Emotions/Healthy Mind/My Life/Teen Life Please Stop Trash-Talking Yourself by Kelly Colangelo We’re definitely our own worst enemy sometimes. Things we’d forgive in others, we can’t forgive in ourselves. We also often hold ourselves up to a much higher standard than what we expect from others. All of us, at some time or another, struggle with an inner voice that is critical, negative and even harsh. Sometimes it sounds like this: “I can’t handle x situation.” “I’m a loser.” “I’ll never succeed.” “I’m too fat, skinny, short, tall, dark, light…” “That girl/guy is so out of my league.” “I’ll never be [good, pretty, smart, cool, talented] enough.” “I’m an idiot.” “I don’t have what it takes to accomplish what I want.” There’s a good chance you’ve uttered these words or similar words at some point, out loud or in your head. And while it’s common – it doesn’t mean it’s okay. What do you do when this negativity surfaces? What do you do when you’re trash-talking yourself? Confide the Negativity Tell a trusted friend, a parent, a teacher, a youth minister, a priest and most of all tell JESUS how you feel. Why is this necessary? Because if you keep all the negativity stuffed inside, it just builds up and makes you feel worse. You need to be heard and allow someone you trust and respect to speak truth in your life. What are the negative stories you’ve been telling yourself? Speak them so you can move beyond the distortions and have room to hear the positive and encouraging messages from others. Memorize Psalm 139 This psalm speaks of God’s absolute and sovereignty over our lives. God made us, fashioned us, sees into the depth of our very being and knows every one of our days long before he ever made us. This Psalm is clear that none of us are an accident or a mistake. Each of us is known to God, willed by God, and loved by God unconditionally. Start Your Day With Affirmations An affirmation is something you say to encourage someone, in this case, yourself. It may feel weird and you may not believe it at first, but start your day with a positive note to yourself; you can read this aloud or you can save this message on the homescreen of your phone. An example of an affirmation is: “I believe in myself.” “I am worthy of love.” Stop Comparing Yourself Almost everyone does this, and it’s destructive to our self esteem. Judging yourself against someone else regardless of whether it’s their looks, grades, personality, or achievements, will always leave you unsatisfied. Comparisons deprive us of joy. They add no value, meaning or fulfillment to our lives. If you feel tempted to compare or feel jealous of certain qualities in another, first thank God for the gift of the other person, the goodness in others, and respond with gratitude for the way He’s created others. And remember there is only one you and God delights in who you are. Forgive Yourself Focusing on poor decisions and mistakes from the past doesn’t help. Rather, strive to understand how you can do better next time. We all have shortcomings. We are human. There’s a difference between recognizing our faults without wallowing in them. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation Jesus forgives our sins, why can’t we? As we run to the Father of endless mercy, let’s be kind to ourselves in the process. Let’s be real, being super critical of yourself is never helpful. It only facilitates the vicious cycle of believing the lies we tell ourselves: I’m worthless, I’m a failure, I’m dumb, and the lost goes on. Next time you’re trash talking yourself – stop, confide in a trusted friend, read Scripture, affirm yourself and forgive yourself. You’ll be more peaceful and joyful, I promise.