Ever have one of those days where all you can do is feel bad about yourself? We all do. In my experience, I have a long history of being a poor advocate for myself and giving in to the negative voices in my head. Despite often being a cheerleader for others and telling them to have more faith in themselves, I often have no faith in myself. I don’t practice what I preach.
But I never stopped long enough to realize how much I’d actually learned from all the time spent at the mercy of feeling bad about myself. I didn’t realize how much I really am my own worst enemy, and what positive life lessons I can interpret from all that negativity. So, without further ado, here are 8 things to keep in mind the next time you are feeling bad about yourself.
Disclaimer: The Kelly Alexander Show is not professionally licensed in mental health care; this blog post is for inspirational purposes only. If you find yourself in need of assistance, we suggest finding an educated and accredited professional of mental health in your area. You can learn more about the process of starting therapy here.
by Kate Allan
1. Self-doubt is a liar
I’m going to let you in on a widely kept secret. Self-doubt—otherwise known as anxiety’s crazy sister—is a liar. She’s lying to you. The voices in your head are liars. They are the biggest liars I have ever met. But, on the other hand, there is such thing as a healthy amount of self-doubt (spoiler alert: I don’t know what that’s like). Without it, we’d never truly know what scares us and what doesn’t, where our comfort zone is and where it isn’t. Sometimes it’s important to listen to these voices because, somewhere in the cloud of noise, they’re being realistic and trying to tell you what is right and what is wrong. Don’t ever lose touch of your gut feelings, no matter how intense the self-doubt has become. Sometimes she’s not lying, but most of the time, she is. For anyone who experiences self-doubt regularly, the voices are bound to quickly become giant liars. The faster you realize that you are enough and have always been enough, the faster you will realize that the voices in your head are trying to destroy you. It’s always easier said than done to just not listen to them, but you always have to try your best not to. Let go of that negativity—it’s giving you wrinkles. When you start to trust yourself as best you can, that’s when the voices will get quieter.
2. Relationships don’t have to be forever
Relationships, whether romantic or platonic, are a two-way street. End of story. It’s not worth your time to pursue a relationship with someone who is not even going to put a basic level of interest in spending time with you. Don’t waste your time trying to convince other people you’re worth spending time with. It allows room for real friends to work their way into your life. Everything happens for a reason, so don’t waste time trying to force a puzzle piece where it doesn’t fit. I like to believe that everyone on this earth is trying their best with what they are given. I have to believe that, for my soul. But someone’s best may not be good enough for you, and that’s completely fine. Their best can still bring you pain. You deserve to feel that pain and anger. But for some, holding onto that pain and anger longer than necessary can be harmful, so when you are ready, you can forgive them and move on. You can acknowledge the anger you deserve to feel, and then let it go when you are ready. You can do both.
by Marzi Wilson, Kind of Coping: An Illustrated Look at Life with Anxiety
3. Never underestimate the power of a smile
They say that nothing in life is free, but that’s not true. Kindness is free. Love is free. You’re allowed to substitute other emotions for happiness if that’s what you feel inside. But as much as I believe that to be true, when you are feeling sad or depressed, finding genuine reasons to smile makes a world of difference, because the alternative really isn’t pretty. When you can find reasons to smile, even when you don’t truly feel like it, you are trying your hardest to bring yourself out of a dark hole of sadness that, frankly, is the worst place you can be. You really have to find ways to make yourself happy and smiling, even just for a short while, because real happiness and smiles will always be better than fake ones. Remember that, at any given time, everyone is silently coping with their own scars, and just a little bit of love, patience, and understanding—with a smile on top—can make a world of difference not only for yourself but for someone else, too.
4. It’s okay to not be okay
It’s in our nature to try our very hardest to feel happy instead of depressed; that’s just how humans have come to be wired. But it would save us all so much time and trouble if we learned quicker that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to feel down. It’s okay to have a bad day. It’s okay to feel like an anxious mess. Tomorrow is another day, and it’s fine to write off today as bad. We try so hard to avoid accepting that we’re feeling sad or depressed because we’ve been taught that there are countless ways to avoid falling into that black hole. But at one point or another, you may find yourself having fallen into that black hole and realize that you are completely untrained on how to bring yourself out of it. It’s okay to not be okay. Be kind to yourself. Sometimes that’s the most selfless thing you can do when you’re feeling this way. Otherwise you are going to start making demands of yourself that your body and brain aren’t equipped to deal with right now, and it will make you feel worse. Bask in the distress, and live in the mess, especially when you’re feeling like this. It’s how you’re really going to get to know yourself and figure out what you need—no one else—to survive.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others
Keep your eyes on your own paper. It’s so important to only focus on yourself when it comes to self-development. All comparing ourselves to each other does is create more self-doubt and anxiety. It’s in our nature to compare ourselves to others, even as fully grown adults, because we automatically don’t want to feel alone. But that feeling of being alone is what you have to learn to cling to, because learning who you are requires the attention of nobody else but yourself.
6. You don’t owe anybody anything
Okay, sure: you owe your family and friends a certain amount of love, respect, and courtesy, and you owe your employer two weeks notice if you intend to quit. But if you’re at a party and you want to leave? Leave. Any social interaction that is making you more anxious than you ever wanted to be when you left the house that day? Get out. You’re reading a book you really aren’t enjoying? Stop reading it. Start reading something you will enjoy. You’re watching something boring or stupid and could be watching something better? Turn it off. You really don’t owe anybody anything. You owe it to yourself to spend your time wisely, because life is too short. It’s also important to remember to apply this rule when you feel that someone is taking advantage of your generosity or kindness. Learning how to say no can be so hard, but it can also be so freeing. Especially when you know the people who usually ask you for something are people who will have no shame in continuing to come back to you until you learn where to draw the line. Please remember, you owe them nothing!
by CrazyHeadComics via Instagram
7. Failure is normal and it doesn’t have to be perfect
I am a lifelong perfectionist who has only started to recently accept that failure is natural. I’m obsessed with being perfect and I’m obsessed with getting it right, even though real life doesn’t work like that. From where I stand now, I know it’s important to not trust a person who believes they’ve never failed at something. Failure makes you stronger, wiser, and more resilient. It implies that you’ve been through some stuff and are standing here nonetheless to prove that you’re still here. When you grow up anxious and so obsessed with perfection, it’s so liberating to look around once in awhile and realize that despite everything that’s ever happened, you’re still here. You’re alive. Failure is how you learn to grow. It’s how you learn to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going—a vital part of life. Perfect people and perfect things don’t exist. Perfection is a myth. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they’ve been given, and it’s going to be fine. Yes, a lot of the time, things don’t work out the way you wanted them to. But you know what? At least you tried.
8. Nobody cares
When you grow up not fitting in, let alone obsessed with perfection, you subconsciously begin to manipulate your every thought and your every action to be on guard in case of judgment from others. What if they don’t like my clothes? What if they think I’m weird for what I’m interested in? What if they think I’m weird? These are anxieties typically associated with youth, but we don’t realize that a lot of us carry these unnecessary weights on our shoulders into adulthood. One thing I’ve really come to love about adult life is this: nobody cares! It’s not that deep. Nobody is sitting around dissecting that thing you did or that thing you said, unless it was grossly inappropriate or out of bounds. Nobody is stalking your social media because of the way you said hi to them that time at the pharmacy. Free yourself of the burden that other people care about your every action and every word. They’re too worried about their own lives and their own interactions with the woman at the grocery store to think for more than thirty seconds about a potentially awkward interaction with you.