By Rebecca Rodskog, Rodskog Change Consulting
…I can’t believe I said that to him.
…I screwed up that presentation.
…I didn’t work out all week.
…I fed him chicken nuggets again.
…I should have called.
Are the voices in your head constantly running down a list of things that you didn’t do quite as well as you were hoping (or what you think others were expecting)? Then you fall into the great, great category of moms who are way too hard on themselves.
You might think this is no big deal – it makes you perform better the next time, right? Well, no, it does not, and it IS a big deal. Constantly focusing on the negative buries you in guilt and negativity and brings more of it your way. In addition, it actually creates barriers for you to accomplish all that you might if you had a more positive, supportive attitude. And let us not forget that the state of constant stress you put yourself in by never being “good enough” is a surefire way to do actual harm to you mentally and physically, in ways we are just beginning to understand.
Sadly, it’s become almost fashionable to be self-deprecating. In a world where performance appraisals focus on the negative/needs to improve more than the “praise” part, we get used to pointing out our faults. We feel it makes others more comfortable around us, and that modesty is a virtue. This is true, but many moms take it too far.
I grew up a (good) Catholic girl, learning that Forgiveness is the key to living a spiritually enlightened life. However, they never taught us that the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. And that we are the hardest on that person!
Have you ever done the exercise where you take all the things you say to yourself and imagine saying them to your child? You would never, right? Well the same concept applies here – we would never hold a grudge like we do with ourselves if it was our children who committed those mistakes, would we? “It’s okay! No one’s perfect!” we would say to the child who makes a mistake, or doesn’t perform as well as he’d like.
Holding on to the things you did wrong (whether real, semi-real or imagined) can stop you dead in your tracks on any road to success. It’s like throwing a big anchor on your ankle and trying to run. You won’t get very far.
10 Quick Ways to LET IT GO!
1.Tune into your thoughts. Keep a notebook with you and try to write down each negative one you have for a day.
2. Once you’ve become more aware of your thoughts, try to say it out loud, as if you were talking to yourself at 5 years old. Hopefully your tone will start to change.
3. Tell friends and significant others what you are trying to do. Tell them you will give them a dollar for each negative, self-deprecating thing you say about yourself.
4. If you are reviewing your performance after something (a presentation, a phone call, a play date), go ahead and write out the pros and cons instead of just running through the negative stuff in your head. For the stuff that you were not happy with, make a mini-improvement plan for the next time and then let it go. Try to end with the things you did well, like “kept my mouth shut when the other mom started gossiping!”
5. Work it out. Go on a walk or a run and really listen to your thoughts. Ask yourself “is this feedback real, or imaginary, or somewhere in between”. Sometimes we don’t even realize that things we are saying to ourselves.
6. Talk to your spouse or best friend about something in particular that you’re upset with. Usually, once said aloud, the thing we are beating ourselves up about becomes much smaller, and your friend may even have a similar story to share which makes you both feel better!
7. Write a list of the things that make you awesome (my one client calls it “My Awesomeness”). When you are having a particularly brutal feedback session with yourself, pull it out and remind yourself of how awesome you are.
8. Call your mom, dad, or someone else who loves you for all your faults. Try to see yourself through their eyes.
9. Eat ice cream. I don’t know, it just always makes me feel better. But then don’t beat yourself up about it, okay?
10. Laugh. Fake it at first, and then watch it catch….it is hard to be mean to yourself when you’re laughing!
Forgive yourself for all your blunders, and love yourself because of them.
How do forgive yourself? Tell us how you let it go?
Rebecca Rodskog is a NYC based personal life coach, change management consultant, actress and mom. She has worked with corporations and individuals for over 15 years helping them grow through change in the workplace and at home.
Check out her latest project, a mind/body retreat for NYC moms on Saturday, September 26th. Learn how to Put Mom First.