Don’t be alarmed, but from the second that I wake up in the morning to the minute I fall asleep at night, I’m never alone.
I have this person who follows me around.
He follows me to class, to work, to the gym and… even to the bathroom (it’s kind of creepy). In the past, this person has harassed me. He’s called me names, told me that I’m not good enough and made me think that I should give in to things that are easy.
Through some intimate conversations and largely through my writing, I’ve been lucky enough to get know this person on a deep and meaningful level. I’ve had some serious discussions with him and I’ve put my foot down. I told him that I wouldn’t accept any more negative energy. I told him that if he was going to follow me around and be part of my life, that he needed to be kind, positive and encouraging. I explained to him that I needed somebody to build me up, not tear me down.
I needed a friend and I needed a fan.
If you stuck with me through those first few paragraphs, thank you. I promise you that I’m not crazy (though some people might disagree). If you haven’t figured it out yet, there’s not really another person following me around. What I’m talking about is something that we all experience, but few of us ever take the time to address.
We all have this “other person.”
Whether we realize it or not, we all talk to ourselves on a constant basis; we all experience an ongoing inner-dialogue with our “other person.” We’re never truly alone because we’re always with ourselves.
What if I told you that this “other person” could be holding you back and you don’t even know it. What if I told you that you could talk to this “other person” and change the way that they talk to you. Think about it: if you had a friend who constantly put you down, filled you with doubt and made you feel less than capable, you wouldn’t put up with it. Why do you take that from yourself?
“If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will?” Michaela Korda
We all deserve someone who supports us, encourages us and builds us up. It’s time that we start being that person for ourselves, because when we have internal support, encouragement and companionship, nothing on the outside can tear us down. When we love and support ourselves, it makes it much easier to love and support the other people in our life.
Your Other Person Is Who You Become.
Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny. Mahatma Gandhi
It has long been said that we become like the people that we surround ourselves with. While this holds truth, the syntax of the sentence often causes us overlook the person we spend the most time with…. ourselves.
“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” Mark Ambrose
I’m here to tell you that you can control “that other person” and, as a result, control how you perform on a daily basis, how you feel and who you become.
“You become like the five people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.” Jim Rohn
Growing up, we’ve all heard the golden rule – treat others the way you want to be treated – but often times, we don’t take the time to treat ourselves with that same respect, support, and encouragement. Know that our thoughts have a profound influence on everything from our physiology, to our well-being, to our interactions with the outside world, and pretty much everything else.
You can and should be your own biggest fan.
For lack of better words, we tend to get in our own heads.
“I’m not what I think I am, I’m not what you think I am, I am what I think you think I am.” Charles Cooley
The opinions of others indirectly influence our self-esteem. Per the quote above, we have a tendency to define ourselves by what we think others think of us (that’s a real thinker). However, with some self-awareness and deliberate effort, we can begin to directly define ourselves regardless of what the world thinks or what we think the world thinks.
“Talk to yourself before your self talks to you.” unknown
At the end of the day, what we think of ourselves plays a huge role in how we perform and how we feel. When it comes down to it, our self-talk drives our self-esteem.
“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.” – Maxwell Maltz
Stop driving through life with your hand-break on. Put your foot on the gas and go full speed ahead with your biggest fan cheering you on.
Here’s A Practical Place To Start.
I know that changing your inner dialogue can be daunting and difficult; I’ve been through it and continue to work on it every single day. To help provide some context as well as an immediately applicable point of practice, here’s a short story.
About two and a half years ago, I experienced a sudden loss of vision just weeks prior to starting graduate school. If you read my first ever blog then you know that I almost let the “what if’s” surrounding my abrupt loss of eyesight stop me from pursuing graduate school.
Thankfully I was assured by my parents that I couldn’t let the “what ifs” dictate my life. From that moment on, I decided instead of the “what if’s” and worry that came with them, I would focus on the “if then’s.”
“If I can’t see, then I’ll figure it out.”
You know what? It’s almost three years later and pursuing graduate school despite the uncertainty has been the best decision of my life. Adopting the “if then” mindset represents a high level of confidence in our innate inner strength, in our ability to handle adversity and our potential to thrive in whatever circumstances we face.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
The “if then” mindset frees us from worry and robs uncertainty of its power, because in any scenario, we know deep down that we will indeed be okay no matter what “if” comes our way. This mindset shifts the control from the outside world (external locus) to our own abilities (internal locus).
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Corrie Ten Boom
Don’t let the “what if’s” sap your strength. Instead, have some faith and believe in yourself. Make an effort to adopt the “if then” mindset and watch your world change. “If (insert anything) then I’ll be okay.”It’s easier said than done, but this simple shift in mindset can change the course of your life: it did for me.
What “ifs” are holding you back?
To nobody’s surprise, let’s end this with a quote:
“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.” Roy T. Bennett
We all have that “other person” who, for better or for worse, is with us for life. Learn to control that other person and leverage him/her for your benefit. Provide yourself with constant support, encouragement and empowerment. You have so much more to offer yourself and it’s time that you give yourself what you deserve (the best). Because when you give yourself your best, you can do the same for others, and in the end, that’s what matters.
Thank you so much for reading!
Joe Rinaldi, PT, DPT