Little Voices

You have seen the surveys around the internet, hotels, and restaurants. They want you to let them know how they did after that customer service phone call. They want to know whether they resolved your issue in a satisfactory way. My favorite, they will email you to find out how likely you are to recommend them to a friend.

Likewise, we have our own feedback forms. Whether we are watching the non-verbal cues of the people in the room or reading the comment section.

The loudest form of feedback in your life is that voice inside you. You can attribute the nonverbal cues of your audience to bad gas or disagreeable food.

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But the little voice inside you is still yelling. The voice is shouting at you. Filling you up with all the harshest criticisms of what you are doing and telling you, you are doing it wrong.

Sometimes that voice is healthy. When you are standing on the side of a cliff and that voice is yelling about backing away and danger. It is good to listen.

Most of the time, that voice is a loud noise trying to pull apart everything you are doing. There is also a choice with that voice. A choice to tell it to shut its pie-whole. After all, you are working and you have more work to do and people actually like the work you are doing. Not to mention, that voice is there to help make you better. Not stop you from doing what you love.

Do what you love. Do not let that voice stop you now.

How do you maintain a healthy amount of internal criticism? What do you do to silence the voice when it is hurtful more than helpful? What do you do to amplify the voice when you are losing touch with reality? Who helps you stay in touch with reality and not become too self deprecating or too arrogant?

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Self Acceptance

Every day I wake up in the same set of skin and bones I was born with. I can change and develop who I am through work, both intentional and unintentional. But at the end of the day, I am always me.

One of the the many jobs I have is to appreciate me for who I am. In a reasonable way, be comfortable in the set of skin and bones I have. Accepting me for who I am, not over accentuating my flaws and strengths.

I know I can find the right point of appreciating myself for who I am. Not too confident and not too self-deprecating.

Not too many puns.

Not too nerdy.

Not too quiet.

Not too self conscience.

When I reach that point, what happens next?

I know I will reach the island of Perfect Self Acceptance. But what happens when it starts raining on my island? Or worse, I run out of food.

When I get to my Island, am I ready for the negative comment I hear, meant as a friendly joke? Am I prepared to let it roll off my back?

I know proper self acceptance is possible, but am I preparing for the next step of keeping healthy perspective on myself despite (un)expected negative circumstances?

What does your island of self acceptance look like? Are you ready for what it takes to maintain life on your island in the face of (un)expected negative circumstances?

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The Value of The Yen

It is so interesting how I stop accepting myself. I end up telling myself little lies about my ideas, my thoughts, my value, and my ambition. I start filling myself with doubt. I ignore the truth my friends have given me. The encouragement my friends have poured out on me and start focusing on the little things that are wrong with me. 

After a while I start to look in the mirror and see an intelligence quotient score, which is too low

I see a pant size, which is too big.

I see a shirt fitting too tightly.

A hairstyle, not groomed correctly.

A heart, is not happy enough.

A husband, not loving enough.

A friend, not attentive enough to the people who matter to him.

Relative who does not ever call.

And after a while, I begin to think I am barely worth the clothes I am wearing. 

No one ever told me I have so little value. I have convinced myself of this idea. As a matter of fact, the people who might be the very people who would jokingly say these things to me are not saying these things. Even their jokes are positive. Their love is ever present. I am the only one telling myself these lies. 

I am the only one trying to define myself of something that is totally and completely insufficient to measure my self worth.

I am the only roadblock standing between me and progress. I am feeding myself these lies.

I am the only one who can plug the hole of these lies pouring into my life. 

Where are you lying to yourself? What lies are you telling yourself? When are you going to start telling yourself the truth?



Weight in Gold

I have been reflecting on my writing looking for themes and common denominators between what I’ve been saying and what I’ve been struggling with. The biggest theme I’ve seen is the value of other people, my perceptions of them, and how I interact with them. I’ve taken this observation and spun it around to test as a view of myself.

My own value has been in question for years. 

I agree with this statement. I have been undervaluing myself, devaluing myself, and underestimating my own self worth for years. I don't believe in my own opinion to be valuable. To which my subconscious responds, “Yes you do. Your opinion has value! Very little value, but some value is better than no value.” Me believing this about myself is the reason I play the part of the doormat more than the part of the door. 

And I’m scared. 

I’m scared to value my own opinion. I’m afraid I’m going to do this wrong a lot. I’m afraid I’m going to hurt some people in speaking my mind more. I’m not looking to be belligerent. I just have to speak up about what I think because it can make people around me better. I don’t want to offend and hurt people as I go. I think humility will play into this as much as anything. I’m going to have to be willing to back down my opinion when it isn’t popular and not be hurt (not being hurt will be the harder part.) The hurt part is why I’ve stopped putting my opinion out in the first place. 

The reality is, it is ok for people to accidentally hurt me. It is not ok for me to react poorly when someone does  unintentionally hurts me. Likewise, it is ok me to accidentally hurt someone, it is not ok for me to intentionally hurt people.

These two things are linked for me because it hurts me so much when my opinion/idea is not the popular opinion. However, I could probably count on one hand the number of people who have actually been out to hurt me by ignoring me.

I must start creating space in my thoughts and ideas to be gently set aside without being hurt. And I need to start being willing to take the bull by the horns when the popular action is to wait for everyone else’s opinion.