Affirmation Challenge Day 14: Self-Image

Welcome to Day 14 of the Affirmation Challenge, about Self-Image!

Today I feel will be a tough one for me; I’m either going to go deep into it and share it all, or not deep at all so I can work on it in my own time. That said, let’s see how this goes!

We’ll get right to it: what’re some of my negative self-beliefs?

  • “I’m not good enough.” — Pretty much at the root of all of my worries.
  • “I’ve already messed up too badly.” — Usually comes up when I procrastinate. This thought prevents me from working to correct things, as I tend to convince myself that it’s a lost cause and that no amount of effort can fix the situation I’m in.
  • “It’s not going to amount to anything, anyway.” — Stems from me usually beginning a million things and never finishing, due to some reason or another.

When did these beliefs start?

  • “I’m not good enough.” — I’m not sure when this started. Perhaps as early as kindergarten/first grade because I remember trying to hang out with a group of girls and always feeling like I was “forcing” myself into the group, because it felt like they’d run off and leave me behind as soon as they could.
  • “I’ve already messed up too badly.” — I mean, I cause the procrastination that makes this thought occur, but I’m not sure why my instinct is to give up rather than try and fix things. I suppose my perfectionism is getting in the way at this time. I think when I was younger I would try to fix mistakes (my own, or others) and my efforts wouldn’t be acknowledged. Perhaps I think this way because I’ve noticed time and again if I ever change an aspect of myself, people still see the old aspect and not the new one. Change/improvement therefore becomes awkward because the reactions of others tends to make me revert back to how I used to be/think/act, rather than how I’m aiming to be! I’m afraid that people will never see my effort, just my mistakes. I can only imagine that the next time they’ll acknowledge me is when I’m making another mistake!
  • “It’s not going to amount to anything, anyway.” — I’ve wanted to learn/try/do new things so many times in my life, but I rarely get past the beginner’s phase before I move on to the next thing. This happens to me constantly. I’m always getting new ideas to try, getting curious about new things to learn, wanting to do more/different things. Growing up, I know my parents had my sister and I try many different types of activities — soccer, cheer leading, gymnastics, ballet — but we never stuck with any one of them. I think my parents meant well by wanting to expose us to different things, and I think the reason we always quit was probably partly some level of disinterest from us (my sister and I), but also largely in part due to my parents not wanting us to continue for one reason or another (too expensive, too much travel, etc.) I think I picked up on some of the negative thinking (“This is too much effort to let you continue doing X/Y/Z”), and thus I only stick to things while they’re “fun.” I’m sure my desire to try/learn new things is a big part of it, but it seems I’m also opposed to hard work.

What can I do to challenge these beliefs?

  • “I’m not good enough.” — Despite being ingrained with the desire to be good enough for others, I really don’t need to prove myself to anyone. And even externally, there’s lots of proof that I am good enough: I have an internship that I needed to be selected for, I have a boyfriend that chose to ask me out. Even without those things though, it doesn’t matter. Not everyone will like me, and that’s okay. I have to focus on doing my best, because that is literally the best I can do to be “good enough.”
  • “I’ve already messed up too badly.” — If I really do focus on doing/being my best as I just mentioned, I should think this less often. That said, I will be automatically trying to fix my mistakes in aiming to do my best. Besides, even in the worst case scenarios I can think of, there will always be a way to pick myself back up from whatever “mess ups” I can possibly get myself into. I need to focus on being/doing my best for me, because obviously doing it for other people isn’t enough motivation if I keep having the opportunity to think this!
  • “It’s not going to amount to anything, anyway.” — I frequently question the value of the work I’m doing, but the truth is, it IS valuable on some level. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t be doing it/asked to do it! As for my own attempts to do things/learn things/etc., I think I have to get more specific in my goal-setting so that I make the things important to me happen, while realizing I shouldn’t try to overwork myself. Maybe I decide to move on to a new thing in the future, but now I know a lot about something else too! If I find a thing or two to truly take up in the long run, I’ll have plenty of time to humor my other interests as they pop up or dissipate. I have to remember my deepest motivations, desires, and values constantly so I can channel them into accomplishing all the things that are truly meaningful to me.

I think at the end of the day I still really need to work on valuing myself and how I spend my time. Sometimes when I’m really down, it’s because I’m thinking, “Why does it matter?” and I find it hard to care about myself or anything.

I think the answer is, “It matters because this is my ONE chance to live life.” The seconds will tick by regardless of if I’m doing something I love or not, so why not try to fill them with as much of the stuff I love as possible?

Honestly, I’ll have to work hard I think to truly believe in that, and to convince myself to really do my best in all situations, as I think I’ve got a lot more to uncover about myself. But I think this is a good start for now.

What thoughts about your self-image do you have? How are you challenging those negative beliefs? Let me know!