Everyday I have to convince myself I am not incompetent. Seriously, I’ve had to write a list of 10 empowering affirmations and stating that I am intelligent is one of them all because of negative, hurtful, demeaning, belittling, comments and suggestions made in the past.
“Oh I didn’t think you were competent enough to get the job done, but I’m glad to know it got done. That’s great!”
“You’re so pretty, but the way you function is odd. What runs through your mind? ”
“Did that make sense?”
“Hey Erin how’s it going today? Need any help?”
“Duh it’s easy. Stop over thinking it.”
“You may need more training. It looks as though you’re struggling in the same areas.”
“Oh my God Erin get over it. It was so long ago!”
Some of these comments seem harmless while others are, well, down right wrong, but to me they are all hurtful. These statements follow me to this day, years and months after they’ve occurred.
What sucks about carrying these negative nannies around is that they impact everything I do and think of each day. A lot of the times when I ask a friend, family member or even God their thoughts and ideas on my proposals I follow-up with comments like “does that make sense?” or “that sounds dumb right?”.
Even at work I find myself giving myself an evaluation, “no Erin that’s incorrect. If you were evaluated by your supervisors today they’d probably suggest you need improvement.”
It’s systematic for me to beat everyone to the punch so that the cuts and the burns of what they are likely to say doesn’t sting as much or the echo of their voices won’t ring as loudly.
Everything is wrong with me.
I don’t communicate well. I’m so insecure. I’m always bringing up what somebody said. I can’t take a compliment. I’m too into my head. I don’t know how to let things go.
Isn’t this crazy?! I’m 27 years old with these insecurities! I’m like a sponge except I have a hard time releasing that of which I soak up.
Sometimes it takes repetition for someones words to sink in while other times something can be said one time and it’s a planted seed. The next thing you know what you’ve said is something that’s practiced on a daily basis with or without the person –who’s impacted by it– being aware of it.
There have been times when I’ve postponed posting a blog or uploading a video because of the kind of thoughts that run through my head. Even with that, when I do write or film I find myself taking hours to finish because of the things I’m ministering to myself.
“Start over that sounded dumb.”
“Nope rewrite that because it doesn’t make sense. Who’s gonna relate to that?”
“Maybe I bit off more than I could chew. I’m gonna just forget about the whole idea and maybe something else–that’s more suitable– will come along.”
“I can’t get anything right the first time.”
I can’t even take a compliment because I cannot decipher whether or not it’s from a genuine place. “You’re so beautiful” (But I’m dumb right?) Or “You earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication, that’s cool.” (I know, but it’s hard to tell, right?)
Oh my GOD it shouldn’t be this way! These murmurs shouldn’t exist. These words shouldn’t be haunting. I shouldn’t have to question everyone’s sincerity, but I do. I do and that’s just the facts.
How can anyone–who is like me–step up with confidence and reassurance that the power of their words are mighty enough to renounce the power of their insecurities? How can someone believe that they are smart, they are beautiful and/or handsome, they are capable in doing anything they put their mind and spirit to if there are constant reruns of doubt?
Well…I and many of you must confront and fight against what is not true.
Even though it’s been an uphill battle to reverse these insecurities spoken and repeated over the years I found myself whispering to those lies each day, “I am not what you say I am. I am what I say I am and that is intelligent, confident, and capable. I am talented and destined for greatness.”
And if you’re like me you know for a fact that you’re not alone. I’m cheering you on to take back your life. State your claim. Ignore the naysayers and choose to fill yourself with words that will empower and build you up.
Let’s rise up against our giants.
Your friend and cheerleader,