In the prior post (Beat Down The Monday Morning Funk), the topic of being our own worst critic was mentioned. We’ll cover that now…
We all, at one or more points in our lives, have been our own worst critic.
To be clear, this is GOOD when our conscience is our guide and we are being reminded that we are off track and need to make a course correction. We certainly do not want to stifle this.
In this post we’ll cover the times when we unnecessarily beat ourselves up, for no good reason!
Have you noticed the CONSTANT dialog going on in your mind every minute, of every day? The question becomes: Is this inner dialog positive, uplifting, appropriately guiding and correcting our course or is it unnecessary, negative thinking?
Scenarios that can cause unnecessary, negative thinking include times when we:
- Compare ourselves to others
- Take things way too seriously
- Consider aspects of our duties (school, work, home, church) as menial (below us)
- Have nothing else to occupy our powerhouse mind – at the time
Realize, you are not alone. EVERY person on this planet has experienced this. The point is, we can control our thinking to create more positive outcomes in our lives.
Let’s now cover each of the scenarios that often generate negative thinking…
Comparing Ourselves to Others
There are 2 aspects of this scenario…
First, we’ve all measured ourselves against the great qualities in others whom we interact with on a daily basis. It is not bad to admire the qualities of others, even aspiring to improve ourselves. But, we must not beat ourselves up, as this person may be much further down their path of personal development, knowledge and experience.
Instead, we must give ourselves time. And, we must not forget that we have great qualities ourselves, that others may struggle with. In fact, others are looking on at us doing the same comparison resulting in the generation of their own negative thinking. Yep, it goes both ways.
I’m not suggesting that we should be prideful or boastful about our great qualities. Instead, we should simply acknowledge that each of us have God-given talents, skills and abilities. By focusing on and making best use of our own gifts, and continuously developing these and other gifts we wish to acquire, we will achieve our goals and dreams in a more timely manner.
The second aspect of this relates to the media’s portrayal of celebrities.
Have you noticed that, during talk shows, the host and their guests appear super-jovial (cheerful, jolly, happy, cheery, good-humored, outgoing, etc.). They “act” as if they had just won the lottery and everything said is a reason to laugh hilariously. Realize: this is NOT real. They are JUST LIKE you and me. While they may have achieved some big things with their talents and abilities, they have the same problems and challenges we do.
Think about this. At a very high-level, there are only a handful of human dramas, relating to the loss of:
- Love (relationships)
- Life (loved one’s passing)
- Health (physical or mental)
- Material resources (financial or otherwise)
Any of the above can lead to the loss of self-esteem (confidence in one’s own worth) if we consider these to be unique situations that only apply to us. Woe is me! No, no, no.
Every person on the planet has or will struggle with these human dramas in some form or fashion. So, as hard as it may seem, don’t take it personal. You are NOT alone!
Taking Things Way Too Seriously
Several months ago one of my sons and I were talking about his day at work (at a well-known coffee shop). He was observing that the shift supervisor was freaking out due to the volume of customers on a Saturday morning and a few mistakes made with orders.
The mental state of the shift supervisor would seem to have suggested that there was a dying patient lying on a table who needed immediate treatment and no-one was paying attention. To which my son said (in his mind) – “It is ONLY coffee.”
In saying this he wasn’t suggesting that he, or anyone else, should shirk their duties. What he WAS doing was appropriately guiding his inner dialog so that he too didn’t get all stressed out. So proud of my son 🙂
Have you heard of the fight or flight response? Psychologists tell us that this is a physiological reaction that occurs (to all creatures, humans included) in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. And, this results in our mind creating a “hormonal cascade” affecting how we react to stress.
It is suggested that we, in the civilized world, have few situations that would qualify as a harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. As such, we need to make sure we don’t unnecessarily “light up” this fight or flight response resulting in us taking things way too seriously.
We’ll begin this scenario with an inspiring quote:
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’ – Martin Luther King
Gives me goose bumps!
We will all, at times, have tasks or duties that are the equivalent of sweeping streets.
Do you remember the movie Karate Kid? Wipe on, wipe off. The kid was nearly going out of his mind to the point of rebelling against the master because he did not understand why he was being asked to do all those menial chores.
Over time, it became clear to all of us. Each task assigned by the master served to build the kid’s character, discipline, knowledge and abilities.
Quite a good life lesson for all of us. That is, EVERYTHING being learned in school or experienced in our job is serving to increase our knowledge and abilities – for the next. We may not know why it matters or how we will use the experience. Just realize – we will! There is a purpose for everything under the sun! Otherwise, it simply would not be…
As such, let’s perform each of our assigned duties to the best of our ability! And, realize that it serves a greater purpose – ALWAYS.
Our mind is a powerhouse. It wants / needs something to chew on. If we have something productive to think about our mind will run with it. And, given human nature, if we don’t have anything to productively occupy our mind it is very easy to plant and run with a negative thought (as outlined above).
What is a person to do? Control our inner dialog and focus on what we want to “bring forth” into our lives.
Since this post is already too long, I’ll close-out with a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED reading that directly relates to what we’ve covered here:
Make this a Christmas gift, to yourself! You’ll be glad you did!