September 12 is National Encouragement Day, and I was going to write a post listing all the best ways to encourage those around you. Giving others support is one of my favorite things to do because it’s so easy for me to root for other people. But when it comes to encouraging myself? I could certainly do better.
Having friends and family who love and support you is always important, but the voice in your head is the one you hear all day. If it’s constantly ragging on you for not being good enough, then you’ll likely believe it regardless of what others say.
I took the Gallup StrengthsFinder test this year and found two of my top five strengths were positivity and restorative (problem-solving) skills. This made sense because I love making people laugh and feel good while looking for problems to solve. What’s wrong with that? Well, often I’m looking for problems within myself while high-fiving others on their accomplishments.
Why do we do that to ourselves?
There was one day at work I was having a particularly rough afternoon and one of my coworkers messaged me to check in. I confessed the issues I was having with my boss and how I quite honestly felt stupid for not knowing more.
She replied, “You’re good at your job. You need to be easier on yourself and realize you’re still learning.” That’s helpful, but why does this sound familiar? “I hope you know I literally just copied and pasted what you told me earlier this week. You should really take your own advice sometimes. You’re pretty smart.” Ah, that’s why.
After that day, I made a conscious effort to pep talk myself. I’m reading a book right now by Jen Sincero called You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. It’s a fantastic and easy read that has given me so much insight into why we hold ourselves back. One of my favorite lines is:
It’s about being proactive about creating a life you love instead of meekly living the one you think you’re stuck with.
If you don’t like your situation — change it. You have to value yourself enough to want a better life for yourself. In order to do that, you have to start by being your own best cheerleader.
I’m obviously not perfect, but I think I’m getting better. And on the days I slip up, I know I have people in my corner to remind me of my magic when I have forgotten it. Everyone deserves for the voice in their head to be as wonderful to themselves as it is to other people.