The Toxicity of Self-Doubt

Self-Doubt has been on my mind a lot lately. Well, more accurately and honestly… I’ve been doubting myself a lot lately. I try extremely hard to be good to myself, to go easy on myself, to practice self-care, and to remind myself that I am human. That I cannot be a superhuman version of perfection — but damn if it isn’t easy for that self-doubt to slip into my daily thoughts. It’s not so easy when you scroll through photos of models, or friends on grand European adventures, finishing marathons, getting promotions. It’s easy to self-doubt. And it is SO bad for you.

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A few days ago I had “one of those mornings”… I slept a little bit too late, no time to shower, hair was lookin’ a greasy mess. “COOL Joanna way to time manage…” Nothing to wear. “I hate all of my clothes” Finally picked something…”Why are these pants so tight? Why am I HUGE” Started sweating because I was rushing, contributing to the greasy hair and haphazard makeup. Stubbed my toe. My cat scratched me. “DAMNIT COCONUT MY ARM IS A WAR ZONE” Finally finished getting ready, looked in the mirror and uttered a few rude things to myself on the way out the door. “Have a good day at work YOU SWEATY ELEPHANT”

Haha. Like, what the hell? How did we get here?

I always apologize to myself after having one of these mornings – which got me thinking… We’re really in a relationship with ourselves. Our consciousness with our body. And what if we treated it that way?

If I treated my boyfriend like I treated myself that morning – I would be boyfriendless. Imagine if you said those things that you say to your own body to one of your friends. “Wow, you look gross.” Seriously, you would lose all of your friends, because that is a toxic relationship. So why is it okay to treat ourselves that way? Well, obviously it’s not. But we do it anyways. So how can we do it less? I believe that by shifting the way you see your consciousness and your body – as individual parts of a relationship with your whole self – you can start practicing more self-care and less self-doubt. Just like in a real relationship, you have take care of one another. You have to give love to receive love – and it is the same with your body and mind.

Here are some ways I remind myself to practice self-care, and avoid self-doubt. 

Don’t bring others down because of your own insecurities. 

This sounds like something that only bullies from Mean Girls do – but truthfully it is more common than you’d think, and even nice people do it. Do you ever catch yourself criticizing someone’s outfit in your mind? Whether it’s because a girl’s dress is super tight, or it’s so overtly “trendy”… stop and think – “Why am I bringing them down?” Often it’s out of jealousy – and that’s just toxic. Somebody else’s beauty doesn’t detract from your own beauty. And true beauty is happiness. Compliment, don’t compare.

Create a Body-Shame-Free Zone

This is a hard one. And it’s unrealistic to think that you will love every inch of your body every single second, BUT if you set some boundaries for yourself, you’ll really see a difference. Whether it means getting your roommates to agree not to body shame while you’re all getting ready, or only allowing yourself to look in the mirror once or twice before heading out the door… take some steps to breaking the cycle of scrutinizing yourself under a mean-girl microscope.

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Don’t Panic

If you’re skin is breaking out, you gained a little winter weight, or your hair is feeling extra damaged. Don’t panic. Take a breath, and remember that skin clears up, weight can be lost, and your hair will grow. One of my favorite phrases to remember is “start where you are” —- It’s such a nice reminder. If you feel a little heavy and want to lose a couple pounds before beach season, remember to start where you are. Nothing happens immediately. Make a plan, stick to it, and don’t panic.

Create a Self-Love Mantra

In true “Help” fashion…You is kind, you is smart, you is important. But really! Think of what you love the most about yourself, and put it into a mantra. Something that you can say to yourself when you are being your own worst critic. One time a friend of mine said to me “You exude joy.” And that was the nicest compliment I’ve ever gotten…more than any compliment of my outward appearance. So when I get worked up about not being good enough, not being thin enough, not being successful enough, I need to stop. Take a breath. And remind myself, that what makes me special is my attitude and my joy. I have the power to be happy and to make those around me happy – and that’s enough.

 

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