk was like a bad radio station with no commercial breaks. Whether it was my appearance or my performance at work, I was not my biggest cheerleader. I had come to a place in my life where I felt that nothing I did was good enough, and when I was given feedback that reinforced that belief, it was too easy to take it personally rather than feedback that I could use to improve myself.
I’ve learned to quiet the peanut gallery in my head with a variety of tools, such as mediation, affirmations and mirror work. I have found that meditation is a great way for me to quiet the mind; I started with guided meditations to drown out the internal chatter. Affirmations have also been a great way to combat negative self talk – affirming that all is well and I AM amazing! Mirror work allows me to review all of the positive things that have happened in my day and finish it off by looking myself in the eye and telling myself I Love You! I have also built up a great library of books and MP3s that provide tools and a great blast of positivity whenever I need it!
I am no longer my own worst enemy and am doing my best to be my biggest cheerleader at all times! ♥
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