Last night my flatmate told me off once more for calling myself bad words. We were chatting happily in the kitchen as we normally do when I called myself a retarded and she got really pissed with me. This was not the first time she told me I should stop doing this, and yesterday I actually realize that it is a big problem in my life. I do it so often I don’t even notice anymore, it is a pattern that had been there for a long time. Perhaps it all started when I was a teenager and it was quite common for me and my friends to call ourselves things like idiot, retarded, bitch and many other untranslatable random names, some really stuck and I still use then to label myself when I do something stupid.
The problem with calling myself names is that I end up attracting the bad energy of those words to me. I don’t truly believe I am retarded or stupid in general, and I know it is normal to make mistakes or silly things now and then, so why this impulse of mislabeling myself all the time? In my case I guess is mere humor, although I am aware it is not funny anymore, that is just the way I’m used to express myself for a long time. Finally I decided to change this behavior as it doesn’t make sense anymore. It took me so long to overcome my low self-esteem problem and to actually manage to love myself, so why still use those bad words then?
I have decided to challenge myself and try to stop this behavior. Doing a little research on the subject I actually found out that naming yourself with negative labels are examples of ‘automatic negative thoughts’, and that every time that I say ‘I am retarded’ I am actually reinforcing this negative thought and making it grow. I discovered that this self-bulling can also end up shaping what we believe about ourselves and the negative thoughts become physical reactions and negative emotions. Big reason to stop it right now!
So here is how I am planning my challenge to stop with those personal insults:
1 – Recognize when I do it
Well nothing can actually happen without me first catching myself doing it. Now that I’m aware I do this so often, thanks to my beloved flatmate, I guess it will be easier to recognize this behavior on my daily life.
2 – Apologize to myself
Every time I catch myself doing it I’ll close my eyes, visualize my inner-self and ask sincere apologies. Not sure that would work all the time especially during conversations as it might be a bit weird, but I’ll see if works at least I’ll try to do it mentally.
3 – Replace negative statements for positive ones
Soon after the apologies I will simply say something good about myself or just comfort myself that I will do it better next time, or state that it was nothing stupid or retarded just a simple mistake.
Negative labeling do have power and it is really important to break this patter. Consciously rejecting this discouraging words like idiot and retarded are a way to shift the negative emotions into positive ones. I feel that this challenge will be really beneficial for me, and perhaps can help me even more than I imagine. I’m curious to see the outcome, I’ll keep the blog updated on this.
For further reading on the subject here is some links I found interesting:
Automatic Negative Thoughts – http://successmindset.co/automatic-negative-thoughts/
How and why to stop calling yourself names – http://smashdepression.com/2016/04/how-and-why-to-stop-calling-yourself-names/
Self Bullying – http://www.heyugly.org/SelfBullying.php