Yesterday, I allowed someone to make me feel like a worthless piece of crap, but I seemingly couldn't help it. This is someone that I love and respect, which made the experience all the more traumatic and downright painful.
When things like this occur, I try fix myself in some way that would be both pacifying and empowering. I would also love to develop an invisible shield that will protect my fragile self from nasty comments, jokes that are intended to inflict pain, and disapproval that may cause me to second guess my life goals. Sadly, that piece of body armor is not currently available, so we need to find other ways to trudge through life and make it great while being a target for nasties.
How do we cope with this bad stuff, especially when it comes from someone who is supposed to be on your side? Here are some positive methods to help you feel better about yourself. I have used these techniques to convince myself of my own worth and individual greatness. I sort of consider these concepts to be part of my life toolkit. Remember, we can only control what we do and think.
1. Stop with the negative self-talk. When something crappy happens, it's easy to get on the "I suck" or "I'll never be good enough" bandwagon, but you must quickly jump off. Be kind to yourself and turn that negative talk into positive talk. That inner voice (mine sort of looks like a gremlin that got wet) inside of us is probably our biggest enemy, because your mind can barrage you with one insult after another.
Sadly, you eventually believe that stuff! So start saying something like, "I'm strong, successful, and I will never give up". You can make up your own positive mantra so you're prepared when that reckless little inner jerk starts whispering destructive gossip in your ear.
2. Create some short-term and long-term goals. If you need some self-satisfaction relatively quickly, decide what can be attained almost immediately. Simply cleaning out a closet or balancing your checkbook can help you feel accomplished. These small achievements will also placate you as you attempt to reach your long term goals.
3. Enjoy the "now". Stop focusing on the past and worrying about the future for awhile. Being immersed in what is currently going on will give you an opportunity for calmness and a chance to savor the moment. Often, we're so fixated on what's happened or what's going to happen that our present slips right past us.
4. Walk away from people that suck the life out of you. This may very well involve those that make you feel like a piece of crap. Of course it may be easier said than done if you're related to these life suckers, but if you're not, you can certainly distance yourself.
If you're hanging around people whose entire existence entails bringing people down, you're never going to feel better. I had to do this myself when an ex-inlaw became a toxic and perpetually angry person. I simply couldn't solve all of her problems, and the magnitude of those problems were so great that it basically ruined me for the next couple of days. Life is too damned short for that stuff.
5. Use relaxation techniques. I'm not a zen kind of girl, but I listen to guided relaxation that I purchased on iTunes found in the app store. They work for me, but you have to actually stick with it. I have been listening to two apps every single day for two years. Relaxation takes practice and it feels great when you can finally do it automatically with no effort.
6. Write down a list of all of the positive things and people in your life. Yeah I know this has been done, but it is actually beneficial. We have a way of sitting on the pity potty for too long, and writing down a list of the good things and positive people in our lives makes us realize it isn't all so bad. A daily journal may be helpful too.
7. Don't compare yourself to others. Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." Focus on your own achievements and blessings, and realize that you have probably come a long way. Making someone else, and their stuff, a focal point can be depressing and simply isn't worth the time or effort. If you want what they have, then figure out how to get there and write up some goals.
8. Take care of yourself. Go for a walk with the dog, eat a healthy meal or get a massage. I know it is difficult to get people to exercise, but a walk around the block can do wonders for you. Look at it as a "time-out" from stress as it clears your head a bit. I also once heard the suggestion that just brushing your teeth and washing your face can help you feel better. The objective is to find simple quick things that will refresh and rejuvenate your body.
9. Watch or read something inspiring. I am a positive quote junkie, and have about a million of them saved on my computer, ready to be tapped for instant encouragement. Watching the news and reading the paper all day long will put you in a perpetual funk, so you need to offset that with something good. Have a look at Rocky, Forrest Gump, or even It's a Wonderful Life! If you do this at the end of they day, you might even go to sleep with a smile on your face!
There are many other ways that you can help yourself feel happier and empowered. If you have something that works well for you, please share it in the comment section. I'm always looking to add to my personal self-help repertoire, and maybe it would inspire others.
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Filed under: Life in General