By: Grace Bramwell, IATG ContributorSeptember 28, 2016
The voice in my head which I became ever too familiar with abiding by, had irreversible control over my life.
It's use of the most simple phrase; ‘you can do more', 'you should be doing more', 'you need to be doing more' wrecked havoc in my life. Its concerned tone became unavoidable- expecting the unattainable.
Coincidentally it left me feeling let down my myself. Let down by my own unrealistic and inevitably unattainable expectations. I was so caught up in validating these thoughts that I lost sight of how to be grateful, optimistic, even remotely happy. Ultimately how to life a life I was proud of being apart of.
I am certain that no matter what pitch, or catch phrase, or situation provoking this voice - it would sound all too familiar for some of you as well. The difficulty of grasping the detrimental consequences of buying into a destructive inner critic may be a reason why anxiety continues to remain one of the most prevalent mental health concerns for women whom are 50% more likely to suffer from the illness.
For me, this was the case. The ruthless, unwavering and counterproductive stream of negative self-talk became so believable it was capable of blurring the line between fact and fiction.
The mental perception of myself, the sort of person I wanted to become, and my weaknesses warped.
All because of the unconscious decision I had made to be guided by the ever increasingly familiar voice inside my head. I was not a supportive enough friend or was not entitled to leadership positions- incapable of leading by example.
I was so accustomed to buying into these thoughts because I assumed that it would act as a form of motivation. Without such a dialogue I was afraid that I would not be disciplined enough to achieve my goals. The voice had such presence that I would not have the power to reconsider my true capabilities. Instead I became accustomed to assuming that I would just have to work harder and smarter to achieve merely mediocrity.
However, after attending a recent leadership forum, the importance of a belief was emphasized. The words of Robert Bolton ring true; “a belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind.”
As such it is an impossible pursuit to live a positive life with a negative mind set.
Are your thoughts allowing you to become the leader, mother, student or employee that you have envisioned time and time again? Are your thoughts a form of motivation or are they instead a vehicle causing you to lose sight of your own strengths, competence and individuality?
I hope that this raw detail will provide you with the confidence to reconsider your own thinking patterns and associated behaviours. Despite the potential for this exercise to be simultaneously frightening yet rewarding.
I want the conversation that we have with ourselves and also those around us to shift. Why is it an acceptable feat in the Australian culture to cut ourselves down? The ease of getting caught up in an internal warfare about our own skill set, image and individuality concerns me. It's too easy to be influenced by negativity and fixated upon confronting mentally constructed impossible endeavors.
Let's make the time to be cautious about the internal constructs we buy into. Let's realise the power of mindset in achievement of abiding my core values, achievement of goals and thus acknowledge that our mindset is the cornerstone to the development of our own personal identities. Because it’s impossible for one to buy into both negative and positive thoughts simultaneously. I urge you to instead pay attention to our optimistic, productive and realistic thoughts. Let's raise the standard for how we treat ourselves. You are that strong, you are that capable and you are that worthy.
Negative self-talk and self-doubt are easy to fall victim too. It can be a struggle to switch and focus on the positives and good things in our lives. How do you move away from the negative thoughts in your head? What are you thankful for and what makes you exited for each day?