Since posting about self-deprecation, I’ve had people tell me how encouraging it was. A lot of them didn’t even know they were hurting themselves until they read it. One of my friends said, “I totally do that self-deprecation thing to be humble.” She has a really hard time accepting compliments because she thinks she is conceited if she does. She didn’t realize it was hurting her. For her, just knowing she wasn’t the only one who fell into that trap, helped her.
While it was encouraging to know I had helped a few people realize they were self-deprecating, it also made me realize how prevalent this problem really is. More than I had thought before (and I had definitely thought there was a big problem). It really hurts to see this in so many people.
I grew up with a really happy childhood. I can’t ever complain, because I feel so blessed, especially hearing about other people’s childhoods. I grew up hearing from parents, leaders, teachers, and friends how great of a person I was. I became a confident young girl. I think it was around my high school years, though, that that stopped being enough.
I still received constant encouragement, but I also started getting a lot of influence from the media. More than before. I saw all these high school and college girls that looked so pretty and skinny. I started degrading myself because I thought there was no way I could compare.
I still received encouragement, but I also started getting a lot of influence from the media. More than before. I saw all these high school and college girls that looked so pretty and skinny. I started degrading myself because I thought there was no way I could compare to them. The influence of the media overwhelmed the loving words I had heard for years.
I think everyone goes through this, especially women. The media is so hard to combat mentally. And it’s practically impossible to avoid. There are magazines, television, advertisements, and friends talking about hot celebrities. Look around you right now. I’m sure you’ll find a couple from where you’re sitting, even if you’re just in your room.
I think media contributes to self-deprecation. Lack of support from family or friends is a huge influencer as well. I think we also continue to contribute to it when we give up combating these influences.
In the last post, I didn’t detail how to overcome self-deprecation as much as I wanted to.
As I talked with some friends about this epidemic of deprecation, I realized we need to do something more than just talking about it. We need to combat it.
One way I have combatted deprecation started a few semesters back in a class. One of our projects included recognizing and recording all our negative thoughts. We had to recognize, record, and combat those thoughts. Some people carried notecards around with them to record thoughts whenever they came. I recorded my thoughts on a google doc I could open anytime. Whatever method works best for you, this is part of your 30-day challenge.
So let me spell out exactly what this challenge entails. Be sure to read all four steps completely before starting.
- First, you have to recognize the hurtful thoughts you are having. This can be something as simple as “I can’t believe I’m so stupid. I forgot my keys in the house.” Something even this simple is hurtful.
- Now that you know what thoughts are hurtful, it is time to record them. Record all of them, no matter how small. Keep a notecard, google doc, post-it note, anything to carry around with you. When one is filled up, get another one. Make sure that no matter what, you write these thoughts down. I’m serious. You may think you’ll remember them, but I can guarantee, by the end of a long day, you will forget.
- Remember, as you are writing these down, you may find there are a lot more than you were expecting to find. That’s okay. No matter where you are at, it is important to recognize and record all these thoughts so you have a true sense of where you are starting from.
- Combat and Rewrite
- This is one of the most important steps in the process. You can recognize and record your negative thoughts forever, but it will just discourage you if you don’t continue with this step. It is important to record your deprecating thoughts or you won’t be able to change. However, if you just see how many negative thoughts you are having, you will just depress yourself.
- For each negative thought, rewrite it into a positive one. Maybe your thought is, “I’m never going to lose weight because I give up too easily.” A possible way to rewrite this is, “I can choose to be healthier with some help. I can do anything if I want it bad enough.”
- For some practice, rewrite these negative thoughts into positive ones.
- “I’m going to be single forever.”
- “Nobody loves me.”
- “I can’t achieve my goals. I always fail.”
- After you have tried rewriting these yourself, look at some ways I thought of to rethink these.
- “While I’m single, I can use this time to discover myself. I may be single now, but I don’t have to be forever.”
- “Some people may not like me, but I know my family really does. They have shown me they love me by always being there to lend a hand when I need them and by telling me that they appreciate me.”
- “Sometimes I fail, but I have learned from each failure. With a little motivation and a solid plan, I can achieve my goals. It may take a while, but I can achieve them little by little.”
- Do you see how the negatives deal with absolutes? I’m going to be single forever. Nobody loves me. I can’t achieve my goals. I always fail. Not much about people is actually absolute. People change all the time. Rewrite with your ability to change in mind.
- Note that this will take time. Once you do it for a little while, you’ll find that rewriting these thoughts will become easier.
- At the end of each week, take 20-30 minutes to reflect on what you have learned. Record some of these in a journal. This will be vital to helping in the healing process. You’ll be able to look back at the end of these 30 days and see how far you have come. This can do more than you think to encourage you.
Of course, you can use your own journals or notebooks, however, I also made a worksheet you can use. Print off as many copies of each page as you need. There is a page each for recording, rewriting, and reflecting.
This 30-day challenge will take a lot of time and effort. It’s not easy to rewire your brain. Comment below on how you are doing on your journey, and I’ll try to respond. Others can give advice and encouragement as well. However, I ask that for every comment you post asking for advice, you respond with positivity to three other comments. A big motivator in this challenge will be talking to others and getting advice.
While this may be challenging, you can do it. You have the power to take control of your thinking and rewrite it in a way that will help, not hinder you. Always remember that you are powerful.
Now is the time to start. Don’t put this off until tomorrow. Tomorrow is never today. Put out a sheet of paper and begin. I’ll meet you on the other side.