“I am not good enough. I’m just not good at this. I could never do what they are doing. Wait… I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.” We often criticize ourselves for criticizing ourselves. How can we ever improve if we participate in these thoughts? If we focus on the negative, how can we get better if we are mean to ourselves?
I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. But I am enough.
I didn’t learn to camp outside, ski, rock climb, mountain bike, etc. until I was in college and beyond. So in the grand scheme of things I have not been doing what I passionate love as long as others BUT I can guarantee that I passionately love what I do, the industry I work in and playing outside. My struggle has been that along the way many guys have told me that I am not good enough. And it’s those comments, which have led to some sports taking a back burner seat and others moving towards the forefront. For me mountain biking was probably truly one of the only “non-jaded” by male comment activities I have picked up. And I think that is a part of what causes me to love it so much more. It has always been for myself and not someone else.
When we tell ourselves that we are enough; when we accept that improvement is a process, and we let go of what we thought our lives would be like, good things happen. This is what happens when you take an active role in your own state of constant improvement.
1. YOU ARE MORE SELF-AWARE
Making an effort to be nicer to yourself naturally makes you notice negative thoughts and feelings and let them go. “I’m not good at anything” becomes “I’m working on this, and that’s ok.” You notice what makes you truly happy, and therefore…
2. YOU DO THINGS THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY
You have now made happiness a priority in your life. You make time for things that make you happy because you value happiness and know you are worthy of it.
3. YOU HAVE MORE VALUABLE RELATIONSHIPS
You stop settling for relationships, jobs and friendships that simply aren’t good enough for you. You now value your time and energy, and you know it’s not worth sharing with just anyone. You realize the importance of spending time with people that challenge you to be better.
4. YOU TAKE MORE RISKS
…and as a result, you are more productive. You have stopped judging yourself for your failures, so you aren’t afraid to go after what you want. You realize failure is a necessary part of constant improvement, so you no longer hide from it. You value your thoughts and ideas, and are more committed to quality in everything that you do. You prioritize your time because you know it is important.
5. YOU STOP CARING ABOUT WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING
You now focus your attention on your own strengths and goals, and focus less on external sources validating those things. You have less space and time to compare yourself to others. You care less about other people’s views of you because you value yourself and know you have better things to think about.
External validation feels great and makes us feel worthy and important. Finding validation in yourself is way harder. But when you don’t rely on external factors for value, you are more prepared for LIFE: failure, love, loss, true joy & happiness, and the in-between. Few people are born feeling just GREAT about themselves all the time. It takes work, and it’s a long road. Decide to be nicer to yourself. Just decide to start. Embrace the process. You deserve it.