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There’s this inner voice that likes to sneak into my consciousness sometimes that I’m not fond of. She'll come marching into the forefront of my thoughts like she owns the place, ranting about what I’m doing wrong, what I’m not doing good enough, points out all of the imperfections I have, and loves to compare me to others in a way that doesn’t feel good. I have a name for her. She’s my inner bitch. I know I’m not alone here, call it what you want, but we’ve all got one.
I’ve worked really hard over the years to quiet my inner bitch, to correct her when I’m hearing the kind of inner talk that isn’t supportive of me, and I’ve come a long way. I’ve practiced being more conscious of my thoughts, correcting any negative self talk, and this has done wonders in building self love, and improving my ever-growing relationship with myself. I almost forget the inner bitch is there sometimes because I don’t hear from her that often these days. However, there are still times that she sneaks in, takes over, and I find myself in a place of comparing myself to others which inevitably leaves me not feeling as great about myself as I should.
I recently had to spend a little time correcting and putting my inner bitch back in her place, and while doing so, something occurred to me in a big way. It occurred to me that our comparing ourselves to others has been hugely impacted by social media.
Let’s be real here. We are living in an age when a lot of what we know about other people’s lives is what we absorb from social media, rather than direct contact.
The thing is, what most people post online is the bright, successful, fun side of their lives that they really want us to see. We all want to be seen as rocking the hell out of life, right?
Of course, there are some that use social media as a place to ‘air their dirty laundry’ or express their troubles and seek out the empathy & connection that we all crave as humans, via the internet. But think about it. For the most part, what people post online is what they WANT the world to see about them.
Now think about the position that puts us in if our inner bitch has a habit of comparing us to others. We are sitting in our real life which is has really good stuff going, but along with it are the shadows, the daily struggles, the screw ups, the times we lose our temper, say things we wish we wouldn’t have, or whatever else comes up. From that place of realness in our own life, we view the outer, pretty layer of everyone’s lives that they want us to see. I think for many people this creates an environment for the inner bitch to speak up and start to compare.
Everyone we are connected to on social media, whether they are celebrities & businesses you follow or whether it’s your family & friends, are putting out there mostly just what they are proud of in their life. They show us the fun they are having, the beautiful family & friends pictures, the vacations, the successes….The majority of people put out there what they WANT the world to see, and leave the rest in real life, not broadcasting it on the internet.
So when we take all of this in at the fast pace that many of us do, it’s easy to forget that beneath the shiny outer polish is real life for everyone.
Here’s where the problem comes in. We end up comparing the not so perfect inner workings of our lives with the outer, polished versions of everyone else’s. This is unrealistic, but we can fall for this, and the inner bitch can have a hay-day with it.
My intention in writing this is just to bring awareness. Ask yourself if this behavior of comparing is something that you find yourself participating in?
If so, bring awareness to it. If you are aware of it, that gives you the opportunity to correct it.
Know that beneath the outer polish of every online life you view is real life with real struggles.
Know that we are all on a journey of continual growth.
Know that you are entirely perfect, just where you are right now, imperfections & all.
When that inner bitch pipes up, tell her she’s no longer welcome, and call the inner cheerleader out for some talk about how awesome you are, because it’s true. You are awesome.
There are 7 billion people in the world, and no one is just like you. Embrace the beauty of your uniqueness, and practice speaking to yourself like you would anyone else in your life that you love.
Quiet that comparative inner bitch, and start feeding the inner cheerleader. If you find yourself comparing, know that when you see the polished lives of others broadcast online, that underneath the polish is a real life with imperfections and struggles just like everyone else.
Give yourself the gift of love and loving self talk.
It takes practice, and It can change everything in your life.
Wishing you wellness,
I invite you to take a moment. Close your eyes, and picture a cup sitting in front of you filled to the halfway mark. How do you see it? Be honest with yourself….Do you have a tendency towards the glass half empty or the glass half full feeling?
Positivity, like many things in life, is a habit. Negativity is habit as well. Regardless of what kind of influences we had growing up, or what kind of circumstances we've faced in our lives, positivity and negativity are still habits.
Habits are things we have control over. They can sometimes take a lot of effort to change, but they are totally changeable if we have the desire to do so.
There’s a quote by Charles Swindle that I remind myself of often:
“We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
The ability to hold a ‘glass half full’ attitude can change how everything feels in life. It can take a multitude of shitty situations feel like opportunities for growth, and blessings in disguise. Research has clearly shown that a negative outlook on life can contribute to everything from depression to heart disease to lowered immune system function. It can affect sleep, weight maintenance, the quality of your relationships, your social life, and even your ability to hold a job.
I could write a book about this subject here, but my intention in writing this today is simply 2 things.
First, I’d like you to take a good look at yourself and really ask yourself how you are doing in this area? On a scale of 1-10, how positive would you say you are? Where do you struggle with keeping your attitude positive?
Secondly, I want to offer some practices that you can incorporate into your life, to create a habit of positivity. Even if you do feel like you are someone who is mostly on the positive side, how can you bring that to a 10? Life is a continual learning process, and I’m all about continual positive personal growth.
So, how can we foster more positivity in our lives? Here are some suggestions, and things to ponder:
- Keep a gratitude journal. Every evening list at least 5 things that you were grateful for in your day. Gratitude creates happiness & positivity.
- Practice giving compliments! Give them away freely. Purposely look for the good in others. Praise the people you interact with. Give strangers compliments! Be sure these are genuine compliments, but give them away freely! Make a point to do so several times daily.
- Share good news. Have something good going on? Tell people about it! Studies show that sharing happy events bring more happiness! On the flip side of that, ask the people in your life what's good with them? We can all have a tendency towards wanting to share the things we are struggling with. Practice focusing more on the positives in your conversations.
- Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. This includes the conversations and the daydreams you have all day!
- Purposefully spend more time around others that have glass half full attitudes, and restrict your time with those that have a glass half empty attitude. Just as you are what you eat, to a certain degree, you are who you spend time with as well!
- Practice correcting negative thoughts. Try to commit to this for a day or a week to start, and build on it. Whenever you find yourself thinking a negative thought, try to flip it around. Find the blessing in disguise, or the lesson in the struggle, or something positive surrounding whatever you are feeling negative about. Perhaps something awful happened in your day. Maybe losing your job creates the space for you to explore a career you’ve been to afraid to make the leap towards? There is a positive side to everything. Find it. Flip it.
maintaining a positive attitude takes practice. Like anything else that takes practice, the more you do it, the more easy it becomes. Positivity becoming second nature for you, creates a life that is healthier and happier. So yes, it’s absolutely worth the effort!