Aisha had an appointment with her good friend at 2:00pm, but owing to certain circumstances she could not make it at the slated time. “Could she have refused to show up in good time because she does not want to be friends with me anymore?”, one of the many thoughts Aisha had. That delay made...
Between the people involved in making sure that I get the adequate support before returning to University in September and having a meltdown, I think it is safe to say I have not had the greatest start to the year.
After watching a motivational video from one of my favourite spoken word artists, Nego True, honestly, I am not sure how I feel. Not that I am even supposed to feel anything, but putting the issue of success to one side for one moment I found that this video tapped into my biggest insecurity – self-worth. I will hold my hands up and admit I do not believe I am worthy of anything; love, affection, gifts, you name it! In my head, I do not deserve it. However, I strive to make sure everyone around me knows that they are worth everything the world has to offer and if you ever start to believe otherwise, I will be the first to shower you with praises and reassure you that you are destined for greatness.
I am a hypocrite, I know. As much as possible, I try to uplift people close to me who talk down about themselves. It breaks me to see them in that state. But when you try to uplift me when I talk down about myself, I will tell you it is too late. I feel I am only deserving of pain and just learning to live with it. My heart pangs a little, but this is what I truly believe and for the longest time, I did everything to make sure I got pain because that is what I subdued my worth to. Whether I am physically harming myself in some way or constantly telling myself how worthless I am (to the point where I refuse to look in the mirror), I would rather result to self-pity than hate what I see. Even worse than this, I absolutely hate to be doted on in every sense of the word. Do not make me the centre of attention. Do not spend money on me (this goes as far as my family). Let me look after you in every way, be there for you and, as delusional as it sounds, take away your pain. I feel this is where my worth is.
Admittedly, I am probably a leech. I find it strange how my friends deal with me. I guess I have some good in me after all.
The other thing Nego spoke about that touched me was the issue of perfection and planning. Now, I cannot plan for the life of me. Ordinarily, you would think I plan everything to the last detail, but as long as I can figure out how I can get there and if I can get inside, planning evades me. I am what my cousin calls a Panster (Google it), but when it comes to writing I am meticulous and everything has to be perfect (seeing the link to my self-worth yet?)
I have been writing spoken word poems for as long as I can remember, but till this day, I am yet to gain enough courage to jump on stage owing to my social anxiety and my issue with vulnerability. Come to think of it, I always thought last year was a disaster, but having the opportunity to meet Nego True (Yo! I had to maintain a high level of composure that day) and discussing my issue with vulnerability, it was not as bad as I thought!
Know what he told me? There is no such thing as being too vulnerable. If people react, you have most likely struck a chord. And most of all, “Just close your eyes and hit send”. A part of me wishes I remembered this when I had the opportunity to perform at the end of last year. I wish to be this confident a-person, and the fictional character in my head is everything I aspire to be, yet the mere sight of happiness or even the warmest feeling makes me want to flee because I still stand in this mental cage that constantly repeats, “I am not worthy”.
My challenge for us this month? Close your eyes and hit send. Be open with where you are right now and what you are going through. Yes you may get some negative responses, but take pride in the fact that you tried. A step further? Tell yourself every day, “I love myself”. I will probably cringe trying to do this, but I will try.
ABOUT BLESSING ODUKOYA: On all fours is how her life began; Growing into a young adult in the past is where she remains; Occasionally sitting on two wheels; She saw life through a different lens but her strive to be the same was almost her end game; Failing to see past her self inflicted pain; They undoubtedly became best friends; Only to realise society didn’t live up to her standards anyway.
Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. It is often skewed towards negativity, and sometimes it is just plain wrong. Negative self-talk can lower your self-esteem, self-confidence, happiness, and keep you from accomplishing your goals.
It is one of the most common issues a person struggles in search of solutions; which could be to get rid of it, reduce it, or be fully in control of it. If you are one of those people who constantly looks for ways to effectively get rid of negative self-talk, take note of the following tips:
- Accept Your Imperfections
You are not perfect. No one is! You will make mistakes and have faults but this is normal. This is what makes you whom you are. You may know or come across a few people who seem ‘perfect’, but this is what they want you to see.
- Know That “It’s Not All in Your Head”
Self-talk is not just mindless chatter. It has a way of creating its own reality. Telling yourself you can do something can make it happen. Telling yourself you cannot do something can make that come true as well. Your self-talks form your mindsets. If you keep telling yourself, “I’m not smart”, soon enough you will feel and think like one who is not.
- Put Things into A Wider Perspective
When your inner voice starts filling your head with negative thoughts, sit down, take a deep breath and relax. Then, listen to what your inner voice is telling you from a wider perspective. For example, there is a difference between two students who failed a class test where the first thinks, “I’m a failure”, and the second thinks, “It’s just one test. I wasn’t at my best. I’ll work harder next time”.
- Don’t Say to Yourself What You Won’t Say to Other People
What you cannot say out loud to other people, banish it from your own thoughts. When your friend spills something on her shirt, you do not tell her, “You are such a stupid slob, how can you spill that?”. Instead, you would probably have a few laughs and move on. You are your own friend so use proper manners and courtesy when talking to yourself.
- Take A Break from Social Media
We often judge our self-worth by what we see in other people on social media. If that voice in your head is getting loud, take a break from social media, reflect and evaluate your life from your own perspective.
- Watch Who You Spend Time With
Remember the old saying, “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are”? The kind of people we associate with tell us a lot about ourselves. Surround yourself with people who think positively, make you happy, and make you feel good about yourself. As much as possible, avoid people who constantly bring you down and make you think bad about yourself.
- Learn to Separate Fact from Fiction
The hard part about negative self-talk is that it always feels true. Even though your thoughts might often be biased or incorrect, you tend to assume that they are facts. Quite often, negative thoughts have to do with prejudices against yourself. It does not reflect the reality of the situation. You should learn to separate what you know to be true and what is false. If you are thinking, “I’m so careless, I’m always forgetting my keys”, analyze that thought. Do you always forget your keys or that happens occasionally? By doing this, you are making clear to yourself where your real problems lie.
- Act the Way You Want to Feel
If you want to be happy, act like it. Before you know it, it will become your reality. It is hard to pretend to be happy when you just want to curl up in bed and forget about the world, but it is worth trying if you want to feel better.
- Build Your Self-Confidence
Boosting your self-confidence tends to increase your belief in your skills and abilities. So how do you build your self-confidence? You can do so by doing more and trying new things. The more you do, the more competent you become, and thus the more confident you will be. Ultimately, the more confident you are, the lower the negative inner voice becomes.
- Talk to Someone You Trust
Whenever the negative thoughts surface, talk to someone about them. Sometimes, love, care and affection can make you feel good about yourself and make the negative thoughts go away.
If you are used to having negative self-talks, do not expect to be an optimist overnight. With practice, your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and instill more self-confidence. You can learn to be more conscious of your negative self-talk as it happens and choose to think about the situation in a more realistic and helpful way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nusaybah Al-Adeebah Raani Bint AbdulFattah is an aspiring psychiatrist. She feeds on books. She is an amateur photographer in love with nature. She loves to write and believes she can change the world a few words at a time.