Chapter 5 – Self Perception is a Zoo

Day 6

Why is it so hard to believe that we are amazing and badass? Why is it that one day we can feel so empowered and believe that we do have limitless potential, and then the next day talk ourselves out of it? As I wrote this, I actually thought it sounded a little bi-polar. Not to, in any way, diminish the horror of that disease, but to point out that it simply does not make sense to go back and forth the way we do. Isn’t it actually easier to stay the course of one belief in ourselves?

I was very young when I discovered the power of negative speak. I am quite good at it, disguising it sometimes as humor. I learned very early on, that I was quite good at beating anyone else to the punch when it came to speaking poorly of me. By calling my self out as ugly, stupid, or untalented, no one else had that power over me. “Wanna mock me? Too bad, I beat you to it.”

Of course as a young girl, I had no idea what the psychological impact that would have on me. I didn’t know that the majority of the negative voices in my head that I was going to have to shut out one day, were my own. Sure, I got plenty of negative input from outside sources, but really, the majority of it was my own. Almost every piece of positive input was met with an equal or more powerful negative input. Why is it I chose to believe the negative?

Part of this I blame on society. Exceptionalism is frowned upon. Our lexicon is filled with a variety of words to negatively describe people whose view of themselves is too confident: Arrogant, conceited, vain, stuck up, snotty, superior, elitist. None of these words are ever said with pride. They are always spoken with venom. It ensures that none of us ever want to be called these names. So we shrink, hide our light, pretend that we are less than we are.

When I worked in retail in my early 20s, I was a bit of a rockstar. I knew I was good at what I did and I know I was smarter than a lot of my bosses. Smart in retail was actually not a good thing. I used to joke that HQ wanted us to be smart enough to do our jobs, but not smart enough to know we were getting screwed over. I joked, but it was 100% true.

Even as I wrote that last paragraph, I thought, “Wow, I sound like an arrogant jerk”. But you know what. I am going to let is stand, because I was rockstar!!

Still, everyday, I hear myself call myself “stupid” for the tiniest errors, I look in the mirror and find all the lines and blemishes and tell myself I look awful. I have not yet learned to truly be kind to myself. I still live in a place where no one needs insult me, because I have taken care of that myself.

Today’s chapter, really hit home. This may actually be the source for me. The negative self talk that I have not overcome. It is more prevalent in my life than the moments when I feel really good about myself, when I see that I have made a positive impact on someone.

This is something I have to remind myself of everyday…

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.

Marianne Williamson

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