When I first started taking anti-depressants over a year and a half ago, I had this (ridiculous) notion that I would magically feel better, that I would be instantly depression-free. But that’s not what happened.
Taking medication gave me the headspace to start addressing what makes me feel depressed, to face the unhealthy habits that affect my mental health, and to begin to realize the constant train of negative thoughts that go through my head are not truthful.
While I still have a long (long, LONG) way to go with undoing years of mental health issues, I have started to realize that the negative way in which I view myself is a massive trigger for my depression and anxiety. So, one of the things I’m trying to work on is to challenge negative self-thoughts.
When I’m in a negative mood, it’s hard to break the thought pattern. Negative thoughts, especially about myself, continue to come up more often, and I push away the positive ones that try to pop up. It’s a vicious cycle that’s so hard to break. After much work on trying to change the way I think about myself, I’ve broken it down into three categories of ways that I challenge negative self-thoughts.
Would you say this to someone else?
When I reflect on the way I think about myself, I realize that I’m really mean! I basically call myself stupid, fat, ugly, worthless, and so on. The reason why I do so is a long, convoluted story that I am still unwinding. That’s what therapy is for, right?
But on a day-to-day basis, I can take small steps by stopping myself when these thoughts start to crop up and thinking – would I ever say this to someone else? Would I directly call another person any of these awful names? NO! Never, ever in my life, would I be so cruel to another person.
So, why is it okay to talk toward myself in such a way?
The short answer – it’s not! It’s not okay to bully yourself, just like it’s not okay for you to bully anyone.
It’s absolutely easier said than done, but try to catch yourself when you begin to start thinking awful things about yourself. Try to learn to be compassionate toward yourself, just like you are with others. Take those small steps toward self-love by treating yourself like you would any of your friends or family.
Everyone has their own struggles
I often find myself concerned about what others think of me. Because I largely lack self-love and self-confidence, I instantly think that others must think poorly of me as well.
But here’s something my husband has tried to remind me of for years. More likely than not, I’m not even a consideration for most people. Yes – that sounds horribly harsh, but let me clarify…
Everyone has their own struggles that they’re facing in their lives, and while you might cross their mind, you are most likely not a top concern of theirs. Most of us are more concerned with what we’re doing and how we appear to others to notice any anxieties or awkwardness on your part.
Instead of worrying about what others think of you and assuming the worst, focus on your own self-confidence. The more you believe in yourself and are proud of who you are, the less you will be concerned with what other people may be thinking about you.
Think about how far you’ve come
I always find it’s easier for me to focus on the negatives in life, rather than reflecting on the positives. I’m trying so hard to break this habit! When I find myself thinking negatively, I try to pick one positive thing to focus on instead.
One thing I’m really proud of is how far I’ve come with my mental health in the last two years. Yes, I have a long way to go, and I’ve accepted that it’ll be a lifetime journey. But there are so many small wins I can celebrate.
When my anxiety is running high, and I’m feeling disappointed in myself, I try to remind myself of how far I’ve come. Yes, I may still be anxious, but I’m so much better equipped to handle it than in the past. My mood has its ups and downs, but the dark cloud that used to hang over my head is gone now.
When the negative thoughts pour in, I try to remind myself that even though I may be having a bad moment or day, I have worked really hard to improve my mental health. I think back to where I was two years ago, and I feel proud of how far I’ve come. This helps to turn my thoughts toward a more positive direction. By pushing back on the negative self-thoughts, I am slowly starting to win the battle toward self-love and self-acceptance.
That’s all I’ve got for today, friends. I hope you can start to challenge negative self-thoughts because you are amazing and have worked so hard to get to where you are! If you have any other tips to share, please comment below!
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