We all have ugly thoughts sometimes – whether we mean to or not.
They can come in all shapes and sizes, but mainly they are just plain mean and nasty, and cause us to negatively compare ourselves to others. These thoughts become so habitual and normal that we sometimes don’t even realise they impact that they have on us. Here are two examples during the last week of how ugly thoughts affected me.
Firstly, there was the … Brownie Incident - there I was sitting and having a really tasty brownie (from the super cool local food market). I love brownies so I splash out every now and then. As I took my first bite I thought to myself “Wasn’t I trying to get healthier, fitter and skinnier?”…. Enjoyment of brownie gone. I was never, ever going to look like the girl in my yoga class who I’m sure has never, ever eaten a brownie in her life.
And then there was …The Big Green Monster Blowout - when a girl swept past me in what looked like an effortlessly thrown together outfit, with amazing hair, a no-need for make-up complexion and a great tattoo, all I could think about was that I NEEDED a new wardrobe, hair cut and better legs.
Comparing ourselves to a supermodel, with a designer wardrobe, a perfect job, living in a house featured in this month’s ‘Perfect Homes’, endless travel to exotic countries, above-average intelligence (environmental science degree on the side), witty and to top it all off – really just a nice person – is an easy thing to do.
But, come on, how many of these people really EXIST?!?
And why do we continually like to beat ourselves up instead of recognising our achievements and…just being HAPPY with our own AWESOMENESS?
But then it came to me, a couple of weeks ago, I saw this poster and it really hit home – Comparison is the Thief of Joy.
Isn’t it true now that you think about it? It’s actually alarming how many times in the day that you do this – compare ourselves, our experiences and our things to others.
This week, I made a mental note to myself to try and stop these ugly thoughts in their tracks, whenever one would come along I would try and ‘reframe’ (as Joy would put it) my thoughts.
So it went something like this – I saw another pretty girl wearing the best outfit ever (lots of them out there). I immediately pulled the plug on the thought forming in my mind (that I needed a new wardrobe) and instead tried a different approach that went something like this ‘oh, I’ll have to remember to try that skirt with boot combo, and perhaps paint my nails again too, maybe this afternoon when I get home’. Self confidence crisis averted. And I actually felt pretty excited about painting my nails again which I haven’t done for a while.
Maybe, just maybe, I’m onto something really good here! Our friend Bea at The Google Year, wrote a really personal blog post about Being your own best friend for a week which I thought was really relevant to a lot of us. It certainly got me thinking a lot.
Perhaps as an exercise tomorrow try to catch those ugly thoughts and turn them around into productive thoughts. Go on, try and be your own best friend for a week and see how it works out! I would love to hear your experiences and any suggestions you have for me too.