We all get down on ourselves at some point. For whatever reason, things just don’t seem to go your way, and reaching your goal seems impossible. This is usually when that annoying little voice in your head starts to come out and take charge, running a smear campaign against you.
The voice reveals all your faults (both real and imagined), and does everything in its power to try to get you to give up. That inner voice can be so convincing, we often find ourselves repeating its lies as if they were true:
“I can’t do it!”
This is usually the blanket go-to lie that pops into our heads when the going first gets rough. It’s a knee-jerk reaction, often born from panic when we realize we’ve bitten off more than we can chew.
Getting past this initial fear can be a challenge. But like any dubious information someone tries to pass off as gospel, we have to question it. Otherwise, we can’t move past it. Is it really true you can’t do it? If so, why?
“It’s too hard.”
This is the second stage of resistance. Now that you’re questioning what that voice has told you, you have to back it up with something. This is another blanket excuse. Keep questioning. Is what you’re trying to do really too difficult? Has no one else in the history of the universe ever succeeded at doing anything like it before? Why is it too difficult for you? Couldn’t you find someone who could help you out?
“I’m not enough.”
Ah, here are all those shortcomings that little voice wants to remind you about. At this point, everything you’ve ever done is portrayed in the worst possible light. If you really get carried away, you might start comparing yourself with people who are experts at what you’re trying to accomplish, which is just a little ridiculous.
“I’m not a good enough writer. Now I’ll never be the best-selling author of all time.”
Take a deep breath and get a grip on yourself. Keep questioning! Aren’t you being just a little melodramatic? Isn’t it possible you could improve your skills if you tried? Couldn’t you find relevant people to use as mentors or role models and learn from their experience?
“It doesn’t matter anyway.”
Now that voice is starting to sound a bit sulky. It doesn’t like to be questioned. This last excuse is almost laughable. If it doesn’t matter whether you succeed or fail, why was it worth setting your goal in the first place? Even if no one else notices, you’ll always know whether you decided to give up or persevere.
We also need to remember success isn’t always something that’s black or white. Maybe the reason you feel like you’re not succeeding is because you were too ambitious with your goal. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you’ve made any forward progress, it still counts for something, and is probably more than you would have accomplished if you had never set your goal at all.
Think of a trainer at the gym. When you’re dead tired, they ask you for five more reps. You might only get one, but it’s still one more than what you did before. Don’t beat yourself up because you didn’t get all five.
Just remember not to let that little voice get to you. The next time that jerk comes around, question the hell out of it, and make it run for the hills. With all the real challenges out there, none of us can afford to have a traitor working on the inside.
What self-sabotaging lies do YOU tell yourself? How do you deal with them?
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